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Uncle Sam, can you help?
Manteca seeks $2.4M for Raymus/99 interchange
99 HIGHWAY2-4-10-14-LT
The proposed Raymus Expressway interchange on Highway 99 is proposed near the water tower midway between Ripon and Manteca. - photo by HIME ROMERO

The strategy is simple.

Take 41 San Joaquin County movers and shakers to Washington, D.C., for four days.

Keep them moving around to see key bureaucratic decision makers as well as elected leaders.

And try to shake loose some federal dollars to help bolster the San Joaquin County economy.

That’s the gist of the 15th annual San Joaquin One voice lobbying trip to the nation’s capital that wraps up today. It brings together all of the cities, county, and private sector to basically try and sway federal decision makers to part with greenbacks for everything from interchange projects to  water supply endeavors. The effort was started by the San Joaquin Council of Governments after it was noted the region was consistently getting a lot less in federal funds than other areas of the state.

In the past the effort has netted some $104 million for projects in San Joaquin County.

And while earmarks are not expected in the 2015 federal budget, funding allocations are available from various departments and through grants.

The 20 projects being pushed this year represent a collective price tag of $100.8 billion. Of that, San Joaquin One Voice is asking for $125.5 million from Uncle Sam.

Among the three highest projects on the priority list is the envisioned Raymus Express and Highway 99 interchange midway between Manteca and Ripon.

One Voice is seeking $2.4 million to match $600,000 in local funds for preliminary engineering and environmental studies. The overall cost of the project is pegged at $150 million making it the most expensive pending infrastructure project in San Joaquin County. It will allow access to a 600-acre business park moving forward to ground breaking as well as other development in Ripon and Manteca.

The existing Austin Road interchange is non-standard and too close to the Highway 120 Bypass/Highway 99 interchange to be expanded under modern Caltrans freeway operating guidelines.

The interchange also has to cross over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks as well as shift the freeway to the east.

The effort is also seeking 50 percent funding of the $22 million needed for Altamont Corridor Express tracks and system improvements. In addition $7.9 million is being sought for $8.8 million worth of projects to enhance safety, security, and capacity at the Stockton Metro Airport.

Other South County projects include:

• The construction of a pipeline for Ripon to tap into the South County Water Supply Project. The City of Ripon is seeking $3.5 million toward the overall cost of $5.8 million.

• Purchase of right-of-way for a separated bikeway to connect Ripon and Manteca. The request is for $2.5 million with a local match of $400,000. Overall the project is estimated to cost $4.9 million once construction costs are factored into the equation.

• The replacement of unsafe bleachers, inaccessible bathrooms, and a required wall at the Ripon High football field. The request is for $1.4 million of the $2.9 million cost.

• Louise Avenue and Interstate 5 interchange improvements in Lathrop. The overall project is $29.5 million. The current request is for $5 million. It will be used to complete the final design phase and fund right-of-way acquisition to widen Louise Avenue and reconstruct the interchange. The balance of $24.5 million is a local match to build the project.

• The upgrading of the Lathrop Road and Interstate 5 interchange in Lathrop. The $5 million request is for environmental studies, final design and partial right-of-way costs to widen Lathrop Road and reconstruct the interchange. The overall project is $38.3 million