The Turlock City Council will decide Tuesday night whether to support or oppose a proposed, countywide tax to benefit local streets.
All proceeds from the 25 year, half-cent sales tax would be devoted toward transportation projects in Stanislaus County. Local governments could also leverage the tax revenues to obtain state grants which are currently unavailable, as the county does not currently tax itself for roads.
The initiative was developed by the Stanislaus Council of Governments, the agency which oversees transportation planning for the county. The StanCOG Policy Board decided to support the transportation tax proposal, which would generate $970 million, at its Jan. 15 meeting; the measure would require voter approval before taking effect.
Revenues from the tax would be split among many different projects. A massive 47 percent of the total funding would be devoted to three major countywide corridors: constructing the North County Corridor, stretching from McHenry Avenue in Modesto to Oakdale; widening State Route 132 from Modesto to the San Joaquin County line and building a new interchange at Highway 99; and, a South County Corridor, widening W. Main Street from Turlock to Patterson and constructing new interchanges.
A further 4.8 percent of revenues would go toward regional rail projects – like the proposed expansion of Altamont Commuter Express rail service to Modesto and Turlock – while .9 percent would be devoted to mobility for seniors and disabled persons, and .3 percent would go to bicycles and pedestrians. As much as 1 percent of the total generated sales tax revenue could go toward administrative costs.
And 47 percent of the total collected would be sent back to the cities, who could then spend those revenues on local roads as they pleased. Turlock would receive approximately $2.7 million annually, far from enough to make major improvements in Turlock’s streets.
“Based on the current cost estimates provided to the city council, the sales tax estimated to be generated in this proposed tax measure will not completely address the depth of the problems,” a Turlock city staff report reads. “However, it would allow the cities and Stanislaus County to make progress for the long term with a relatively stable funding source.”
Past studies suggest that Turlock would need to spend $11.4 million per year for the next 20 years to improve its streets to a “good” level. Simply maintaining roads at their current levels would cost $5 million annually; Turlock currently spends about $1.25 million per year.
All nine city councils and the County Board of Supervisors are now reviewing the spending plan. If consensus support is achieved, the StanCOG policy board will adopt the spending plan at its March 19 meeting. The measure would then come before voters this November.
On Tuesday, the Turlock City Council is also expected to:
-Approve a $523,331 project to install a new traffic signal at the intersection of Monte Vista and Colorado avenues. The project will also widen the intersection, install frontage improvements along Colorado Avenue, and restore pavement.
The project will use federal funds intended to improve air quality or provide congestion relief. The work would be performed by MCI Engineering, Inc., of Stockton.
-Sign a tentative agreement between ambulance provider American Medical Response and the Turlock Fire Department, which would reimburse TFD for costs associated with emergency medical response.
Since 1989, Turlock has absorbed all costs related to responding to medical calls. Now, for the first time, following a new countywide contract, AMR will now pay for medical supplies including defibrillators, as well as costs of firefighter labor for lift assists, firefighter ridealongs, and AMR-requested standbys.
-Apply for a grant that would allow the City of Turlock to create new planning standards which would promote compact, infill development in Turlock’s downtown.
-Issue a proclamation in honor of Go Green Week, to be celebrated from Feb. 24 through Feb. 28.
-Recognize City of Turlock staff for their efforts in securing a new Hilmar Cheese Company plant, to be built in Turlock.
-Appoint members to the Community Development Block Grant Selection Committee.
-Hear a presentation from Pacific Gas & Electric regarding recent testing of local natural gas lines.
-Hear updates on downtown food trucks ordinances, measures to limit campaign contributions, potential future off-site Turlock City Council meetings, and bicycle/pedestrian safety.
-Make relatively minor adjustments to the City of Turlock budget to reflect current information.
-In closed session, discuss a case of anticipated litigation regarding the city project to construct sewer lift stations at the intersections of W. Main Street and Clinton and Tegner roads.