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Mantecas mega future
Citys fortunes tied to region
mega pix
Afternoon commute traffic, laden with Bay Area workers, is shown heading south on Highway 99 from Manteca through Ripon. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Manteca’s future health — economically and as a community — is becoming more and more reliant not on just the Bay Area/Silicon Valley but also on a larger footprint planners have dubbed the Northern California Mega Region.

It is the mega region approach that has drawn distribution centers to Stockton, Tracy, Lathrop, and Manteca as well as the likes of Bass Pro Shops and Big League Dreams to Manteca

uLogistics firms and distribution centers are drawn to the fact that from the core of the region trucks can reach 35 million consumers in 8 hours including the Los Angeles Basin.

uBass Pro was attracted by stats that showed Manteca at the epicenter of a market with 18 million consumers with a four-hour drive.

uBig League Dreams was sold on Manteca being within an hour of 8 million people as well as being midway between San Jose and Sacramento.

City Manager Elena Reyes believes Manteca can leverage being in the heart of the mega-region to lure better paying jobs as well as new population growth that can bring — and pay — for new amenities.

“Manteca has been leading the (209) region for the past three years in housing growth,” Reyes said.

A recent Wall Street front page article about Silicon Valley home prices and the lack of buildable land is prompting more traditional Bay Area single family home builders to look at opportunities in Manteca and nearby. Manteca has more than 9,000 housing units in various stages of approval while next door Lathrop has 11,000 approved units as part of the River Islands project. And unlike other cities in the area, both Manteca and River Islands have secured approval or rights for wastewater treatment and water to serve all of the potential homes on the books.

Even though Reyes is upbeat about how quality housing will raise the Manteca economy, she is well aware of the downside.

“People in Manteca can be impacted by Bay Area paychecks,” she said.

That’s why Reyes said the city must pursue affordable housing opportunities.

The Northern California Mega Region is comprised of 21 counties grouped into four sub-regions: the Bay Area, Sacramento area, Northern San Joaquin Valley (the 209 region of San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced counties) and the Monterrey Bay area.

It is one of the fastest growing economies in the country. It’s 2014 gross regional product was $875 billion and accounted for 5 percent of the United States’ gross national product. It also has the highest per capital income in the country.

Oakland and San Joaquin County led the state in job growth in 2015 after San Francisco and San Jose posted the fastest employment growth for five years.

Reyes noted the dynamic economy of the Silicon Valley is the driving force behind much of the 209 and Sacramento area growth in inland California. High costs and scarce labor is forcing Bay Area economic growth to spill into neighboring counties.

The Northern California Mega Region has:

uthree of the four fastest growing counties in California — San Joaquin (2nd), Santa Clara (3rd) and Yolo (4th).

u35 percent of the state’s land.

u37 percent of California’s population that includes 15 million with 12.4 million in the urbanized core with experts estimating the overall population to reach 24 million by 2050 with 19.1 million living in the urbanized core..

u20.3 percent of the adults have college degrees compared to 18.8 percent of the state.

u5 of the 10 University of California campuses and 10 of the 23 California State University campuses.

The nine other megaregions in the United States are Southern California centered around Los Angeles; the Texas Triangle of Huston, Dallas, and Austin; Florida, Northeast centered around New York City; the Midwest centered around Chicago; the Gulf Coast; and the Piedmont Atlantics stretching from Atlanta to Charlotte.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email