Regional transportation officials touted a report on Wednesday that highlights a lack of funding for infrastructure projects, as they sought to rally support for a half-cent sales tax that may go before voters in November.
Kerri Howell, chair of the Sacramento Transportation Authority, said in an interview that businesses should support Measure B, which would raise $3.6 billion over 30 years for projects in Sacramento County.
Companies rely on properly functioning infrastructure “to keep their doors open and to expand and move their goods from one location to another,” said Howell, who also sits on the Folsom City Council.
The Sacramento Metro Chamber has not taken a position on Measure B, but the organization’s transportation committee supports it.
While the potential negative impact of any sales tax measure needs to be considered, Measure B “addresses critical infrastructure needs, and that’s important for long-term economic development of Sacramento County,” said Peter Tateishi, CEO of the chamber.
The revenue generated from the sales tax would also be used to leverage state and federal funds, Howell noted. Without those matching local funds, the county has no foreseeable path to funding the projects.
Each local government within Sacramento County and the County Board of Supervisors must approve Measure B before it can go on the ballot in November.
The report was released Wednesday by Trip, a Washington-based nonprofit. It lists 15 infrastructure projects across the six-county region that local governments have highlighted as high priority. Of those projects, only five have funding set aside for them, and none are fully funded.
The projects include a backlog of about $450 million in pavement repairs on the region’s roads and highways, construction of bus and carpool lanes on Richards Boulevard in Davis to the I-5/US 50 interchange and extension of Sacramento Regional Transit light rail service from Richards Boulevard to Sacramento International Airport.
Forty-two percent of the major roads in the Sacramento region are in poor condition, Trip estimates. Those poor conditions cause the average driver to lose 43 hours of their lives to traffic each year and pay an extra $958 for fuel, according to the report.
The report is one of a series that Trip is releasing this year across different states. The nonprofit receives funding from private companies that benefit from transportation projects, including government contractors, equipment manufacturers and insurance companies, said Carolyn Kelly, one of the report’s authors.