Come April 1, funds from Measure L — Local Roads First Transportation Funding — will be collected county-wide following the approval of the 25-year, half-cent sales tax by voters in November. The city’s first project to benefit from the additional funding will be an improvement to what many know as the roadway that welcomes visitors into Turlock, or West Main Street.
Measure L was introduced by the Stanislaus Council of Government as an Expenditure Plan on how funds from the new tax will be used to pay for local street and road improvements, arterial street widening, signalization, pedestrian, bicyclist and driver safety.
The plan was influenced heavily by a comprehensive public outreach program that asked residents to identify their priorities for future transportation programs and projects. The road tax will bring in $960 million over the course of 25 years, or approximately $38 million annually, to be divided between the county and nine cities. For Turlock, a lifetime total of $138 million will be provided by the road tax once it goes into effect over the weekend.
In a presentation to the City Council Tuesday evening, City Engineer Mike Pitcock announced that the first projects to be tackled thanks to Measure L funding will be focused around West Main Street, from Lander Avenue to Walnut Road, including reconstruction of the road’s surface and the construction of a new intersection.
In December, Mayor Gary Soiseth explained that the first of the Measure L funding would go toward maintenance projects around town, targeting the roads throughout the city that have experienced deterioration in recent years.
“This is a game-changing tax,” said Soiseth shortly after the passage of the road tax. “The strategy behind Turlock’s formula was to do the most good for as many people as possible.”
Within the first five years of the 25-year expenditure plan, the City plans to first fix Turlock’s “arteries,” such as West Main Street and other high-traffic areas like Geer Road, Golden State Boulevard and East Avenue.
Once the larger, more frequently-traveled roads gave been fixed, efforts will move on to smaller, older streets that connect Turlock’s neighborhoods such as Olive Avenue, Taylor Road, Christoffersen Parkway and Marshall Street.
Pitcock expects construction on the West Main Street project to begin on Aug. 1, shortly after the first distribution of Measure L funds in July, and the City is currently working on the design of 24 other active projects. There will be a groundbreaking ceremony to kick off the West Main Street construction, with details to be announced.
“I appreciate the hard work you guys have put into Measure L,” Soiseth told Pitcock at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. “People have asked me questions about you guys ramping up before Measure L was actually passed…If Measure L didn’t pass we were going to figure out a Plan B, but with Plan A we wanted to be ready so as soon as it passed and as soon as we start accumulating money April 1, we would be ready to go this summer.”
A complete list of projects and the City’s 25-year plan can be viewed at www.stanislaus-localroadsfirst.com/turlock.