Money may not grow on trees but federal dollars can grow 7,100 trees.
Almost 42 cents of every dollar in federal stimulus funds Manteca received went to plant trees and, shrubs, and other plants along the 120 Bypass and Highway 99 corridor.
Highway landscaping funds through the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act accounted for $3.7 million of the $8.84 million Manteca was awarded. Manteca actually received $900,000 less. State delays in giving the archeological clearance to the $2.9 million Atherton Drive extension that was just opened forced the city to give up the $900,000 as it was able to meet a spending deadline. But instead of losing it outright, Manteca - working with the San Joaquin Council of Governments and federal representatives - was able to trade it for other funding another county jurisdiction had allowing the city to backfill the funds.
Federal stimulus funds were made available to local government for specific endeavors. Manteca was able to get $3.7 million in funds restricted to highway landscaping because they had projects ready to go and there wasn’t much competition for the funds.
Altogether 7,100 trees and 3,900 shrubs will have been planted along the two freeway corridors that go through Manteca thanks to federal stimulus funds. The project also included mulch and hydro seeding but no permanent irrigation. Instead, the contractor awarded the work was required to truck in water for three years as well as keep weeds down during that time period.
Improving Manteca’s image to travelers along the two freeway corridors has always been a goal of the city. But the cost of any such undertaking made it a no-starter until the federal stimulus funds came along.
City Manager Karen McLaughlin noted that if the city hadn’t taken the stimulus money it would have gone elsewhere. And if that had happened, Manteca taxpayers would still be paying for the overall $880 billion stimulus package for years to come through taxes.
Manteca has spent most of the $8.84 million it has received.
Stimulus funds will help
save $186,000 annually
One project, the replacement of the city’s existing street lights with high-efficiency induction lamps that will save the general fund $186,000 in annual costs, is currently underway.
The $666,800 project includes $586,200 in federal stimulus funds.
The lighting has a significantly longer life span as well as reduced maintenance costs. The trade-off is the fact the lights are more expensive.
Other pluses include:
•Instant-on with no run-up or re-strike delays.
•improved night visibility due to higher color rendering, higher color temperature, and increased luminance uniformity.
•no mercury, lead, or other known disposable hazard.
The city anticipates annual electricity savings costs of $167,335 and annual maintenance savings of $19,392 for an annual savings of $186,416. That means the conversion costs will be paid back within 3.2 years once a $65,000 PG&E rebate is taken into account. After that the city will avoid $186,000 in annual costs.
Other federal stimulus money spent by Manteca included:
•$1.4 million that paid for four additional police officers for three years.
•$957,000 that went toward the rehabilitation of portions of nine streets.
•$1.3 million in transit funds that included $380,000 toward environmental studies for the proposed transit station at Moffat at Main, $100,000 for an additional fixed route bus, $130,000 for the new Manteca Transit facility, and $40,000 for marketing, branding and signage.