By Tony Lopez

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – New construction, it’s something people in several Sacramento areas haven’t seen in years. But there’s light at the end of the tunnel for one neighborhood.

Some Natomas residents are tired of seeing empty lots and framed, but not built, homes. That’s just one topic Tony Lopez tackled in his latest Getting Answers Road Tour.

We slowed down in one of the fastest-growing areas of Sacramento to let those who call Natomas home sound off on everything from road work to kids’ afterschool programs, to commercial construction — or lack thereof.

CBS13 viewer Deena Harper has wanted to know: “Why aren’t they building more commercial businesses in Natomas?”

There’s a one-word answer: moratorium.

“We haven’t been able to build here in about six years,” said Natomas Chamber of Commerce President Danielle Marshall.

As you look at commercial construction in Natomas that began six years ago, you see it’s framed, but hardly a complete picture. It has to do with restrictions to building in a flood plain. With levees strengthened, the moratorium is in the process of being lifted. And after FEMA re-maps the area, residential and commercial construction could start up again by the end of 2014.

Schools in Natomas have started up again, and Quincy is curious. When it comes to his children, he’d like to see “some type of after school programs where they can learn like how to budget their money…how to get jobs.”

The Natomas Chamber of Commerce tells us it’s on the way. Local banks will be teaming up to offer an afterschool program teaching kids money management.

While that idea is under construction, some Natomas drivers are tired of the road construction that seems to be dominating their drive around Sacramento.

Natomas resident Chris Winston has a big question about all the big projects: “Just out of curiosity, I was wondering, why is there so much construction going on in Sacramento?” It’s specifically apparent on our highways and interstates.

Caltrans gave us a surprising answer: “We don’t believe there’s a lot of projects compared to other years,” said Dennis Keaton, a spokesperson for Caltrans.

So why does it seem like there’s so much construction?

“What you’re seeing is that a lot of the projects that are ongoing. They’re centered right near the metropolitan area and that’s caused a lot more delays. So it’s going to be noticed by more people because people running in and out of Sacramento are going to be running into these projects,” said Keaton.

But we dug deeper, wanting to know what impact does funding have on Caltrans projects? That answer may better explain why it seems like there’s so much road construction going on.

“The fundings can determine how fast the projects have to be started or when they’re going to be started because the moneys may be dated,” said Keaton.

So it’s a case of use it or lose it.

You can use us to keep using us to get answers.


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