Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
For years now we have been working with the City of Manteca regarding the dilemma of whether or not we need an expressway south of the bypass. Now, more recently, a dryland levee has entered the picture. And for a while, it seemed the two were a unit, in that where the levee went, the expressway would go along side it to the north, thus being protected from flood waters.
At the City Council meeting of April 5, there was an overview on the findings from the first workshop regarding the expressway and the dryland levee. From those findings, the mayor decided, from input from the consultant(at $92,000) and the audience, the two projects together were too large a task for one consultant to manage, and, therefore there would be no discussions on the expressway, and the consultant was to concentrate solely on the levee at the remaining two workshops.
And we were sternly reminded by one of the council members for us not to think the expressway was going away (contrary to just being told the expressway was overkill —an overly ambitious
project and not needed).
We were also informed by the Council and city attorney certain contracts and housing developments were intertwined with the expressway alignment (on Peach Avenue) as shown in the General Plan and therefore, could not be changed. This seemed to cause quite a bit of confusion for everybody (even the city council.) The reason being that was contrary to what we have been told all along. We have been told that “line”, referring to the expressway alignment as shown on the most recent map could go basically anywhere and the fact that it was on the map at this time meant nothing. We were told the expressway alignment could go anywhere. Well now, obviously, that line did mean something and we were not given all the facts.
Regarding the levee, the deadline for having “adequate progress” for the levee is July 1, otherwise all building south of Peach Avenue will come to a halt, according to Senate Bill 5, which is quite lengthy. I don’t believe the City of Manteca has enough time now to have all their ducks in a row to meet all the requirements, including financing.
But, the bottom line is we don’t need a levee (it’s not going to protect us, but it will protect future housing constructions), we don’t want a levee, and we can’t afford a levee. Regarding the expressway, the bottom line is we don’t need it. Look at all the facts surrounding this issue and decide for ourselves — if the City Council doesn’t decide for us first.