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Lathrop may obtain $383K for road work

 The City of Lathrop could soon get some much-needed help for road repairs once the Lathrop City Council adopts a resolution that would itemize the priority for transportation infrastructure projects in the city.
With the approval of Senate Bill 1 in the California legislature last year – a bill designed to address the significant transportation funding shortfalls across the state – Lathrop became eligible for $383,766 in funds so long as the council approved an annual project list by resolution that will solidify that the money can be spent on.
They’ll decide what will make it onto that list when they meet on Monday, May 14, inside of the council chambers at Lathrop City Hall – located at 390 Towne Centre Drive. The meeting is set to begin at 7 p.m.
According to the staff report prepared for the proposal – which is listed on the consent calendar, and could be approved as part of a block with a single council vote – the project that will be serviced by the new allocation is currently set to be the rehabilitation of the pavement on Harlan Road near Louise Avenue. Using the city’s existing Pavement Management System –which assigns grades to each of the roads in the city, and prioritizes which need the most attention – city staff determined that the funding would best be used to overhaul that vital thoroughfare, which has become a major access point for freeway travelers and tractor-trailers looking to access industrial warehouse buildings located along both sides of Harlan Road.
And while the funding will help Lathrop address a longstanding issue, they won’t be the only city in California lining up to get their share of the funding after years of roadway neglect.
Over the course of the next 10 years, according to the staff report, the state faces a $59 billion shortfall to “adequately maintain the state highway system” and counties across California are expected to face an even bigger shortfall – about $78 billion – to manage, repair and rehabilitate the thousands of miles of local roads – during the same time frame.
But the funding that will be used for the project won’t be without controversy.
Known formally as the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, SB1 has also assumed the informal name of the “gas tax” since its chief funding component comes from raising the per-gallon cost of both gasoline and diesel and raising the rate of vehicle registration to offset the rising backlog of necessary road repairs. While California previously had a gas tax on the books, the tax wasn’t indexed to keep up with the rising inflation in The Golden State, and it didn’t take long for the demand to outpace the supply of available funding.
An effort to repeal the tax, sponsored by Representative Travis Allen of Orange County – who is mounting a conservative campaign to challenge Democratic frontrunner Gavin Newsom for the Governor’s seat this November – is expected to qualify for the ballot through the initiative process.
Once the council gives its blessing in the form of a resolution, the city has plans to use the cold-in-place recycling method to rehabilitate the heavily-traveled section of roadway. That process, according to the staff report, involves “grinding off the top layer of the existing asphalt, applying additives and then reheating and using the recycled material for the new roadway – requiring less outside materials despite achieving the same newly-finished result.
If everything clears the council on Monday, the project could go out to bid by the end of the spring and construction on the section of roadway – Harlan Road from Louise Avenue south 1,000-feet – could begin as early as this summer.
For additional information about the project, or to obtain a copy of the agenda or the supporting documents, visit the City of Lathrop’s website at  
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.