When will they start fixing streets, like the government promised to get voters to pass a transportation tax last November?
They’ve already started, actually. If you live in Oakdale or Salida, you may have spied the first evidence of Measure L spending in road projects.
“It’s great to start to see tax dollars being spent in Salida neighborhoods,” said Stanislaus County Supervisor Terry Withrow, who represents that area. “Nobody likes taxes, but if you’re going to pay, let’s see some benefits.”
There is enthusiasm across the county. It just happens that we’re starting in Salida.
Terry Withrow, Stanislaus County supervisor
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People in Modesto, Ceres, Riverbank and Patterson could see Measure L projects in the fall. Then again, they might not – because those cities will be competing for availability of local paving contractors.
“This year seems to be busier,” said Dave Pimley, project manager for American Pavement Systems in Modesto. Demand driven by Measure L money has been great for business, he said.
Some leaders are well aware, and are anxious to charge out of the starting gate.
“The problem now will be coming up with enough contractors out there to do the work,” Modesto Councilman Bill Zoslocki told others on the council when they approved $7 million-worth of Measure L projects earlier this month.
Road contractors are swamped.
Matt Machado, Stanislaus County public works director
“If we don’t get started, we’re not going to have contractors,” agreed Councilwoman Jenny Kenoyer. “Everyone in the county is going to be after them.”
Because Salida is an unincorporated community, as opposed to a city, its work – pavement preservation on 25 miles, or 80 percent of Salida’s roads, for $1.5 million – was ordered by the county. Public Works Director Matt Machado is happy to be the early bird, but he’ll delay more work in Denair, Empire or Hickman until next year because of stiff competition for pavers.
Turlock’s first Measure L projects will wait till 2018 partly for the same reason, City Manager Gary Hampton said.
$960 million Expected proceeds from Measure L over 25 years
$38 million Expected yearly proceeds from Measure L
Voters throughout the county last fall embraced Measure L with 71 percent approval. Shoppers in April began paying 5 cents for something priced at $10, 50 cents for a $100 item, and so on, raising about $960 million over 25 years, or $38 million a year.
A spending plan tells how proceeds will be used: half on local streets, 10 percent on signals and intersections, 5 percent for bicycle and pedestrian projects, and 7 percent on buses, trains and senior and disability travel. The remaining 28 percent is earmarked for regional projects, including the Highway 132 bypass west of Modesto, and future North and South County corridors.
Citizens oversight committees – one covering the entire county and all nine cities, and another reserved to Modesto – are being formed.
Status reports for each city:
The City Council on July 5 approved spending:
▪ $2.9 million improving Carpenter Road, between Kansas and Chicago avenues and from Robertson Road to the Tuolumne River bridge. The county will handle the stretch in between, city engineer Vickey Dion said.
▪ $1.9 million improving streets in the Lakewood neighborhood, east of downtown and north of Scenic Drive.
▪ $585,000 replacing 120 obsolete “traffic controllers,” or electronic equipment that keeps traffic flowing smoothly
▪ $320,000 improving safety around Orville Wright Elementary School, in the airport neighborhood.
▪ $300,000 on a second phase for a Modesto Junior College bike path.
▪ $300,000 developing a citywide plan for bicycle and walking trails.
▪ $300,000 designing improvements of Wylie Drive, Floyd Avenue and Carver Road.
In addition, Modesto hopes to attract $2.3 million in state and federal grants by pledging $421,500 toward other projects, including traffic signals at Floyd and Millbrook avenues, Prescott Road and Mt. Vernon Drive, and Roselle Avenue and Belharbour Drive, and upgrading other signal lights at Ninth and B streets and on Seventh Street at G, H and I streets.
The city hopes to begin some work in the fall. Other projects will wait until 2018.
Leaders expect to receive about $7 million extra from Senate Bill 1, the $54 billion tax legislation that Gov. Brown signed in April. That would boost Modesto’s road spending from $2 million a year to about $15 million.
“That’s a substantial increase,” Zoslocki said.
The Cowboy Capital has bragging rights as the first agency to pounce on Measure L money, having started a few weeks ago repaving portions of Lee and Johnson avenues and Pontiac Street. It’s costing $1 million; Measure L will pay $900,000, and City Hall kicked in the rest.
“These roadways need to be complete before school starts, so we are pleased to report that the work is almost finished,” said City Manager Bryan Whitemyer.
In the next year or two, Oakdale wants to improve portions of Magnolia and H streets and Wood and Fifth avenues.
Early next year, reconstruction should start on West Main Street, Golden State Boulevard, East Avenue and Geer Road.
“Turlock’s overall strategy was to use Measure L funds to tackle our oldest and most-used roadways first,” rather than neighborhood streets, said Mayor Gary Soiseth.
The city took bids on rebuilding 85-year-old West Main a few weeks ago, but offers came back much higher than anticipated and the bid process was scrapped. Officials hope for a redo this fall, but they’re realistic about competing for pavers’ attention.
Street design should progress to construction in the fall, City Manager Toby Wells said.
Slurry sealing of some streets could begin in the fall, with a larger project anticipated in 2018, City Manager Sean Scully said.
“We’ll wait and see how the allocations come in,” he said. “We’re not spending as much as we know we’re going to get.”
The Apricot Capital intends to repave six streets and slurry-seal 10 others, all in two neighborhoods southeast of Sperry and Ward avenues and northeast of Hartley Street and E. Las Palmas Avenue. Work should begin late summer or early fall, City Manager Ken Irwin said.
First on the list is resurfacing Santa Fe Avenue. City Manager Raul Mendez said work should finish in 2018.
Our streets cost as much as Modesto’s, but our (tax) allocation is a pittance.
Tim Ogden, outgoing city manager, Waterford
Main, H and Summers streets are the city’s top priority, but officials don’t expect work to begin before next summer, outgoing City Manager Tim Ogden said.
“The city is working with our city engineer to put together our first round of improvements,” City Manager Michael Holland said.
Garth Stapley: 209-578-2390