What’s next? – Mayor’s Environmental Roundtable

After the failure of Measure A transportation sales tax measure, everyone who was for it, and everyone who was against it, asked ‘What’s next?’ It is clear there is a need to fund at least some types of transportation infrastructure, including transit, active transportation, and repairing the potholes. It is also clear to me, at least, there there is absolutely no need to fund roadway capacity expansion. We have all of the roadways we will ever need – we need less capacity, not more. But that is not clear to everyone. A lot of people initially were saying things like “we just need to improve the measure a bit, perhaps by removing the Capital Southeast Connector, and then it will pass in 2024. Fortunately, that view has faded. We need something much better than the failed Measure A, and it is not obvious that more transportation sales tax is the right solution. So, What’s next?

One of the groups working on that question is the Mayor’s Environmental Advocacy Roundtable (the mayor being Mayor Darrell Steinberg). A premise of the group is that there might be a role for the city in defining how to fund transportation, and perhaps creating a sales tax or other measure focused on the city. This group has met four times. I was able to attend the last meeting on March 22, and have a brief report. Please keep in mind that these are my notes about what I found interesting, not minutes of the meeting. First, two documents were available, shared here, the agenda, and the overview. Jennifer Donlon Wyant gave a presentation on the city’s transportation planning and funding, which I do not have available. The remainder of the meeting was discussion. So, my notes:

Nicole Cuellar-Nelson on mayor’s staff is leading meeting, Katie Valenzuela gave introduction, what’s next after Measure A

Jennifer Donlon Wyant: Transportation Priorities Plan, way more projects than money; one slide included (sorry about the graphic, WordPress is not letting me create indented lists):

transportation priorities list, from JDW presentation
transportation priorities list, from JDW presentation
  • Talked about need for city projects to be in MTP to be funded through state, federal, SACOG; gas tax is one source, repaving is often done to meet other goals, sales tax measure is other major source, mostly used as match; city expense is up to 50%, though match is less; 
  • Projects submitted: partially funded projects, approved projects, maintenance needs, 2040 GP lane reductions; also council approved; $250M backlog in maintenance, pavement index is 59 and declining
  • $1.2B in high priority projects

Katie Valenzuela mentioned that lack of funding for planning slows down everything, and plans are out of date before they can be implemented

  • Deb Banks asked how to budget for transporatation projects, not just grant funding
  • Kiara Reed mentioned moving $ from law enforcement to transportation
  • Darrell Steinberg – talked about match, possibility of housing and transportation together
  • Mike Wiley – housing has to be part of funding
  • Chris Brown – we need to undo past infrastructure mistakes to meet climate goals; invest in low income people

My ideas

  • Housing and trans must be planned together, not sure if funded together
  • TPP starts to get a values, but need a broader values
  • can’t have safe streets or successful housing unless there is a strong shift to transit


  • EPA EJ grant going to council Apr 4
  • $2 for Pannell Community Center for resilience
  • Air quality related regional grant
  • STA / Kevin Bewsey – STA forming a committee to look at next measure, will include env/EJ not yet selected, he does not want southeast connector in next; some money available for planning; county puts $20M of own money into pavement maintenance
  • Deb Banks – brief update on SacMoves, SABA May, e-bikes EJ
  • Kiara Reed – partnering on city’s Active Transportation Plan; asking more funding for air monitoring
  • Henry Li – $400M for light rail modernization, has received three vehicles, 50th anniversary; Stockton BRT is top priority with FTA; looking at Safe Routes funding widespread
  • ECOS – Earth Day

I will post on SacMoves next.

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