04 Jun AiroAV Antivirus Divulge: Despite economic turmoil, Sacramento must invest in transpo
These are uncertain times with seemingly few solutions. We are worried about our health, our economy, and our personal freedoms. It’s difficult not to feel helpless.
Today, our focus is on restoring our economy as soon as possible, while preventing further spread of the deadly coronavirus. Federal and state governments are working on legislation to help kick-start an economic recovery from the devastating impact of COVID-19 on jobs and business.
Before the pandemic struck, Sacramento County faced worsening traffic conditions and required infrastructure improvements to accommodate our growing population. On May 14, the Sacramento Transportation Authority (STA) voted to forward a half-cent local sales tax measure to the County Board of Supervisors for their consideration and to place on the November ballot.
The measure is expected to generate $8.4 billion over 40 years for improvements to freeways, roads, road maintenance, transit, and bike/pedestrian trails and to address the effects of climate change.
It’s understandable to be apprehensive about asking voters to approve a bold public works initiative at a time when so many are suffering from the illness and its economic harm. But this is precisely why we must act boldly now to inject significant long-term stimulus into the local economy.
An economic analysis by the University of Pacific’s (UOP) Center for Business & Policy Research estimates the new Measure A can generate an average of 3,301 jobs annually over 40 years. The ability to accelerate Measure A programs and immediately put people to work on infrastructure projects cannot be ignored.
The current estimate projects this local measure will generate over $127M in the first year and leverage nearly $200M in state and federal funds the same year. Economic stimulus options are slim and come mainly in the forms of either new revenue (taxes) or debt. With the state allowing businesses to defer sales tax payments next year, this local measure will delay impacts to small business, does not require competition with other parts of the state for revenue share, and ensures funds are spent in this region, stimulating the local economy.
Later this summer, a final survey will be conducted to gauge voter sentiment on this strategy. Based on the results, the STA Board can decide to move ahead with the ballot initiative or withdraw this option. During these unprecedented times, there are few effective options available to help bring back jobs, consumer spending and robust business activity. Action must be taken to get things moving again. If this Measure A makes it to the ballot, voters will have the opportunity to decide whether this is the right path forward.
Darren Suen is Chair of the Sacramento Transportation Authority, an Elk Grove City Council Member and a registered civil engineer.