Stanislaus County and cities cooperate on roadway

An agreement among Stanislaus County and the cities of Modesto, Oakdale and Riverbank to work on the proposed north county corridor expressway won approval of the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

The Modesto City Council approved the agreement Tuesday, and the Oakdale City Council did so Monday. Riverbank has given Mayor Chris Crifasi the authority to approve the agreement, according to Stan Risen, county assistant executive officer.

The expressway is needed to alleviate congestion and handle anticipated traffic growth in the area. It would run from Highway 99 east about 24 miles, ending south and east of Oakdale. Several alternative routes have been discussed, north and south of Kiernan-Claribel roads.

The supervisors unanimously approved the joint powers authority agreement, which will let the county and three cities work together to determine a preferred route for the expressway and the cost, and to prepare studies and plans. The agreement could be extended to cover construction as well, according to a county staff report.

The joint powers authority is modeled after one formed in Contra Costa County between the county and the cities of Antioch, Oakley and Brentwood to build a Route 4 bypass. Caltrans is a part of the Contra Costa JPA, and could help the Stanislaus County authority as well, according to the county staff report.

Funding for the expressway is expected to come from state funds matched with local public facilities fees collected from developers.

Stanislaus County would contribute 40 percent of the cost of the projects, and each city would contribute 20 percent. The county director of public works would manage the authority, the county auditor-controller would serve as controller, and the county treasurer would be the treasurer.

County Board Chairman Tom Mayfield appointed Supervisors Jeff Grover and Bill O'Brien to serve on the joint powers author-ity. Each city would appoint a member as well.

Grover said the joint powers authority structure also could be used for a proposed south county corridor, with the county joining the cities of Turlock, Newman and Patterson. The south county corridor would use the West Main alignment, ending north or south of Patterson, Grover said.

Getting the cities and the county together could help resolve routing issues for the south corridor, he said.

The north and south corridor proposals and a central county corridor using Route 132 are included in the county's half-cent sales tax proposal headed for the November ballot, Grover said.

Bee staff writer Tim Moran can be reached at tmoran@modbee.com or 578-2349.

Stanislaus County and its cities are considering a half-cent sales tax increase for the November ballot that officials say would raise $700 million over 20 years. Half the money would go to cities and counties for projects local officials choose. The rest would go to regional work.

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