Grant Line Road project and railroad skills academy to receive combined $4 million
Two major regional transportation projects and an academy teaching skills for railroad jobs each received partial funding when President Joe Biden signed the $1.7 trillion federal spending bill on Dec. 29, making it the greatest success in the history of the San Joaquin Council of Governments’ (SJCOG) San Joaquin One Voice® advocacy program.
SJCOG’s State Route 99/120 Connector Project Phase 1B, the second of three phases to significantly overhaul the freeway-to-freeway interchange in Manteca, will receive an impressive $5 million in community project funding. It is the largest amount ever raised for a single project through SJCOG’s One Voice® efforts, which include annual trips to Washington, D.C., to promote regional projects, programs and issues to federal lawmakers and government officials.
“We spend enough time in our cars as it is in the Valley,” said U.S. Rep. Josh Harder, who backed funding for the project. “So, improving our roads to get folks from A to B faster should be a no-brainer. It will save families gas money, improve our air quality, and get people home in time for dinner. I’m thankful to the San Joaquin Council of Governments for their hand in getting funds for this major interchange in our county.”
San Joaquin County’s Grant Line Road Corridor Improvement Project, critical to fostering goods movement and supporting economic development, improving air quality, enhancing safety, and improving the quality of life for the disadvantaged community of Banta, will receive $2.5 million. The Rail Academy of Central California (TRACC), an educational collaborative among the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (SJRRC), Stockton Unified School District,
Sacramento City College, Herzog Transit Services Inc., Union Pacific Railroad, and Amtrak to teach the next generation of railroad workers, will receive $1.5 million.
Community project funding includes lawmaker requests for their home states and districts. U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney backed all three requests, while Rep. Harder and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein joined McNerney in supporting funding for the second phase of the State Route 99/120 Connector Project, one of the top regional priorities.
“The State Route 99/120 Connector project is one identified in SJCOG’s One Voice® advocacy program,” said Robert Rickman, SJCOG Board chair. “SJCOG and its partners spoke in a unified voice to advocate for funding for this project. On behalf of the SJCOG Board of Directors, we express our deepest gratitude and are heartened to see this infusion of federal funds on such a vital transportation corridor.”
The federal lawmakers recognized the far-reaching benefits of the project.
“It’s tremendous, historic news that U.S. Reps. Jerry McNerney and Josh Harder, and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein jointly sought and secured $5 million for the State Route 99/120 Connector Project,” SJCOG Executive Director Diane Nguyen said. “We spoke of the benefits of the project, which go far beyond the boundaries of San Joaquin County. They listened. They agreed. And they acted. Thank you.”
One Voice® works with SJCOG’s member jurisdictions — San Joaquin County and the cities of Stockton, Lodi, Manteca, Tracy, Ripon, Escalon, and Lathrop — and other agencies such as the Port of Stockton to promote regionally significant projects, programs and issues to federal lawmakers and officials. The trip by a delegation of SJCOG Board members, local government officials, and other supporters to promote 2023 projects will be May 6-11.
The One Voice® delegation to Washington, D.C., in May 2022 promoted a list 27 projects, including the three ultimately receiving funding. The three projects in San Joaquin County will receive funding from roughly $15.3 billion in community project funding in the federal budget. Here is more on the regionally significant projects receiving partial funding:
- The second of three phases of SJCOG’s State Route 99/120 Connector Project will receive $5 million. It is SJCOG’s No. 1 project promoted by One Voice® to federal lawmakers and government officials. The SR 99/120 Connector Project Phase 1B is vital to the region for moving people and goods in and out of San Joaquin County. It will expand and reconstruct the freeway-to-freeway interchange to enhance traffic safety, cut congestion, and improve air quality. Funding for the project was supported by McNerney, Harder and Feinstein.
- San Joaquin County’s Grant Line Road Corridor Improvement Project will receive $2.5 million. The Grant Line Road Corridor Improvement Project is considered critical to fostering goods movement and supporting economic development, improving air quality, congestion relief, enhancing safety, and improving the quality of life for the disadvantaged community of Banta. The project runs from the eastern Tracy city limits to Eleventh Street. McNerney supported community project funding for this project.
- The San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (SJRRC) and its partners are creating a workforce development program called The Rail Academy of Central California (TRACC). It will receive $1.5 million from the federal budget. TRACC will provide Stockton youth and young adults of the surrounding region with training and marketable skills for success in the rail industry. The wages earned by TRACC graduates will benefit regional communities and provide the rail commission, Union Pacific Railroad, Herzog Transit Services Inc., BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern, and Amtrak with the staff needed to safely transport passengers and freight by rail. McNerney supported community project funding for this project.
The funding became possible when President Biden signed H.R. 2617, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, also called the “omnibus bill” for wrapping together 12 federal appropriations bills.