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City has street fix wish list
Countywide voters will decide this November
An example of a pothole found at Park and Sixth streets. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/ Courier file photo

The Ceres City Council got its first glimpse Monday of a wish list of remedies for Ceres streets if voters approve a countywide half-cent sales tax measure this November.

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);

City Engineer Daryl Jordan gave a PowerPoint presentation on Ceres' plans to fix the roads. The city's 132 miles of streets have been graded at 64, or the at-risk category. He said that's just below a grade of 70 or above which is classified as "good to excellent." The list of streets to receive attention is a lengthy one.

"The good news is the majority of our pavements are in somewhat good condition but there are some that need to be addressed as far as rehabilitation," Jordan told the council Monday evening. He said about 29 percent of Ceres streets are at risk and 15 percent need seals or overlays.

Jordan noted that the tax would help Ceres stay on top of road maintenance to prevent more costly repairs down the road. Preventive repairs can range from $4 to $15 per square yard compared to $90 per square foot for total reconstruction.

"What we're trying to do is address a lot of these early stages, extend the lives of these pavements and save the city millions of dollars in maintenance costs," said Jordan.

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.

Ceres City Manager Toby Wells said a real battle is expected when the cities and county start outlining where funds for regional projects will be spent. Ceres will be advocating for funds for the Service/Mitchell/Highway 99 interchange. Competing for the regional projects portion will be the North Corridor and South Corridor projects.

"When you look at Mitchell and Hatch Road I think we take a huge impact for this county," said Councilman Ken Lane, "and I would hope that that would certainly be, when we go to the table, we should hold our feet down on."

Wells said the challenge is that other cities have a similar argument.

Vice Mayor Mike Kline said Turlock's mayor is pushing for the South Corridor project, a planned improved connection from Turlock to the west side and I-5. Kline, a member of StanCOG, said he is "diligently lobbying for Service/Mitchell interchange being included in the regional projects."

Councilman Bret Durossette said he is concerned with Turlock being shovel-ready on their project that Ceres "might be the one group that's missed."

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.