Thursday, July 05, 2007


The agency performs a vital mission and with the involvement of many local leaders from the public and private sector, it usually finds a balanced approach suitable for the area being designed for, and in the largely suburban area comprising the capital region, the major preferred transportation mode appears to be cars on roads, with buses, light rail, and bikes lightly used.

One man's mission: Build a path to unclogged roads
A consensus builder courts allies for boosting mass transit spending
By Tony Bizjak - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PDT Thursday, July 5, 2007

One in an occasional series on Sacramento's transportation future
Sacramento's Mr. Consensus is on the hot seat.

Arms tightly crossed, glasses laid on the table before him, Mike McKeever cautiously begins his pitch to a group of environmental leaders on what he calls a pivotal change of direction for Sacramento's transportation future.

His agency, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, is proposing, for the first time, to spend more on bulking up mass transit and other alternatives than on more road lanes for cars in the coming years.

"We're tilting the nose of the ship," McKeever says proudly.

The goal is simple -- get more people out of cars to avoid going the gridlocked way of sprawling, freeway-dominated places like L.A.

The job of selling that vision is less simple.

McKeever -- a man with an avowed zest for building consensus -- must deal with some who worry that the tilt away from roadwork is too severe, and others, such as this skeptical group of environmentalists, who say his strategy doesn't move far enough, fast enough from cars.