Measure A vote result: Sacramentans want a sustainable transportation plan that supports modern, greener, and transit-oriented growth
Sacramento voters last month declined to support Measure A, the county transportation sales tax proposal. We at Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) believe the moment is instructive as we move forward and would like to thank Mayor Steinberg and many other stakeholders for championing public transit.
Although Measure A proponents made a good-faith effort to provide revenue for transit improvements and greenhouse gas reduction, we are hearing that the measure did not go far enough to address climate, equity and social justice to satisfy voters. This is a clear message that voters believe it is time for new thinking on mobility improvements to grow the region in a responsible manner.
Constituents tell SacRT they want to pursue more aggressive funding in support of new transit-oriented communities with modern streets that focus on pedestrians, bicycles, new rapid-transit buses and on-demand shuttles, as well as traffic flow improvements for car drivers. The goal is to build more vibrant and sustainable communities where the air is cleaner, traffic lighter, commutes shorter and where residents have more mobility options, potentially saving them money.
Many SacRT constituents also want transportation spending to be more equitable, with more services and basic infrastructure such as sidewalks and bus shelters in disadvantaged communities where car ownership is financially difficult.
Although voters did not approve the spending plan proposed in Measure A, we want to be clear: SacRT and our region need a robust source of local “self-help” funding to allow us to modernize our transportation system using smart land-use policies to avoid gridlock as Sacramento grows.
In particular, we will need stable new local funding to use as a “local match” to compete for billions of dollars in upcoming federal and state grant opportunities. Many of our capital projects should be in strong position to secure 75% of the cost of the projects from state and federal sources if we can identify the remaining 25% of funding at the local level.
Many of our transit agency peers in metro areas have a far higher level of local funding than SacRT does, and that puts them in a better position to compete and win those federal and state grants, resulting in better transit service in their communities.
We respect and appreciate the will of our voters. Together, we have much work to do to get the balance just right. SacRT is looking forward to working with community partners, constituents, and regional leaders to explore new funding possibilities and innovative mobility improvements that sustainably meet voters where they are.