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Measure K projects weather downturn
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The future of Measure K – the half-cent sales tax for transportation maintenance and repair that was initially approved by San Joaquin County voters in 1990 and then extended for another 30 years in 2006 – is in safe hands right now.

That’s according to Manteca City Councilman and San Joaquin Council of Governments representative Steve DeBrum.

During Tuesday’s Manteca City Council meeting, former longtime SJCOG representative John Harris asked to pull a consent calendar item that would have ratified the organization’s 2010-11 budget pending and update on the current fiscal situation – concerned that recent economic woes would affect future projects.

With the representative from SJCOG unavailable to attend due to a previous commitment in Cleveland, Harris deferred to DeBrum to update the council on the immediate situation for the program that has funded railroad crossings, improved highway and streets, and the Altamont Commuter Express rail system.

“There’s no doubt that the sales tax is in a downward spiral,” DeBrum said. “But right now we’re moving forward in a positive manner with no major impacts at this time.”

Harris, who still has close ties with members of the SJCOG board and was a respected member during his long tenure, introduced the pulled item with his concern regarding possible future projects including the widening of Highway 99 and the new Austin Road Interchange.

“I’m just concerned of a loss of revenue for Measure K with all of the ilk that has been present,” Harris said. “I just don’t want to see it suffering.”

Since its initial approval in 1990, one-half of every cent is collected on every taxable dollar transaction in San Joaquin County went to the San Joaquin Council of Governments – overseen by a Board of Directors that includes members from the Manteca, Tracy, Lathrop, Stockton, and Escalon city councils as well as the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.