By Rob White
The 2014 Sacramento Metro Chamber Capitol to Capitol advocacy trip (Cap-to-Cap) began on Saturday with a day of travel back to Washington, D.C. Most delegates arrived and began settling in and the remainder arrived Sunday.
Representatives from the Davis area include Davis City Council member Rochelle Swanson, chief innovation officer Rob White, and deputy innovation officer Sarah Worley. There is also representation from Yolo County (Supervisor Don Saylor and several staff), the cities of Woodland and West Sacramento, UC Davis and the Davis Chamber of Commerce.
This year, the city of Davis is leading the Innovation Team, one of the 14 policy teams on the trip. Davis representatives are also engaged on the Food & Agriculture and Transportation teams. You can review all 48 regional policy papers by going to the Sacramento Metro Chamber’s website at www.metrochamber.org and searching for “2014-cap-to-cap-team-papers.”
You might recall that last year Davis and Yolo County representatives came to Washington early to have preliminary meetings with agencies and elected officials. That effort resulted in some significant progress on several policy areas, including relocation of Yolo’s freight rail line and rural-urban connection strategies.
This year, those policy discussions have been picked up by the broader regional effort and the need to have a Davis/Yolo-centered effort was determined not to be essential to accomplishing our immediate goals.
With respect to Yolo freight rail relocation project, here are details from the policy paper written by Woodland representatives and advocated for by West Sacramento team members:
“The Yolo freight rail relocation project includes construction of new rail, enabling the relocation of short-line rail traffic in downtown Davis, Woodland and West Sacramento. Completion of the project will allow removal of 19 at-grade crossings and open nearly 100 acres of infill redevelopment property in the three cities, allow removal of the Fremont Trestle to improve the floodwater flow capacity of the Yolo Bypass and increase cargo capacity and operational efficiency at the Port of West Sacramento and within Yolo County.
“The proposed project’s next phase includes an economic development cost-benefit analysis and alignment study establishing the specific route for the new rail. Later stages include an environmental assessment to ensure that the proposed alignment will avoid sensitive areas, complete project design and engineering, full environmental documentation and a comprehensive cost estimate.
“The project is currently pursuing an economic development administration grant to fund a cost-benefit analysis for the project.”
Sunday’s activities for delegates included team meetings to go over final schedules and discuss any remaining policy issues. We are still finalizing some of the meetings as we plan for 14 teams to visit elected officials, agencies and advocacy organizations.
In the case of Innovation, we are carrying a policy paper that addresses the topic of patents, which is timely because there is a lot of discussion about this at the Capitol. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in real time as we are here advocating our regional views.
One hallmark of the Cap-to-Cap trip continues to be the concentrated opportunity to create and strengthen networks with people who have impact on our local efforts. For Innovation, this includes regional investors and banks, entrepreneur support organizations, education and workforce organizations, and, of course, technology and startup companies.
Follow the Davis efforts on Twitter at #InnovateDavis and my Twitter account of @mrobertwhite or the entire delegation at #Cap2Cap14 and twitter account @Metro_Chamber.
— Rob White is the city of Davis’ chief innovation officer.