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Will truck route study be sham?

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POSTED February 15, 2017 11:29 p.m.

Editor Manteca Bulletin,
 In your article: “Manteca considering look at truck routes”, February 14, 2017, you detail instructions that have been issued by the Manteca Interim City Manager to department heads relative to performing a truck/traffic study to develop an overall plan for the city.
 In your article I quote:  “He noted the city needs to make sure economic considerations are taken into such as trucks being able to legally go to and from business parks that are providing jobs as well as making sure vehicle weight restrictions exceptions are considered for local deliveries to business such as Raley’s and other stores.”  Let’s parse out this statement.  First of all, state law/regulations already make an exception that allows STAA classified trucks, regardless of weight, to make deliveries to local businesses such a Raley’s and SaveMart so that is not even an issue we need to spend time on as the City can do nothing about it.
 The first part of the statement though really concerns me in that he is saying the plan has to take into consideration economic growth and the provision of jobs.  If one were to search through state law/regulations, you will not find any authority given to cities to make any such exceptions to the rules governing STAA truck routing.  Further, all existing and upcoming business parks in the Manteca and Lathrop City areas already have a STAA approved route to and from them.  There is no reason to give them two or three additional routes at the expense of safety and other factors to the residents.
hose businesses are not going to go away due to having only a single STAA route; they are not going to see an economic downturn because of having only a single STAA truck route and they are not going to cut back on their number of employees simply because there is only a single STAA route to their business.  These businesses often tout it is not their responsibility to attempt to enforce the routing of the trucks that service their business since these are independent trucking firms.  Well then, where does that responsibility lie?  The only remaining solution to that issue is enforcement of the law by the appropriate enforcement agency, not the provision of more STAA routes that will directly degrade the quality of life of residents.
 All through the Manteca City Planning Commission meeting of February 14, 2017, this above mentioned planning process was touted as the cure to end all of the lengthy discussion that was/is taking place regarding large truck traffic traversing Manteca. 
Following the meeting I queried staff as to how to get on the contact list so that I could be involved in these planning discussions.  I was told that my only opportunity to be involved would be after the plan was developed and brought before the Planning Commission.  However, the Interim City Manager’s instructions regarding this planning process require that it be coordinated/vetted with the Goods Movement Task Force which falls under the San Joaquin Council of Governments.  This task force is comprised mostly of trucking companies and is headed by none other than the owner of one of the bigger trucking firms in the area who has already stated a strategic goal of making Lathrop Road a STAA truck route from Interstate 5 through to Highway 99.  Is this not a direct conflict of interest?  I would appreciate someone explaining how this task force could ever be non-partisan in their findings.  If the trucking companies get to sit at the table in these discussions, then why shouldn’t the residents, who will be affected by the plan, also be allowed to be part of the discussions and have an equal say?  Is this going to be nothing more than just another sham forced down resident’s throats?
 
Bill Barnhart
Manteca

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