Four Sacramento Area Transportation Projects Prioritized on Northern California “Megaregion Dozen” List
16-county Megaregion Working Group agrees on 12 priority transportation investments

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October 21, 2021: At its last meeting of the year, the Northern California Megaregion Working Group approved the “Megaregion Dozen,” a list of 12 transportation projects that connect the San Francisco Bay Area to the Sacramento region. Adoption of the priorities is a huge milestone for the group. Together, the three Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) that form the working group represent 16 counties, 136 cities, and a population of nearly 11 million people. Collective advocacy and lobbying support for the “Megaregion Dozen” puts each project in a better position to acquire the funding it needs to be completed.

The Megaregion Working Group comprises elected officials who represent the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the San Joaquin Council of Governments (SJCOG), and the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG). Together, they are tackling how people and goods move throughout the 16-county Northern California megaregion. Coordination among the largest metropolitan areas to prioritize resources will help to make meaningful progress on transportation and land-use investments. Although the group had met infrequently in the past, it was at the urging of Davis Vice Mayor, and immediate past SACOG board chair and current director, Lucas Frerichs that the group reconvened and committed to finding meaningful ways to work together and develop shared priorities.

Frerichs believes the agreement acknowledges the growing economic interdependence of the megaregion and will prove to be a huge bonus in the eyes of policymakers. “Alignment on a shared transportation vision with our neighboring MPOs showcases everyone’s commitment to action. It sets the foundation and demonstrates to our state and federal funding partners that investments here will lead to real, tangible results,” he said.

Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council sees the prioritization of these projects as “vital to the future of communities.” He shared, “These corridors are crucial as we continue to grow the Northern California Megaregion with a highly-skilled shared workforce. These investments are fundamental for long-term economic prosperity as we focus on growth, sustainability, equity and competitiveness.”

“At both the federal and state level we are seeing an interest and ability to invest in critical infrastructure that we have never seen before,” said Amanda Blackwood, president and CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber. “This historic collaboration on these 12 key projects gives our region the opportunity to compete and successfully draw down resources we may never again see in our lifetime. The power of advocacy can never be understated and this disciplined approach gives us the ability to advocate in one voice for one region – the Megaregion. Nothing is more powerful than that.”

Each MPO brought forward transportation plans that have a significant impact for the megaregion. The projects presented by SACOG cover three gateways where more than half of interregional travel occurs. The projects focus on relieving congestion by incorporating traffic management strategies such as carpool or toll lanes and increasing alternative travel options. Projects include:

  • Yolo I-80 and US-50 Managed Lanes Project from Davis to downtown Sacramento and Natomas
    • It is predicted that traffic through this section of highway will continue to increase. Planned highway improvements include pedestrian/bicycle facilities and lane management strategies to help ease overall traffic in the corridor.
  • I-5 Managed Lanes from Sutterville Road (Sacramento County) to the Yolo County line
    • This corridor will face some of the worst growth-related traffic congestion in the region. Improvements will help to promote transit usage, improve travel time, and promote ridesharing.
  • Sacramento to Roseville Third Main Track – Phase 1
    • This project increases the capacity and frequency of passenger rail service to improve travel time and reliability for the corridor without sacrificing Union Pacific Railroad freight operations. This lays the groundwork for up to 10 trains a day between Sacramento and Roseville. The up to two additional round trips a day will provide congestion relief along the Capitol Corridor route, improve air quality, and decrease energy use.
  • Valley Rail Program includes expansion of both Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) and the San Joaquins services.
    • The Valley Rail Program will provide a connection from Sacramento and Northern San Joaquin Valley to the high-speed rail system at the Merced station. The project will also bring a commuter rail connection from San Jose, Dublin, Livermore, and Stockton up to downtown Sacramento and the Sacramento International Airport.  

For the complete list of the “Megaregion Dozen” and project descriptions, download them here.

Now that project alignment has been set, the working group is engaging with business and civic organizations to tout the projects to policymakers. The timing is right as the U.S. Congress is setting priorities for the pending federal budget, and talks continue on the passage of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure spending bill. Adopting the “Megaregion Dozen” is a big step toward the group’s shared vision for mobility across the megaregion.

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