Auburn City Council Gives Green Light to Plan that Would Improve Roadways Throughout Placer County

PLACER COUNTY -- The Auburn City Council unanimously approved a proposal to improve roads in Placer County. The plan will increase the sales tax in the county a half percent if it makes it on the November ballot and is given the green light by voters.

One part of the plan is to change Highway 49, an area plagued by recent tragedy where Jared Gaches and Trevor Keller were hit and killed in April.

The road is undeniably dangerous.

"It's unsafe. There are no sidewalks, there are no bike paths, in some areas it's only two lanes," Councilman Daniel Berlant said.

A proposal from the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency will change that and so much more across the county.

The Auburn City Council is the fourth of six jurisdictions in Placer County to approve a list of projects that would be funded by a half percent, 30-year sales tax increase.

"We've been working really hard for a number of years with the community, with the councils, with the staff to try to put together an expenditure plan that's fair, that puts the money where it's needed most," said Celia McAdam with the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency.

If approved by all six jurisdictions, the measure is one step closer to being placed on the November ballot. If residents vote "yes" by a two-thirds margin, nearly half of the money will go to highway projects and another 30 percent will go to local street maintenance improvements.

The plan for Highway 49 from I-80 to Dry Creek Road is to widen it to six lanes, add sidewalks, bike lanes and landscaping and synchronize traffic signals.

There are some residents however who aren't on board.

"I don't want more taxes, most of the residents don't want more taxes, they're confused on where that money is going to go, but this measure if it does pass, it keeps the money local, it keeps it here in Placer County," Berlant said.