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Flying J fueling Lathrops city coffers with $1M a year
flying J
More than a year after the company approached the Lathrop City Council with the idea of opening a truck stop on Roth Road, the Flying J Travel Plaza is scheduled to open for business this week. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL/ The Bulletin

The largest fueling station in Lathrop is about to open.
Flying J Travel Center is opening this week at Roth Road and Interstate 5 with 12 gas lanes and nine diesel lanes.
The complex also features a PJ Fresh Pizza (pizza, soup, salads, sandwiches and hot dogs), a Cinnabon (that includes premium coffee and cappuccino selections), a convenience market, Western Union, and a public laundry. It is expected to generate $10.6 million in state and local tax receipts that includes $1 million in Measure C sales tax to help fund Lathrop municipal services as well as provide up to 70 jobs.
“We’re thrilled to serve the Lathrop community and contribute to the local economy with our new travel center,” said Ken Parent, president of Pilot Flying J. “Both local residents and those traveling through the San Joaquin County area and along Interstate 5 will soon be able enjoy the convenience and amenities of our new Flying J Travel Center.”
It is expected not just to serve I-5 corridor truck and travel traffic but the growing number of trucks serving the rapidly expanding distribution centers in South Stockton, Lathrop, Tracy, and Manteca.
It is the 21st Flying J Travel Center in California and the third in San Joaquin County. The other two county locales are in Ripon at Jack Tone Road and Highway 99 and at the Lodi/Highway 12 exit on Interstate 5. They are part of a network of more than 750 Pilot and Flying J Travel Centers across the nation.
It’s been more than a year since the Lathrop City Council first considered allowing the country’s largest travel plaza conglomerate to open up a location on Roth Road.
 “I’m happy that this day has finally come,” said Lathrop Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal, who faced a challenge in November by a candidate backed by an anti-Flying J coalition with a stake in opposing interests. “I feel very good about it because all of the misinformation that was floating around out there, people realized what the truth was and we’re now going to have something that will benefit the city and its residents.
“This mean more jobs and more tax revenue and more money for our general fund for emergency services for fire and police – it’s a very positive addition to the city.”
While the Lathrop City Council voted unanimously to allow Flying J – part of the Pilot/Flying J merger that combined two of the country’s two-largest truck stop companies into the single largest – to move forward with plans to construct its location on Roth Road just east of I-5, a coalition of local business owners that would face competition from the chain mounted efforts to have it defeated and the council’s decision overturned and sent back to the voters.
A petition effort that Dhaliwal believes was based on misleading or untrue statements – like how the facility would be located near schools or homes or turn Roth Road into a haven for drug addicts and prostitutes – ultimately failed when a large number of the signatures that were submitted by the well-funded opposition group were deemed invalid, and no subsequent challenge was filed. Dhaliwal ultimately secured almost 60 percent of the vote to secure his third term as mayor despite the vocal opposition that he believes was responsible for an attack mailer that lumped him in with two other San Joaquin County candidates that are facing felony charges for different forms of fraud.
At the end of the day, Dhaliwal said, the truth prevailed and now the people of Lathrop will reap the monetary benefits without all of the fear that comes with welcoming a business to the community. Dhaliwal pointed out that a study by Lathrop Police Services that was completed prior to the council’s decisions showed that Flying J locations in the Northern San Joaquin Valley showed that the number of calls for service at those locations were similar to the number of calls for service at Lathrop’s existing truck stop on Harlan Road.
“We’re estimating that this one business will provide an additional $1 million in Measure C revenue every year,” Dhaliwal said. “This will be a benefit to all Lathrop residents, and we look forward to having a good relationship with Flying J and welcome them to our community.”
According to Lathrop city staff, the final improvements that will provide access to the complex are expected to be completed in the coming days.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.