Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
Your editorial headlined “Living beyond our needs: When will we ever learn?” has prompted me to address a similar roadway maintenance issue here in Manteca that is becoming quite severe. Lathrop Road is a truck route but it is not a STAA truck route. What that means is that any of the large, long haul, through freight type semi-trucks that travel Lathrop Road, with the exception of the very few servicing places like Raley’s and SaveMart, are illegally traveling on Lathrop Road. This is easily verified by googling the definition of STAA trucks and googling the location of STAA truck routes in California.
Lathrop Road, not having the STAA designation, was not engineered with the proper road base to support the weight of these long haul trucks traversing it daily. This is evidenced by the mere fact that within a few short years after it was paved with new asphalt, it is deteriorating to the point that major work is going to be needed soon. The east bound side is far worse due to the heavy loads leaving the UP intermodal facility. If you happen to travel east bound behind one of these large trucks, just check for yourself where their tires are tracking on the road—exactly where all the cracks and pot holes have developed because the road base below those tires cannot support the weight.
Where are we going to get the money to repair/repave Lathrop Road? There are no truck stops in Manteca to pay fuel taxes; Lathrop and the county get all those taxes. Is Union Pacific paying into any road fund in sufficient amounts to cover the cost? Is the San Jan Joaquin Council of Governments going to give this any higher priority than projects that have been waiting for funding for many years? Or is the City going stick it to us by coming up with some form of special assessment methodology to pay for damage caused by non-resident truckers?
Since Lathrop Road is not a STAA truck route, that basically means all the long haul trucks traveling on Lathrop Road are doing so illegally. The CHP says they are not the responsible enforcement body, that the City is. But yet, has anyone ever seen a long haul truck being ticketed by a Manteca Police Officer on Lathrop Road? I’ve lived here nine years and I’ve never seen such an event. However, do we have sufficient PD staff to patrol this and other thoroughfares such as Airport Way to stop these trucks and put an end to this type of truck traffic? Just thinking out of the box here folks, but if the cost of repaving Lathrop Road between Highway 99 and Airport Road were to cost in the neighborhood of $10 million, I would think the cost of full pay and benefits to hire a couple of full time enforcement officers, not only would generate some income but more importantly would pay for themselves by eliminating the major wear and tear on the roadway and practically eliminating the need over the next twenty years to again repave Lathrop Road.