Transportation tax approved for ballot
Placer County’s highways and byways will be in the hands of voters come November.
The Placer County Board of Supervisors July 12 unanimously approved placing a half-cent sales tax increase on the November 8 ballot designed to fund transportation projects, including city roads.
Approval of the measure requires a two-thirds vote of county voters. If approved, the measure is expected to raise $1.6 billion over 30 years for local transportation projects.
Celia McAdam, executive director of the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency (PCTPA), said Tuesday she was “very pleased the Board of Supervisors honored our request to place the transportation investment plan on the ballot.”
McAdam added she is hopeful the measure will be approved by voters in November.
“I’ve seen really strong support from a lot of different quarters around the county that see the need for change in the transportation system,” McAdam said. “We’ve looked at this in every which way and this seems to be the only solution.”
“Nobody is particularly happy about it but it’s a sign of how desperate things have become,” McAdam added.
Lincoln Mayor Spencer Short said Wednesday that the ballot measure is an important question for voters to consider.
“Currently, there is not enough money flowing through the system to insure we can build the necessary transportation improvements that will benefit the region,” Short said. “This will help us achieve our economic development goals for the region.”
Lincoln Councilman Peter Gilbert said he had yet to take a position on the ballot measure.
“Certainly, a lot of people feel it is necessary,” Gilbert said Wednesday. “It’s hard for me to make a decision until I read the ballot language.”
Placer County (District 3) Supervisor Jim Holmes, who represents Loomis and Auburn, said Monday he has received a lot of positive feedback regarding the half-cent sales tax increase.
“It’s a big benefit to Loomis; they’ll get $310,000 per year every year for 30 years,” Holmes said. “Also, the tourists and travelers who use I-80 and stop at our restaurants and gas stations, they use our freeways and it will be nice for them to help us out.”
Placer County (District 4) Supervisor Kirk Uhler, who represents Granite Bay and part of Roseville, did not always support the plan.
“The vast majority of the money raised from this tax will go to fix state and federal highways which they simply are no longer paying for. It has been over a decade since we have received any money from the state or feds for any improvements to their roadways in Placer County,” Uhler said, in a prepared release. “
Uhler added that Placer County residents are on their own.
“Just saying ‘no’ is not an option anymore,” Uhler said. “To those who would oppose this, I offer this challenge: If not this, then what? I’ve spent the last four years looking for a solution other than this and I can’t find one.”
The ballot measure’s spending plan was approved by each city and town council in Placer County; one of the conditions required before the Board of Supervisors could consider voting on it.