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Ceres projects may get funded

A portion of the half-cent sales tax measure for local roads before voters on this November ballot would be allocated to both the Mitchell/Service/Highway 99 interchange and the Faith Home Road expressway.

City Manager Toby Wells said recently that the city managers who form the Stanislaus Council of Governments (StanCOG) Managament and Finance Committee met recently regarding what regional projects will be funded if voters approve the measure.

"Consensus was reached rather quickly on the regional projects and as approved by Management/Finance, the city of Ceres fared very well on that situation - significant funding for both the Service Road interchange as well as the potential for the Faith Home expressway, which would be a new bridge over the river," said Wells. "We came out very well in that process."

The StanCOG Policy Board will meet this Friday to review the recommendation. That body must approve that funding formula before it comes to all nine city councils.

The county and each of the nine cities in Stanislaus County are developing lists of specific streets within their jurisdictions which will be repaired, sealed or receive overlays based on priority and road condition. Those lists will be presented to the voters before the election.

Work on local roads will consume half of the tax revenues, or in Ceres' case about $30.5 million over 25 years, or $1.2 million annually.

The Stanislaus Council of Governments (StanCOG) has outlined the following formula for the spending of the remainder of the tax monies:

• 28 percent to regional road construction projects such as corridor connections. The list will be defined by May;
• 10 percent on traffic management, such as traffic signalization to improving local intersections to reduce vehicle wait time;

• 7 percent for point-to-point services, better transit connections between unincorporated areas and services in Modesto, transit and some money for van connections to the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) train rail.

• 5 percent will be spent on pedestrian and bike path programs (or $250,000 annually for Ceres);

The 25-year countywide half-cent sales tax is expected to generate $480.2 million for local streets and roads, $48 million for bike and pedestrian paths, $96 million for traffic management, $269 million for regional projects and $67.2 million for transit services. Ceres share would be $122,210 annually for bike and pedestrian projects, and $244,420 annually for traffic management.

Hughson will receive $241,923 annually for local street repairs. Stanislaus County would get $480.1 million to spend on rural roads over the life of the tax.

Wells said the beauty of the tax is that revenues will be totally spent in the county and will help leverage for state and federal transportation funds.