A Letter from SJCOG Board Chair and Executive Director
We're moving the region and moving it together
Effective collaboration and coordination are key to moving the region seamlessly to a future when San Joaquin County residents and goods are transported safely, efficiently and more cleanly than ever before, elevating the quality of life for all who live, work and shop here.
The San Joaquin Council of Governments (SJCOG) and its member jurisdictions — San Joaquin County and the cities of Stockton, Lodi, Manteca, Tracy, Ripon, Escalon and Lathrop — work together to provide transportation improvements that reduce traffic congestion, enhance traffic safety, reduce vehicle miles traveled and vehicle emissions, and improve air quality. Measure K, the half-cent sales tax administered by SJCOG for transportation improvements in San Joaquin County, is a major local funding source for those projects.
A half cent doesn’t seem like much, but over time it equals millions of dollars for transportation projects and more than carries its weight. Nearly $58.3 million in Measure K funding in Fiscal Year 2021-22 went to Safe Routes to Schools improvements, local and regional bus and rail transit, roadway maintenance, and major interchange projects for the San Joaquin region. A half cent can go a long way when we are moving the region together.
It is SJCOG’s mission to “partner with local governments, the private sector, and community groups as the forum, facilitator, and administrator of regional programs, and to advocate for regional and inter-regional issues in the development of a comprehensive strategy to achieve resolutions.” That deeply rooted commitment to working collaboratively with our partners over time is vital since major projects can take years to go from concept to completion. That pledge to work as one has been embedded in all that SJCOG has done since it was founded in 1968.
This all means that every person who lives, works and travels in San Joaquin County directly benefits from Measure K. Measure K means safer crosswalks to traverse State Route 120 in Escalon, improvements to major State Route 99 interchanges in Lodi and Manteca, local transit in Lodi, Escalon and Ripon, regional transit by the San Joaquin Regional Transit District, street improvements throughout San Joaquin County, and expanded rail transit throughout the region and beyond. These vital projects are completed only through moving the region together.
Everything we can do with Measure K funding traces its roots to 1990 when county voters first approved Measure K for 20 years. They then saw the success, progress and benefit of Measure K, and nearly 78% of them voted in 2006 to renew the half-cent sales tax for another 30 years. We can leverage the money raised via Measure K to gain state and federal funding we might not be able to receive without it. We thank San Joaquin County voters for trusting in us and seeing the vision of what could be done with a half cent.
That trust and shared vision drives our commitment to work with member jurisdictions even beyond San Joaquin County to have the best opportunity to secure that state and federal funding for vital projects. SJCOG collaborates with other regional agencies to champion improvements that are critical to the region and beyond. Those efforts include:
- The San Joaquin Valley Policy Council is a forum for elected officials on the policy boards of regional planning agencies for eight Central Valley counties used to discuss regional issues affecting us all, such as transportation, housing and air quality. The council works collaboratively on regional solutions and a common vision for the San Joaquin Valley.
- The Megaregion Working Group is a 12-member coalition that consists of four SJCOG board members, four Sacramento Area Council of Governments board members, and four Metropolitan Transportation Commission commissioners. It represents 16 counties and 136 cities with a total population of nearly 11 million people stretching from the Bay Area to the Central Valley and Sierra Nevada foothills. Megaregion Working Group members work in concert on issues that affect the megaregion. They also promote the Megaregion Dozen collection of projects intended to improve the movement of people and goods throughout Northern California.
- San Joaquin One Voice® is the SJCOG-led advocacy program promoting projects, programs and issues of regional significance to federal legislators and agencies, typically through an annual trip to Washington, D.C., by a delegation of local officials and supporters. The purpose of One Voice® is to advocate for new or increased funding and new or amended legislation for issues and projects of regional significance to the San Joaquin region.
It is through these efforts and working closely with SJCOG member jurisdictions that we can elevate the quality of life for all San Joaquin County residents. It is through these efforts that we are moving the region.