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Ripon seeds federal funds for train station
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A bike path or train stop – which one of these two San Joaquin One Voice Regional Projects make sense for the City of Ripon?

The Ripon City Council is leaning towards the latter after several failed attempts to get funding from folks in Washington, D.C,. on the bike path connecting Ripon to Manteca along Highway 99.

“It would be nice to see an item that generates revenue and ties in with the city development like the Multi-Modal Station,” Vice Mayor Jake Parks said at last Tuesday’s meeting.

Ripon, for one, would already have a partner as the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission has talked about possibly adding downtown as part of its effort to modernize the existing Altamont Corridor Express train and rail service, connecting from Manteca to Modesto by 2018 providing Stanislaus County voters pass a half cent transportation tax similar to San Joaquin County’s  Measure K.

 Parks believes this project as well as that of the North Pointe’s mixed used development – included here are businesses, possibly hi-tech firms, not to mention several hundred homes in the Mistlin Sports Complex – would bode well with the city’s future plans.

Mayor Leo Zuber agreed.

“The Multi-Modal Station is the best option for a Regional Project due to the fact there has already been conversation with the rail team,” he said. “This project has more opportunity for success.”

By that, Zuber noted that this and one Local Project – in this case, the pipeline connecting Ripon’s water system to the South San Joaquin Irrigation District’s South County Water Supply – would be submitted for the One Voice 2015 trip in April.

According to City Administrator Kevin Werner, One Voice is a delegation of policymakers, governmental officials, and business leaders from San Joaquin County who “call upon leaders in the Administration and Congress (in the Nation’s Capital) to discuss specific policy issues and projects of importance to our region.”

Parks attended last year’s One Voice as did Stephanie Hobbs, president of the Ripon Community Athletic Foundation. Her trip to seek funding for the Stouffer Field revitalization efforts on the aging stadium at Ripon High was made possible by the San Joaquin Council of Government’s board of directors.

Hobbs may not be able to attend this year’s One Voice trip but she was able to get an endorsement on her stadium project from Council members.

They have a deadline of Jan. 30 to submit the two One Voice 2015 Projects to SJCOG board for consideration.

In the future, Zuber would like to see these talks begin in August in order to have more time to prepare the One Voice projects to SJCOG.

“Each year, SJCOG formally adopts specific regional priority projects or issues the One Voice group to present to our federal funding partners,” Werner said. “Over the years, projects have included highways, transit, habitat conservation, economic development, veterans, water, education, and funding for the Port.”

Besides the bike path, he noted that South Olive Avenue interchange and the Main Street interchange improvements as other possible Regional Projects.