Manteca’s bid to drive truck traffic off Airport Way could end up opening old wounds with Lathrop.
That’s because Lathrop has expressed concerns that the Manteca effort to make sure Airport Way doesn’t become a legal truck route would result in a substantial jump of truck traffic on streets such as Roth Road, Louise Avenue, Yosemite Avenue, and Lathrop Road to travel to and from Interstate 5 and could cost that city substantial money in future road repairs while reaping none of the benefit. A federal study by the Government Accountability Office that is often cited concluded that one fully-loaded semi-truck weighing 80,000 pounds does as much road damage as 9,600 sedans.
Lathrop has twice sued Manteca over the issue of traffic connected with development along the Airport Way corridor impacting their streets.
The first volley was fired in 2004 when Lathrop sued to block the Big League Dreams sports complex and the adjoining Stadium Retail Center. Lathrop argued it would generate more traffic on Louise Avenue. Lathrop’s argument was based on the assumption the people attending games and shopping who travel on Interstate 5 would get off in Lathrop at Louise Avenue. They would then travel more than three miles on surface streets, cross two train track lines, and deal with six traffic signals instead of taking the 120 Bypass and exiting on Airport Way to directly access the shopping and sports complexes.
Meanwhile Lathrop was having sewer capacity problems. A Lathrop council member at the time — acting on his own — approached Manteca leaders and implied the lawsuit could go away if Manteca gave Lathrop more than its 14.7 percent share of the wastewater treatment plant capacity. That gamut went nowhere.
Manteca — concerned a long court delay would cost the city Kohl’s and other retailers plus postpone the BLD complex — agreed to an out-of-court settlement. Manteca agreed to pay for improvements needed to accommodate traffic that could be proven to have been generated by BLD when it came to Lathrop’s surface streets.
The damage to Manteca, however, had been done. It delayed the BLD groundbreaking by a year. Meanwhile steel and cement prices soared adding over $4 million to the cost. Kohl’s also delayed construction by a year fearful of getting stuck in the middle of a protracted court battle. That cost Manteca a year’s of sales tax revenue.
Ironically in 2009 after BLD had opened, a Lathrop hotel owner got a bit irked when Manteca officials pressed BLD not to have Lathrop hotels on their preferred list of where teams should book for tournaments. Lathrop hotels regularly fill up with players participating in BLD tournaments to provide that city with revenue from hotel room taxes.
Lathrop in 2011 sued Manteca over the CenterPoint Business Park to force Manteca to pay for improvements to the Roth Road and Interstate 5 interchange over a mile away.
The two cities agreed to try to work out their differences on Center Point out-of-court so it wouldn’t delay the CenterPoint project at Roth Road and Airport Way. The 180-acre project involves more than 4 million square feet of distribution aimed at taking advantage of the site’s proximity to Union Pacific intermodal year. It represents a $175 million investment and up to 600 permanent jobs.
Manteca responded to the Lathrop litigation in 2011 by filing a lawsuit challenging the approval of the Lathrop Gateway project
Lathrop Gateway— a massive residential and business park on Manteca’s doorstep northwest of McKinley Avenue and the 120 Bypass — is expected to generate a ton of traffic yet at the time the developers were not conditioned by Lathrop to contribute to the McKinley Avenue interchange Manteca is funding that would border the southeast corner of the project.
A citywide Manteca truck study that is being prepared, has received heavy community input to avoid making either Airport Way or Lathrop Road a truck route in Manteca.
Community Development Director Greg Showerman told the Manteca City Council Tuesday staff is discussing issues surrounding the proposal to send Manteca truck traffic into neighboring jurisdictions with Lathrop as well as San Joaquin County.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com