by Katy Grimes
As Appearing in the California Globe

Area politicians ‘are going to give people options to get out of cars’

A group of city and county politicians is working on a November 2020 ballot measure to increase the local sales tax another half cent, “to improve transportation – with an emphasis on offering alternatives to more roads for more cars,” the Sacramento Bee reported last week.

The City of Sacramento sales tax is currently 8.75%, of which 1% goes to city and county transportation funds. Sacramento County sales tax rate is 7.75%.

The Measure A proposal is expected to raise more than $8 billion locally over the next 40 years “for new bridges, light rail lines, bike paths, freeway interchanges and sidewalks to schools.”

Sacramento currently has light rail, bus service, carpool lanes, “traffic calming” projects, auto “lane diets,” bike paths, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks and freeway interchanges. And the county already collects a half-cent sales tax for transportation projects, as well as funding from the gas tax passed in 2018 which is supposed to be used for state and local transportation projects.

“A draft proposal is expected to be presented to the Sacramento Transportation Authority board in two weeks, but a debate is already well underway about how much money should go to making car travel easier and how much should go to alternatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” the Bee said. “But interviews with several members of the STA board suggest the group is looking for a balance of projects that suit rural and suburban residents who must rely on cars, while also offering urban residents efficient non-car options, such as ride-share electric buses, light rail, safer bike lanes and safer urban walking.”

“Many specialty groups have come to STA to lobby,” STA board member and Sacramento City Councilman Jeff Harris said. “Our job is to find that sweet spot in the middle.”

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