The Sacramento region has undergone a tremendous transformation with the revitalization of downtown, the development of the suburbs and the migration of Bay Area residents in search of affordable homes and quality of life.
With this growth comes tremendous opportunity and responsibility for local leaders to ensure transportation infrastructure keeps pace. No local transportation project is more uniquely fit to address the region’s needs than the Capital SouthEast Connector, which would upgrade 34 miles of two-lane rural roads to a four-lane expressway (with bike lanes) from El Dorado County to Elk Grove.
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I commend members of the Sacramento Transportation Authority, who ranked the connector as the highest regional priority for funding through Senate Bill 1, the state’s critically important transportation law. This ranking comes at a critical time. The connector Joint Powers Authority is seeking $20 million from the California Transportation Commission to leverage funding dollar for dollar; $40 million would accelerate construction.
Based on my 43-year career in transportation, I know the significance of the connector to the movement of goods and people in this region. It links rural areas to cities. It will relieve two notoriously congested freeways – Highway 50 and Route 99. Construction will provide an immediate economic benefit of 5,000 jobs.
And in the longer term, the connector will help increase employment in Elk Grove, Folsom and Rancho Cordova, improving the area’s jobs-housing balance in the process.
Sacramento transportation officials and community leaders recognize the important role the connector will play in our region’s long-term growth. I am confident that statewide transportation leaders will make the right decision regarding funding for this important project.
Will Kempton, the former director of Caltrans, is a consultant for the Greater Folsom Partnership. He can be contacted at Willk@folsompartners.com.