The county’s streets will soon see improvements, as preliminary results showed Measure L surpassing the two-thirds majority vote necessary to pass Tuesday night.
As of 10 p.m., early results from the general election indicated that Stanislaus County voters supported the measure, with 70.8 percent voting in its favor.
Measure L — Local Roads First Transportation Funding — was introduced by the Stanislaus Council of Government as an Expenditure Plan on how funds based on a 25-year, half-cent sales tax measure will be used to pay for countywide local street and road improvements, arterial street widening, signalization, pedestrian, bicyclist and driver safety. The plan was heavily influenced by a comprehensive public outreach program that asked residents to identify their priorities for future transportation programs and projects, and the road tax is expected to bring in $960 million or approximately $38 million per year.
It was StanCOG’s third attempt at getting a road tax approved, as two similar initiatives failed by a narrow margin in both the 2006 and 2008 general elections. Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth, Turlock’s representative on the StanCOG Board, has consistently advocated for the countywide road tax and was pleased to see it pass Tuesday night.
“We worked hard to put together a strong, accountable measure that earned the trust of voters,” said Soiseth. “I'm very glad that voters trusted us enough to pass Measure L.”
For Turlock, Measure L will provide a lifetime total of $138 million dollars, distributed between various improvements to the city’s transportation system. Funding will include:
· $3 million annually for street improvements;
· $1.6 million annually for regional significant projects;
· $586,000 annually for traffic management;
· $293,000 annually for bikes and pedestrians;
· $43,000 annually for transit.
The City of Turlock plans to tackle arterial road projects first (West Main Street, East Avenue and Golden State Boulevard), followed by collector roads (Linwood Avenue, Hedstrom Road and Del’s Lane) and then local streets. There will be 1,062 individual local road improvements in total, and 18 new traffic signals will be placed at key intersections throughout the city. Regional projects will include the construction of an auxiliary lane from Keyes Road to Taylor Road and a new intersection at West Main.
The passing of Measure L also designates Stanislaus as a “self-help” county, allowing the region to access additional state-level transportation dollars and matching regional investment in roads nearly dollar for dollar.
In Turlock, Soiseth is eager to get to work on the city’s roads.
“I will meet with the City Manager and City Engineer this week to bring to Council an expedited plan to start road construction as soon as possible,” he said. “The wait for better roads is over, and I'm looking forward to watching the much-needed improvements unfold in our community.”