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Q&A: Why is Citrus Heights spending millions on a trail instead of repaving roads?

A screenshot from a city video shows a multi-use path similar to what will be constructed for the Electric Greenway Trail Project.

Sentinel staff report–
A common question about a $7 million trail slated to begin construction next year in Citrus Heights revolves around why the funds aren’t instead being spent on repaving roads or other priorities.

The 2.9-mile trail will largely travel under SMUD power lines, beginning at Wachtel Way, travelling through a residential neighborhood, continuing over to Woodside K-8, and then passing through several parks before concluding in the Sunrise MarketPlace shopping area.

Planning phase for new 2.9-mile trail in Citrus Heights nears $1M cost

The question about funding allocation is answered in a Frequently Asked Questions document posted on the city’s website regarding the Electric Greenway Trail Project. In response to the question, “Why not use this money to fix city roads?” the city notes that the project is primarily funded through a $5.8 million Active Transportation Program SB 1 Augmentation grant that was received by the city two years ago.

As is often, if not always, the case with outside grant funds, the money came with strings attached.

“Money received through this grant program can only be spent on projects that increase the number of people biking and walking, increase safety for non-motorized users and enhance public health,” the city says in the FAQ page. “ATP funds cannot be used to repair or resurface vehicular roadways.”

According to the California Transportation Commission’s website, the Active Transportation Program came about in 2013 to encourage biking, walking and other vehicle alternatives. With the passage of the controversial SB 1 “gas tax” in 2017, the ATP began receiving $100 million in funding per year from gas tax revenues, referred to as an “SB 1 ATP augmentation.”

See the city’s FAQ page about the trail project: click here

A related question posted on the city website asks what percentage of the overall funding for the project is coming from the city’s General Fund, with the answer provided stating that no funds for the project will come directly from the General Fund, although a 10-12% match will come from “local transportation funds.”

The Sentinel will be publishing a followup article in our Sept. 20 Weekend Edition with more information about how grants work and how the city applied for and received funding for the Electric Greenway Trail Project. Click here to sign up for The Sentinel’s free email editions, published twice a week.

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