U.S. Transportation Deputy Secretary Mendez, Mayor Johnson Kick Off Nation-Wide Beyond Traffic Megaregion Forums
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – U.S. Transportation Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson today hosted the first of 11 nationwide regional forums on the Beyond Traffic draft framework at California State University, Sacramento. The town hall style meeting allowed citizens, elected officials, metropolitan planners, transportation industry partners, business owners, and community leaders to learn more about the framework and ask questions about the trends identified in it. Deputy Secretary Mendez and Mayor Johnson also solicited input from the participants on their region-specific experiences and asked to hear ideas for solutions to those challenges.
This forum comes at a critical time, when the region is grappling with the issue of modernizing and expanding transportation infrastructure to accommodate new people. The high quality of life, cultural heritage, and environmental assets of the Northern California region make it an attractive place to live. In fact, by 2050, the population of Northern California is expected to increase by over 50 percent. However, with more than 25 percent of its bridges rated structurally deficient or functionally obsolete and 34 percent of its roads in poor condition, California has some critical investment decisions to make in order to accommodate this growth.
“Beyond Traffic identifies that Sacramento and Northern California will be uniquely impacted by the challenges and opportunities we have in transportation over the next 30 years,” said U.S. Transportation Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez. “As we finalize the framework, we wanted to hear directly from residents who rely on and are working to improve the region’s transportation system. Today was a great example of the conversation Americans should be having about our country’s transportation needs.”
Following remarks by the Mayor and Deputy Secretary and a presentation from U.S. Department of Transportation’s Beyond Traffic team, local transportation leaders participated in a town hall-style panel. The panel, which focused on the impact of Beyond Traffic trends in the region, featured California Department of Transportation Chief Deputy Director Kome Ajise, Metropolitan Transportation Commission Executive Director Steve Heminger, Sacramento Area Council of Governments CEO Michael McKeever, and Mineta Transportation Institute Executive Director Karen E. Philbrick.
The last half of the program engaged attendees in a facilitated conversation, giving them the opportunity to share feedback that will inform the final Beyond Traffic report when it is published in 2016.
“Today we discussed the scale of the infrastructure challenges that Northern California and Sacramento will face over the next three decades and I am pleased that leaders across the region are joining together to address these challenges,” said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. “These are the types of discussions we need to have, if we are going to build 3.0 infrastructure, so our cities can truly be the hubs of innovation, entrepreneurship and technology.”
The Beyond Traffic report examines the trends and choices facing America’s transportation infrastructure over the next three decades, including a rapidly growing population, increasing freight volume, demographic shifts in rural and urban areas, and a transportation system facing more frequent extreme weather events. The report predicts increased gridlock nationwide unless changes are made in the near-term.
To learn more about Beyond Traffic or to read the full framework, click here.