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Placer County roads ready for half-cent sales tax funding infusion?

Information to be unveiled at Placer County Transportation Planning Agency meeting
By: Gus Thomson of the Auburn Journal
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Placer County

Transportation

Planning Agency

Where: Board of Supervisors Chambers,

175 Fulweiler Ave., Auburn

When: 9 a.m. today

A laser focus on developing financial resources for 30 years of transportation infrastructure projects will yield some estimates on public support at today’s Placer County Transportation Planning Agency meeting.

Kurt Below of Fairbank Maslin consultants will present the results and analysis of most recent polling for the agency.

Jeff Flint of FSB Core Strategies, another consulting firm, will discuss key issues brought out in a recent round of focus groups and how the information will be used to improve the effectiveness of future outreach.

And staff will present a draft expenditure plan detailing how funding for specific projects and programs will be spent if the community approves a half-cent sales tax measure.

Celia McAdam, planning agency executive director, said that about $3 billion in critical transportation improvements is needed in the next 30 years. About $1.25 billion could come from existing transportation funding sources.

“The problem is that the purchasing of the flat per gallon gas tax is about a third of what it was 20 years ago due to inflation, increased fuel efficiency and the growing use of alternative-powered vehicles,” McAdam said.

 Funding would go toward a list of project that includes rail and transit, Interstate 80-Highway 65 improvements, Highway 65 widening and the Placer Parkway route from Highway 65 to Highway 99.

Planning is moving toward a transportation sales tax boost vote in the 2016 election.

The sales-tax-increase has been touted for at least a decade as a way of improving infrastructure with local dollars. But a 2013 survey by the agency found that voters in the fiscally conservative county stuck to past scripts, expressing strong opposition to a boost in the sales tax and little strong support.

The tax needs two-thirds approval from voters before being adopted.