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Growth not paying toward interchanges

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POSTED January 2, 2014 1:02 a.m.

It was posed to the City Council as the $235 million question in 2007:  How was Manteca going to assess growth for needed interchange work?

Seven years later Manteca has managed to identify a third of the funding sources. And a discussion of whether to assess future growth south of the 120 Bypass a separate interchange never got off the ground — at least at the council level.

Not a single penny has been collected on growth since then specifically for interchange work despite roughly 1,400 more homes being built.

Work is now proceeding on a new Lathrop Road interchange on Highway 99 thanks to $38.5 million in state bond funds and $12.5 million in regional transportation improvement funds collected countywide. Various growth fees collected for transportation will fund modifications to the existing Austin Road interchange on Highway 99 this year.

The city has $10 million in remaining redevelopment agency funds to go toward the widening of the Union Road interchange on the 120 Bypass. There is also $4 million in RDA money left for the McKinley Avenue and 120 Bypass project.

That leaves Manteca leaders with the need to find a source of funding to cover the rest of the McKinley Avenue and Union Road project tabs, widening needed down the road for both the Main Street and Airport Way interchanges on the 120 Bypass, plus the proposed Antone E. Raymus Expressway interchange envisioned for midway between Jack Tone Roads and Austin Road on Highway 99. That interchange could push $100 million based on the need to also span the railroad tracks and to shift the existing freeway to the east.

None of the remaining projects are likely to receive state funding of any consequence. The trend in the past 18 years has not only been for decreased state funding for improvements to freeways but also to “borrow” gas tax and even bond money approved by voters for transportation projects to help balance the state budget.

Also the state has a policy of generally not assisting financially with freeway interchange work that benefits local traffic movements.

Manteca has $23.6 million in transportation fees collected from growth for major road projects. That funding normally goes for four-lane arterials and other surface street improvements such as traffic signals that are deemed necessary due to growth. Of that amount $410,000 was collected in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013.

There is also a highway interchange fee account. It had a beginning and ending balance for last fiscal year of $58,403. Not a penny was assessed on growth for the interchanges.

Back in 2007 council was told there were several scenarios that could be used to assess such a fee. Nothing has been brought back before the council since then.

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