A delegation led by the San Joaquin Council of Governments (SJCOG) that includes SJCOG Board members, local elected officials and supporters are heading to Washington, D.C., this month to advocate for funding of eight projects vital to San Joaquin County.
SJCOG’s San Joaquin One Voice® advocacy program pushes for new or increased funding or legislation to support priority projects of broad community-wide benefit to San Joaquin County. The delegation will meet with federal lawmakers and federal agency officials in the next week to gain support for those regionally significant projects, programs and issues.
“This is a great opportunity for us to sit down face-to-face with the people who make the decisions on funding for infrastructure improvements, such as the State Route 99/120 Interchange in Manteca,” San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors and SJCOG Chair Robert Rickman said. “Those thoughtful conversations in One Voice® meetings mean our federal lawmakers and officials will remember us and our projects when it comes time to actually make those decisions.”
This advocacy trip comes on the heels of the program’s most successful year in 2022 when a total of $9 million in federal funding was set aside for three One Voice® projects — $5 million for SJCOG’s State Route 99/120 Interchange Project; $2.5 million for San Joaquin County’s Grant Line Road Corridor Improvement Project; and $1.5 for the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (SJRRC) and its partners in creating The Rail Academy of Central California (TRACC). The projects will enhance safety, ease congestion, improve air quality, foster goods movement, support economic development, and generally improve the quality of life for San Joaquin County residents.
“Last year’s historic success showed just how important, effective and powerful SJCOG’s One Voice® effort can be in claiming the federal funding necessary for projects, programs and issues that are important to the people of the San Joaquin region,” SJCOG Executive Director Diane Nguyen said. “This year’s delegation will take the momentum that comes from last year’s success and work on this trip to have the same sort of outcome so that we can continue the good work on behalf of county residents.”
The SJCOG Board of Directors at its March meeting approved the eight projects for advocacy. They include:
- SJCOG’s State Route 99/120 Connector Project Phase 1B.
- Manteca’s State Route 120/Airport Way Diverging Diamond Interchange Project.
- Ripon’s Altamont Corridor Express Station.
- Tracy’s Interstate 580/Patterson Pass Road/International Parkway Interchange Improvements.
- Stockton and the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission’s Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard Rail and Roadway Reconstruction.
- San Joaquin Regional Transit District’s purchase of five hybrid electric buses.
- Port of Stockton’s Rail Bridge Replacement Project.
- San Joaquin County’s Grant Line Road Corridor Improvement Project.
Among the potential funding sources for the projects is the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. The IIJA is a once-in-a-generation investment in the nation’s infrastructure, competitiveness and communities. Signed by President Joe Biden in November 2021, it is the largest ever investment in broadband, rail and transit, clean energy and water, and more across a broad range of programs and sectors. The law funds more than 350 distinct programs across more than a dozen federal departments and agencies.
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 and SJRRC to promote regionally significant projects, programs and issues to federal lawmakers and officials. This year’s One Voice® trip to promote 2023 projects will be May 6-11.