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Measure K keeps SJ moving
Half cent sales tax has big impact
John Harris has taken the lead in transportation issues among the Manteca City Council members for the past 15 years. He is now chairman of the San Joaquin County Rail Commission. - photo by DENNIS WYATT

Every time someone buys a dollar’s worth of taxable merchandise in San Joaquin County they are contributing a half cent to fix potholes, build major roadways, construct railroad crossings, secure bike paths and roadway landscaping plus help advance rail and bus transportation.

The half cent sales tax known as Measure K is also responsible for securing $407 million from a state transportation bond passed in 2006 that includes funding for widening Highway 99 from the Highway 120 Bypass in Manteca to the Cross-town Freeway in Stockton to six lanes starting in 2012. Altogether Proposition 1B money for Highway 99, Interstate 205, and extending the Cross-town Freeway west of Interstate 5 represents $740 million of key transportation projects that will be completed years ahead of schedule.

“It’s a highly successful program,” said Manteca Councilman John Harris of the Measure K sales tax.

Originally adopted in 1990 by San Joaquin County voters, it was renewed for 30 years in 2006 with 78 percent of those casting ballots supporting the move. That renewal helped San Joaquin County to beat out much of California for the state bond project funds plus it is assuring cities like Manteca will have funds for local road maintenance.

Harris, who is starting his 16th year as a Manteca city councilman, served 12 years on the San Joaquin County Council of Governments that is responsible for overseeing and implementing Measure K. He is currently chairman of the San Joaquin County Rail Commission that is now working toward its own high speed rail line between Stockton and San Jose to replace the diesel powered Altamont Commuter Express passenger service.

The project is allowed under law to compete for part of the $10 billion state bond approved for the San Francisco to Los Angeles high speed rail that also involves servcie to Sacramento.

Harris remembers while he was working as a probation officer back in 1990 voting for the original Measure K.

“A lot of people I knew were having a time of it trying to get to work on the congested roads,” Harris recalled.

Measure K money is responsible for the $90 million-plus project to widen Interstate 205 to six lanes years ahead of schedule. SJCOG advanced the state the money to do the project and is getting reimbursed out of Proposition 1B bond sales. It is the same arrangement that made turning the Highway 120 Bypass in the early 1990s into a four-lane freeway several years ahead of state plans.

Without Measure K, city streets would be in much worse shape. The sales tax provides annual funds for local street repairs including $942,616 for Manteca, $211,117 for Ripon, $238,696 for Lathrop, and $7.7 million for San Joaquin County.

Measure K is also providing $1 million for the construction of a transit center at Moffat Boulevard and South Main Street. There are also funds set aside for widening the Louise Avenue rail crossing between Union Road and Airport Way to four lanes. Required approval by the California Public Utilities Commission due to a PG&E gas line has delayed the project.

Other projects in Manteca made possible with help from Measure K money include the Highway 99/Yosemite avenue interchange, the Industrial Park Drive extension, Airport Way work just south if the Highway 120 Bypass, Louise Avenue widening between Airport Way and the railroad tracks to the east, and the Tidewater Bike Path.

Projects targeted
with Measure K
sales tax receipts

Manteca area projects that could benefit from the Measure K extension include:

•constructing a new interchange at the Highway 120 Bypass and McKinley Avenue.

•reconstructing the Austin Road and Highway 99 interchange.

•improving Louise Avenue from Main Street to Highway 99.

•reconstructing the Highway 120 Bypass and Main Street interchange.

• reconstructing the Highway 120 Bypass and Airport Way interchange.

• reconstructing the Highway 120 Bypass and Union Road interchange.

•widening Airport Way from two to four lanes from Lathrop Road to French Camp Road and four to six lanes between French Camp Road and Arch Road.

• constructing at-grade improvements for the Airport Way railway crossing.

Ripon area projects that could be assisted by the Measure K extension are:

•widening Stockton Avenue from Second Street to Fifth Street from two to four lanes.

•reconstructing the Highway 99 and Main Street interchange and intersection improvements at Stockton Avenue and East Main.

•reconstructing interchange of Wilma Avenue and Highway 99.

• widening Jack Tone Road between Ripon city limits and Mariposa Road.

Major congestion relief projects with a countywide impact that may benefit from the Measure K extension are:

•widening the Highway 120 Bypass from Interstate 5 to Highway 99 from four to six lanes.

•widening Highway 99 from Highway 120 to the Cross-town Freeway in Stockton from four to six lanes.

•widening Interstate 205 from six to eight lanes between I-580 and I-5.

• widening Interstate 5 from I-205 to Eight Mile Road from six to eight lanes.

•implementing rail freight shuttle between the Port of Stockton and the Port of Oakland to divert truck freight traffic from the I-205 corridor.

•improving Cross-town Freeway interchanges with I-5 and Highway 99.

•widening Highway 12 from four to six lanes between Lower Sacramento Road and Highway 99 and provide safety improvements west of I-5 to the San Joaquin County line.

Lathrop area projects that could benefit from a Measure K extension are:

•reconstructing the Louise Avenue and Interstate 5 interchange.