Tuesday, December 12, 2006

JPA for Road, Needed for Parkway

Realizing the importance of providing for transportation capability to respond to long term growth, the region has apparently resolved to construct a new highway, long overdue, but nevertheless heartening to see.

In the nature of these type of progressive actions however, it will be some time before construction begins and even longer before it can actually be brought online, but the effort is worth noting.

This type of regional cooperation is also needed for the Parkway and would result in a much shorter time period where successful results would be seen in funding and management.

Regional effort for road relief
Local leaders to unite in building beltway to ease Hwy. 50 traffic.
By Tony Bizjak - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PST Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Drivers call it the commuter cattle run.

As highway congestion worsens on Sacramento's fast-growing eastern flank, commuters have been flocking to flimsy ranch roads -- some shoulderless and bordered by deep ditches -- in search of quicker ways to work.

But that's only led to more congested roads, such as the notorious White Rock Road, zigzagging out of Rancho Cordova.

This week, in hopes of bringing order to that chaotic commute, officials from several local governments are expected to join forces to plan and build a major southeast county beltway.

As envisioned, the road would connect Interstate 5 and Highway 99, then skirt the east side of the metropolitan area from Elk Grove into El Dorado County, taking pressure notably off Highway 50.

The connector road has been discussed for years in planning rooms and community centers -- and may still be a half-dozen years from groundbreaking -- but the expected formation of a five-agency "joint powers authority" is being hailed as a watershed moment.

Sacramento County transportation chief Tom Zlotkowski called it the largest cooperative effort he's seen in the county on a single transportation corridor.
It needs to be, he and other officials said.

The planned 35-mile connector, running through five jurisdictions, could be the longest road built in Sacramento since the state of California stopped building freeways here a generation ago.

"We're forging new territory," Zlotkowski said. "If we do it right, we can make people a lot more mobile out there."

The planning group would be composed of the cities of Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova and Folsom, and the counties of Sacramento and El Dorado.

The Folsom and Rancho Cordova city councils have voted to join. Sacramento County supervisors and El Dorado County supervisors are expected to vote today on whether to enlist in the cooperative effort. The Elk Grove City Council will review the concept Wednesday night.

By agreeing to come together, officials will be setting up a new entity that could, at times, compete with their own cities and counties for limited transportation funding.