Elected Officials Discuss Southeast Connector, Job Development at Region Builder Forum

October 21, 2014 | At a panel discussion featuring numerous elected officials centered on transportation infrastructure needs the So...

October 21, 2014 |

At a panel discussion featuring numerous elected officials centered on transportation infrastructure needs the Southeast Connector highway project was seen as a keystone in area development. Sponsored by Region Builders, the Friday, October 17 forum held at Sacramento's Sutter Club also featured two keynote speakers who addressed the importance of infrastructure to the regions future. 

The Southeast Connector is a proposed expressway that will start in southern Elk Grove at I-5 and head in a northeast direction connecting to U.S. 50 in the Folsom, El Dorado Hills area.

The panel discussion heard from local officials including Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis, Folsom City Council Member Jeff Starsky, Rancho Cordova City Council Member David Sander, Sacramento County Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan and El Dorado County Supervisor Ron Mikulako about their views and two keynote speakers who discussed infrastructure projects and general economics.

Speaking first was Will Kempton, Executive Director, Transportation California who portrayed road construction as a quality of life issue. Kempton noted that in the current political environment, however, voters are not inclined to support the additional gas taxes needed to support new road construction.

Kempton said other factors complicating matters are policy changes on climate change, the focus on sustainable development and the lingering effects of the recession.

“The whole issue of climate change has taken over transportation,” Kempton said.  “We have a very difficult political environment.”

Noting the funding challenges needed for completion of the Southeast Connector, Kempton said over 50-percent comes from local funding sources, like Sacramento County’s Measure A. He also told the group not to rely on any Federal earmarks to fund the road either.

“If you want this connector built, you’ll have to do it yourself,” he concluded.

Discussing the Sacramento regional economy was Dr. Sanjay Varshney, former Dean, College of Business Administration, Sacramento State. In his presentation, Varshney said  the Sacramento regional economy is lagging the state’s overall recovery and the region’s per-capita income is lower than the statewide average. 

Varshney said Sacramento’s lagging economy is due to its reliance on government jobs and its preponderance of low-paying service jobs. He also said the regional as a whole needs to dedicate more resources and work cooperatively to attract more than just service related employers to the area.  

“How can we sustain an economy just on a service-based economy,” he queried the audience.

Looking into the future, Varshney said that while the area’s population is expected to double in the next 25-years, there is no projected matching growth of non-service related jobs needed to support a viable regional economy. 

“Unless we do something creative, or we do something strategic now, it’s not going to happen on its own,” he said. “Every community in this country is competing for the same industry, for the same company, for the same jobs, We’re not that special.”

During the panel discussion of Sacramento County’s Measure A transportation levy and SACOG funding for the Southeast Connectors, Folsom City Council Member Jeff Starsky noted the lack of regional cooperation. Until there is a regional vision for the Southeast Connector, Starsky said local politicians will continue to pursue their local interests.

“We are so goddamned parochial,” he said. “We do not look at the region, we are so worried about the money for our little bike trail.” 

Starsky said the local elected officials need to do a better job of promoting the idea to their constituents and to be persistent in seeking state and federal funding for the project.

Rancho Cordova City Council Member David Sander noted even though his city is a strong employment center, the traffic along Highway 50 and Sunrise Boulevard can hamper future development. The Southeast Connector, Sander said, is crucial to maintaining the region’s strongest base of non-retail private sector jobs.

“We have to have roads to get people in the region to their jobs,” Sander said.

Noting Rancho Cordova’s strong job market and the thousands of his city’s residents commuting to jobs there on a daily basis, Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis suggested a short-term solution to commuter traffic and the dearth of jobs vexing Elk Grove residents. 

“I’ve said this before, I say I take 25 or 30 thousand Elk Grove residents and ship 25 or 30 thousand Rancho Cordova jobs,” Davis said. “We’ll just switch.” 

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Anonymous said...

Davis is an idiot. He has shown the light on the real problem. EG has never been a regional player and the connector is just another example. I might take Davis up on his offer...ship 25 thousand EG residents to RC. Never thought in my lifetime that RC would overtake EG in any category. But RC does know how to draw in businesses and keep a balance between homes and jobs. Davis just makes light of the fact that EG is bought and sold by developers and jobs are seemingly a second, or third thought.

Anonymous said...

What can I say...just BRILLIANT Mayor Davis! You must have really impressed everyone with your answer.

Anonymous said...


Soccer Town USA!

Sister city to the Kingdom of Zamunda, headed by His Royal Highness King Joffer Joffer.

Elk Grove Thriving!


Anonymous said...


Elk Grove is a big joke in the Sacramento region and this region is a big enough joke to start with.

A City by the developers, of the developers and FOR the developers!

Increase in armed robberies, assaults and various street crimes

More sprawl, horrendous congestion and smog.

$100 million soccer stadium

Paid $6 MILLION for a piece of land that sold for $700,000 three years prior.

Garish 70 - 100 foot tall lighted freeway monument signs

Sister city to the Kingdom of Zamunda

Octopus Civic Center

Amusement park right across from single family homes in Madeira "the Jewel of Elk Grove".

Visions of the Olympic Trials.

3,600 units of high density very low and low income housing on the way to "Meridian" (the Southeast Plan Area) - Hood of the future to be known as Mack Road South.

Trash blowing in the wind,flat, bland, hot, windy sprawling, fast food joints, nail salons, gun stores, smoke shops, vape palaces, strip malls, cheap looking high density low income apartment projects, lack of symphony light opera and ballet, very few upscale restaurants, dollar stores, cookie cutter houses.


No, Elk Grove brought to you by the rubber stampers.

Stockton and Modesto have performing arts centers, orchestras and other cultural amenities.

Stockton and Modesto have high quality local restaurants.

Elk Grove has fast food joints, chain restaurants and convenience store cuisine.

Bring on more garish 100 foot tall freeway signs, low income housing projects, liquor stores, fast food joints, shooting ranges, gun stores, smoke shops and nail salons.


Anonymous said...

The connector in Elk Grove is bound to surrounded by truck stops, light industrial, warehouses, cheap motels, crappy shopping centers, and a mall that will convey Wichita, not California. Oh the city will attract tax dollars, but its also going to continue to draw the downtrodden and leftouts in this country's march towards an elite only economy.

The highway is also going to destroy East EG and Sheldon, and impede on Wilton. How can it not? Beautiful ranch land turned truck stop. Certainly the folks from Rancho Cordova and Folsom NEED this....after all, the gold at the end of this rainbow resides there. Elk Grove is the clear loser in this, as it has since this expansion started 25 years ago.

Anonymous said...

So his mayorship views his constituents as fungible entities to be traded away to other communities? ! Nice.

Yosef Stalin said...

Dear Mayor Davis,
You could expedite your movement of 25,000 city residents from Elk Grove to Rancho Cordova by declaring some part of Elk Grove to be a new gulag; we already have the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's administrative offices here.
I'd just be certain to jerrymander your residence into the newly created compound.
--Yosef Stalin

Jethro Bodine said...


Say WHAT????

“I’ve said this before, I say I take 25 or 30 thousand Elk Grove residents and ship 25 or 30 thousand Rancho Cordova jobs,” Davis said. “We’ll just switch.”

What is he going to do? Use some supernatural power to levitate the 30,000 Elk Grove residents to Rancho?

Un Freaking Believable.


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