Thursday, December 21, 2006

Collaboration Makes Sense

Having developers, those who build the communities commuters live in, working alongside government who builds the transportation system commuters need, makes perfect sense; but so does having the public involved, through informed organized associations.

Traffic group lauded, faulted
Bid to ease congestion on Highway 50 lacks public input, some contend.
By Tony Bizjak - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PST Thursday, December 21, 2006

Several local governments and developers have joined in an unusual partnership to design and promote what they say is a $2.4 billion transportation plan to ease congestion in the fast-growing reaches of Sacramento and El Dorado counties.

The unprecedented joint venture has been hailed an innovative approach to transportation planning, but it's also raised concerns about a lack of public input during a yearlong series of meetings among the partners.

The group, calling itself the Highway 50 Corridor Mobility Partnership, includes officials from Sacramento and El Dorado counties, the cities of Rancho Cordova and Folsom, and landowners and developers GenCorp, AKT Properties, Elliott Homes and Carpenter Ranch.

The public-private partnership wants a network of new roadways south of Highway 50, coupled with new freeway interchanges and greater light-rail service into Folsom.
The aim, officials said, is to keep already congested Highway 50 and side roads from getting worse as developers build an expected 78,000 more housing units in the next 25 years between Rancho Cordova and El Dorado Hills.

Group members met weekly for nearly a year prior to unveiling a plan in recent weeks they believe will position themselves to qualify for new state transportation bonds available in the spring and other financing in the future.

But biking advocate Walt Seifert contended the effort "represents disproportionate private influence in public transportation planning" and questions why members of the general public were not included.

Rebecca Garrison of the separate 50 Corridor Transportation Management Association applauds the attempt at cooperation but said she wants to see more public input. She cautioned, though, that public participation is more likely to happen if elected officials hold the sole leadership role.