Rosa De León Park

Rosa De León Park, StanCOG executive director, gives a presentation on the policy board’s transportation expenditure plan at City Hall Feb. 16.

Rosa De León Park, executive director of the Stanislaus Council of Governments, presented the committee’s transportation expenditure plan for the county during Tuesday’s regular meeting of the City Council.

As one might expect, transportation needs in Stanislaus County exceed available funding. The expenditure plan would generate over $39 million annually, or nearly $1 billion over its 25-year lifespan.

In July, the policy board will request that the county Board of Supervisors place on the November ballot a half-cent sales tax raise to fund outlined transportation projects.

“We will have the funding locally to support our infrastructure” if the measure passes, Park said.

Adding to budget woes, the California Transportation Commission will be reducing projected funding available for the state’s transportation program by $754 million over the next five years.

Park said the Stanislaus region will need to cut $7.43 million in funding.

StanCOG’s expenditure plan outlines how much money would go towards each identified area of need within the county should the tax measure pass.

Improvements to local streets and roads make up the biggest piece of the pie, with 50 percent of expenditures going to such projects.

Regional projects would use 28 percent of funds. Officials have not yet identified specific areas, though they are considering the north, central and south county corridors, the latter of which is currently undergoing a feasibility study.

Traffic management will have a 10 percent allocation, and bicycle and pedestrian projects 5 percent of funding.

Seven percent is currently identified for the “other” category, itself divided into four components: point-to-point services for seniors and persons with disabilities (30 percent); community connections, such as bicycle and pedestrian pathways in unincorporated areas (30 percent); transit improvements (20 percent); and rail-related services, such as shuttles to ACE, BART and Amtrak (20 percent).

When the StanCOG policy board last proposed a half-cent sales tax measure in 2008, there was 0 percent allocated to the other category. In 2014 discussions, the board brought that to 5 percent.

“It may not seem like a lot in some people’s eyes. The breakdown that you see now has increased in those dollars,” Molina said, referring to the funding for the four components. “The dedication to those particular items … didn’t exist the last time this measure came before the county board.”

One young resident, Northmead second-grader Jacob Hussar, was happy to see bicycle pathways among the areas to benefit.

“I think they should make more bike lanes on M Street,” Jacob said, “because I ride my bike to school every day.”

Also on Tuesday, the City Council:

• Heard a state legislative update from Churchwell White legislative advocate Celia Mata. Mata updated the council on such issues as the statewide regulations on medical marijuana, for which the March 1 deadline for local governments was repealed, and maximum levels of chromium-6 in drinking water. Cities have until Jan. 1, 2020 to reach compliance with the latter. She also touched on bills regarding community revitalization and groundwater sustainability. Deputy City Attorney Doug White said Churchwell White will soon bring forth a proposal to allow the firm to formally lobby for the city of Patterson at the state capitol. White said the service will be free and allow the city to have an active advocate for its interests in the capitol looking for financial and other opportunities.

• Approved 4-0 the first reading of the second amendment to the city’s development agreement with Keystone Pacific Business Park and Keystone Business Park West. Keith Schneider of Keystone Corp. said that amendment simply deletes references to “flex” parcels, flex being a term that is not defined within the development agreement or West Patterson Business Park master plan. Keystone and Keystone West make up the northernmost third of the West Patterson Business Park, housing distribution centers for CVS, Kohl’s and Grainger. Before the area annexed into Patterson, the development agreement was between Keystone and Stanislaus County. Andrews said the term flex parcel, referring to spec buildings, is a remnant of historical language that meant something to the county but not the city and creates problems marketing the business park.

• Approved 4-0 the first reading of Ordinance No. 791, which allows for electronic and paperless filing of campaign disclosure statements in the municipal code. City Manager Ken Irwin said that the ordinance does not prohibit paper filing. According to a staff report, electronic filing will reduce paper waste and administrative processing time, while making the reports filed immediately available to the public on the city’s website.

Nathan Duckworth: 892-6187 ext. 307,

PI editor

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