Losing a ballot measure is hard. I know. StanCOG failed twice before finding success in Measure L. But there’s a reason that Turlock voters supported Measure L with 73.13 percent of the vote, as opposed to the unsuccessful Measure B. Measure L was a better deal for Turlock. Voters, including Mayor Gary Soiseth, understood that.
When we were crafting Measure L, we learned that local streets and roads were a priority for all residents countywide, including Turlock. But we also learned that voters wanted funding for regional projects to boost our economy, reduce congestion, increase transit services and improve safety. They wanted more!
Mayor Soiseth was one of the architects and proponents of Measure L – he fought hard for distribution calculations that favored local cities. He made sure that the largest percentage of funds would be controlled locally, which is why Measure L devotes 65 percent to local streets and roads – not 50 percent. It also supports badly needed increases to point-to-point services for Turlock’s seniors and veterans and provides increased transit services. Most importantly – it funds 16 key regional transportation projects, including increasing capacity along Hwy 99 between Keyes and Monte Vista and the new intersection at West Main, which benefits all county residents – including Turlock. These projects are crucial for movement of goods, services and people from Turlock’s industrial park.
Over the next 25 years, Turlock residents are projected to receive over $95 million in funding, or an average of $3.8 million a year. This will fund hundreds of local road improvement projects, multiple Safe Routes to Schools projects, improving safety for children and new traffic signals at key intersections in Turlock. And while all cities and the county are seeing increases in project delivery costs, the fact is we have never been in a better position to deliver projects and leverage additional funds for our communities.
In addition to Measure L funding, Soiseth was also successful in securing Senate Bill 1 funds for the City. Efforts in Sacramento, along with the ability to garner support of StanCOG and other member agencies have resulted in a $5.5 million allocation for improvements to the Fulkerth Road interchange. Turlock is the only city in Stanislaus County to receive an allocation of these funds. The Fulkerth Interchange will break ground next week – a huge win for the region and the City of Turlock.
I believe Measure L was the better choice for Turlock. It took a village, and I am very proud of all who worked tirelessly in support of its passage. After several city and countywide failed attempts, the voters got it right this time and we all benefit because they did.