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StanCOG votes to progress road tax to ballot
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The Stanislaus Council of Governments proposed an Expenditure Plan based on a 25-year, half-cent sales tax measure for consideration by voters on the November 2016 ballot.

The tax is aimed at fixing neighborhood streets across all of Stanislaus County and if it were to pass on the November ballot, it would bring $960 million or approximately $38 million per year.

At the June 15 StanCOG Policy Board meeting, a request to approve the half cent tax increase to be included on the November ballot was passed unanimously. Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth, who also serves on the StanCOG Policy Board, has been involved with this potential ballot measure since the beginning.

"I was proud to represent Turlock when I cast my vote alongside my fellow StanCOG board members,” said Soiseth. “We've worked hard creating the initiative, and we'll continue to work hard educating citizens as to the importance of investing in our failing infrastructure."

With 50 percent of the revenue funds designated for local control going towards local streets and roads, the City of Turlock is gearing up to begin numerous projects to help repair ailing city streets.

These projects include a construction of a new intersection at West Main Street, 18 new traffic signals at major intersections throughout the city, multiple Safe Routes to Schools projects improving safety for children, and 1,062 individual local road improvement projects.

“Turlock's roads and interchanges have been neglected for far too long," said Soiseth. "This initiative was well thought out; it focuses on fixing our local roads before building any new ones, it has clear accountability measures, and it allows us to leverage our transportation dollars for additional state dollars.”

The remaining 50 percent of funds generated from this half cent tax increase will go towards regional projects, which are described as being used for planning, project development, right-of-way and/or construction of major corridor, capital projects by the Expenditure Plan.

The next step In order for the tax measure to appear on the November ballot requires the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors approving the proposal during their meeting June 28.

It is up to each city within Stanislaus County to decide whether or not to adopt the expenditure plan for their respective city. The Turlock City Council voted to approve the tax measure by a four fifths majority vote at their meeting Tuesday.

The only remaining cities left to vote on the measure are Waterford, Oakdale and Patterson.