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Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

Economic Development History of State Route 99 in California

1 California-99: The Roadway

1.1 Project Length/Location

State Route 99 (CA-99) is a major north-south highway in California's Central Valley. Its northern terminus is at CA-36 near Red Bluff in the Sacramento Valley. The southern endpoint is at the Interstate 5 junction south of Bakersfield, near the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley. Since CA-99 passes through or near most of the region's major cities, it is known as the "Main Street" of the Central Valley.

The map shows CA-99 in the San Joaquin Valley, from the Sacramento-San Joaquin County line in the north to the southern terminus at I-5 in Kern County. CA-99 traverses 274 miles as it links seven of the eight counties in the San Joaquin Valley (from south to north): Kern, Tulare, Fresno, Madera, Merced, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin. This report focuses on the San Joaquin Valley stretch of CA-99, from the Sacramento-San Joaquin County line to the southern terminus at I-5 in Kern County. CA-99 traverses 274 miles as it links seven of the eight counties in the San Joaquin Valley (from south to north): Kern, Tulare, Fresno, Madera, Merced, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin. It passes near Kings County. Major cities on CA-99 include Bakersfield, Fresno, Modesto, and Stockton. The California Department of Transportation defines 131 of the 274 miles as "urban" and the remaining 143 miles as "rural."

The map shows the location of CA-99 through the San Joaquin Valley. According to the latest U.S. Office of Management and Budget designations, all eight counties are individual metropolitan statistical areas (MetSAs). From south to north, the eight MetSAs are: Bakersfield, Visalia-Porterville, Hanford-Corcoran, Fresno, Madera, Merced, Modesto, and Stockton. Although the designation of sparsely-populated farming areas as "metropolitan" may seem odd, the Census Bureau designations stem from the fact that each San Joaquin Valley county covers a large territory that includes at least one urbanized area that exceeds 50,000 population.[2]

1.2 Details of Construction

CA-99 began its history as a California state highway in 1909.[3] It was designated as Legislative Route Number 4, which linked Sacramento and Los Angeles via Fresno and Bakersfield.

Circa 1913-14, the route that would become CA-99 was first paved. In the 1920s, this road was designated "U.S. 99" and the "Golden State Highway." In the 1930s, the California Highway Commission widened some segments of U.S. 99 to three lanes. The middle lane, reserved for passing and turning, became the site of many head-on collisions. In the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, U.S. 99 was widened into a four-lane expressway, segment by segment, often on new alignments that bypassed towns along the route.

In May 1960, the last three-lane section of U.S. 99 in the San Joaquin Valley was replaced with a four-lane expressway north of Fresno.[4] In the 1960s, green and white CA-99 signs that resemble miners' spades replaced the black and white U.S. 99 shields. Since the 1960s, most segments have been upgraded to freeway status, replacing many at-grade crossings with interchanges and eliminating others.

In 1996, the Livingston Bypass project eliminated the last stoplight on CA-99 in the San Joaquin Valley. Bypassed segments of the CA-99 have been transferred to county and municipal governments; they have been designated as "Golden State Boulevard" in many communities.

Interstate 5, the parallel north south route on the western side of the valley, opened in stages in the 1960s and 70s.[5] Also known as the "Westside Freeway," I-5 opened from San Joaquin County to Los Banos in 1967, from Los Banos southward in 1972, and from Stockton to Sacramento in 1979. I-5 allows traffic to travel directly between southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area without use of CA-99.

CA-99 is currently a four- or six-lane freeway through most of the San Joaquin Valley; segments of four-lane expressway remain in Merced and Madera counties (these "freeway gaps" total 23 miles).[6] Its widest segment is a five-mile-long stretch of eight-lane freeway in Bakersfield. Caltrans intends to upgrade CA-99 to a minimum six-lane freeway during the next 25 years.[7]

Economic development officials in the San Joaquin Valley have advocated that CA-99 be included in the Interstate Highway System. They believe that the lack of an interstate highway hampers recruitment of large businesses. "Many companies in the business of locating sites for clients have as one of their screening criteria access to an interstate highway. People looking to relocate won't give us a second look if we don't have access," a Fresno County supervisor explained to a local newspaper.[8] Others disfavor the interstate concept because of the large expenditures that would be necessary to re-construct CA-99 to interstate highway design standards.

1.3 Reason for Project Development

CA-99 was developed as a state highway in the 1910s to connect the cities of the San Joaquin Valley with each other and to the rest of California. It generally parallels the Central Pacific (now Union Pacific) Railroad line that was built through the valley in the 1870s. Founded after the railroad's arrival, cities such as Modesto and Fresno became the Valley's population centers during the railway age. Consequently, CA-99 was routed through them. Until I-5 was completed in the 1970s, CA-99 and U.S. 101 were the only significant north-south highways in California. CA-99 is a crucial link in transporting the valley's agricultural bounty to market. As the valley's irrigation systems developed through the twentieth century, crop yields and values increased, resulting in more intensive use of CA-99. In addition, the San Joaquin Valley's population has experienced rapid growth for several decades, causing traffic on CA-99 to increase.[9]

1.4 Traffic Counts

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) measures and estimates Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT) on California highways. AADT is generally a two-way measure of traffic at specified locations on a particular highway.

Traffic has increased phenomenally on CA-99 since its completion as a four-lane divided highway through the San Joaquin Valley in 1960. Table 1 shows the Average Annual Daily Traffic on selected segments of CA-99 over a forty-year period, from 1962 to 2002. Traffic volume has tripled on most of the selected segments. While AADT has merely doubled through Merced, it has increased ten-fold south of the CA-120 junction in San Joaquin County.

AADT on CA-99 varies over its 273 miles in the San Joaquin Valley. Although Fresno is the largest city on CA-99, it does not have the highest traffic volume. The highest volume occurs in Bakersfield, the region's second largest city, where 137,000 vehicles per day travel on CA-99 between California Avenue and the CA-58 West junction. CA-99 is the main highway in the Bakersfield area, cutting through the middle of the city. Other segments of CA-99 with high traffic volumes are in the northern portion of the valley between Modesto and the CA-120 junction near Manteca. This is partially due to commuter traffic from residences in the valley to jobs in the San Francisco Bay Area.[10]

The busiest highway segment in Fresno is not on CA-99, but on CA-41, a north-south freeway that runs through the middle of Fresno. About 132,000 vehicles traverse CA-41 between Shields Avenue and Ashlan Avenue daily, 34,000 more vehicles than on the region's busiest portion of CA-99. Fresno has grown north and east of CA-99; comparatively little development has occurred on the westerly side of CA-99.

The segments of CA-99 with the lowest traffic volume are the section immediately north of the junction with I-5 at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley and the section immediately north of the CA-233 junction in Madera County.

Table 1: Average Daily Traffic on CA-99 in the San Joaquin Valley: 1962-2002

Location Segment Avg. Annual Daily Traffic
(000s vehicles)
Compounded Avg.
Annual Growth
from to 1962 1972 1982 1992 2002 1962-82 1982-2002
Kern Co. (S end of CA-99) I-5 CA-166 W 13.6 20.5 18.4 26.0 35.5 1.5% 3.3%
Bakersfield California Ave. CA-58 W 29.6 38.0 81.0 106.0 137.0 5.2% 2.7%
Pixley Ave. 76 Ave. 96 11.5 19.6 24.1 25.5 37.0 3.8% 2.2%
Fresno Jensen Ave. CA-41 32.4 35.5 57.0 84.0 98.0 2.9% 2.7%
Madera 2nd St. Cleveland Ave. 17.0 22.7 28.5 46.0 63.0 2.6% 4.0%
N. Madera Co. CA-233 Le Grand Ave. 11.4 18.7 24.8 26.0 35.5 4.0% 1.8%
Merced 16th St. Buhach Rd. 22.7 27.0 29.0 47.0 55.0 1.2% 3.3%
Modesto Carpenter Rd. Beckwith Rd. 27.8 27.5 32.5 74.0 116.0 0.8% 6.6%
Southern San Joaquin Co. Jack Tone Rd. CA-120 11.7 20.5 29.0 60.0 119.0 4.6% 7.3%
Stockton CA-26 W Charter Way/CA-4 11.7 39.0 37.0 58.0 104.0 5.9% 5.3%
San Joaquin-Sacto. Co. Line Jahant Rd. County Line 15.5 29.0 23.0 37.0 58.0 2.0% 4.7%

Source: Caltrans annual traffic count publications

AADT has grown decade-to-decade with a few exceptions. The count decreased from 1972 to 1982 at the southern end of CA-99 because I-5, an alternate freeway parallel to CA-99, opened a major segment in 1972. Traffic decreased through Stockton and at the San Joaquin-Sacramento county line from 1972 to 1982 because the Stockton-Sacramento segment of I-5 opened in 1979[11] .

The fastest traffic growth has occurred in the northern portion of the CA-99 corridor, in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties, an area that is now within the San Francisco Bay Area's "commutershed."

CA-99 has a high volume of truck traffic; in most segments through the San Joaquin Valley 20 to 30 percent of all vehicles are trucks.[12] Table 2 shows the fluctuations in average annual daily truck traffic over the length of the CA-99 corridor and displays counts on I-5 for comparison[13] .

Table 2: Truck Traffic on Selected Segments of CA-99 and I-5: 2002

Route Location Segment Truck AADT Total 5-Axle Truck Total Truck % of Total Vehicles 5-Axle Truck % of Total Vehicles
I-5 Kern Co. S of Jct. CA-99 18,200 13,832 28% 21%
I-5 Kern Co. N of Jct. CA-99 8,555 6,758 29% 23%
CA-99 Kern Co. N of Jct. I-5 8,875 6,656 25% 19%
CA-99 Bakersfield N of CA-58 W/CA-178 E 29,290 20,503 29% 20%
CA-99 Tipton S of Jct. 190 E 10,140 8,011 26% 21%
CA-99 Fresno N of Chestnut Ave. 19,550 13,099 23% 15%
CA-99 N. Madera Co. N of Jct. CA-233 W 8,875 6,390 25% 18%
CA-99 S. San Joaquin Co. N of Milgeo Ave. 21,400 14,124 20% 13%
CA-99 San Joaquin/Sacto. Co. Line County Line 8,468 4,899 15% 8%
I-5 S. San Joaquin Co. S. of Jct. I-580 7,645 6,170 28% 22%

Source: Caltrans, 2002 Annual Average Daily Truck Traffic on the California State Highway System.

Most trucks in the CA-99 corridor have five or more axles. CA-99 is among the twelve California highways that have segments where the AADT of ≥5-axle trucks exceeds 10,000.[14] More than 20,000 trucks with ≥5-axles pass through Bakersfield on CA-99 on the average day. The only highway segments in California with more trucks of this size are on I-5 in San Joaquin County between I-205 and Stockton.

2 The CA-99 Corridor: the San Joaquin Valley

2.1 Physical Features of San Joaquin Valley

The San Joaquin Valley is an alluvial basin that is about 250 miles long and averages 50 miles wide.[15] It is defined by the Diablo Range to the west, the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the east, and the Tehachapi Mountains to the south. The valley is widest around Visalia, where it stretches 75 miles across[16] .

What is commonly referred to as the "San Joaquin Valley" is geologically two adjacent basins.[17] The northern part of the valley is the San Joaquin River basin. The Tulare basin is the southern portion of the valley; before humans altered the landscape, rivers there flowed not into the ocean, but into Tulare Lake, which was the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River until it was drained in the early twentieth century.[18] Today the rivers are intercepted before they enter the former lakebed, but Tulare Lake does re-materialize after severe episodes of rainfall, most recently in 1997.

The San Joaquin Valley has some of the most productive cropland in the world. The 1997 United States Census of Agriculture found that that the eight counties of the San Joaquin Valley accounted for 5.9 percent of the nation's market value of agricultural products sold.[19] All eight counties ranked within the top twenty-five counties in the country. Nearly one-third (32.5%) of U.S. land is an orchard is concentrated in the San Joaquin Valley; valley counties fill the top seven slots.[20] The San Joaquin Valley is responsible for nearly 36 percent of the nation's value of fruits, nuts, and berries sold.[21] Fourteen percent of the national value of vegetables, sweet corn, and melons sold is grown in the San Joaquin Valley.[22]

The geology of the San Joaquin Valley contributes to its air pollution problem. Sunlight converts volatile organic compounds emitted from motor vehicles and other sources into ozone; this is especially a problem on hot summer days[23] . Dense "tule fog" occurs in the valley during the winter months, sometimes reducing visibility to zero. The fog poses a major safety hazard on the region's highways.

Although CA-99 is numbered as a "north-south" highway, the geology of the San Joaquin Valley causes it to have a northwest-southeast orientation for most of its length. It parallels the Union Pacific (formerly Central Pacific/Southern Pacific) railroad tracks, which were first constructed in the 1870s. The natural shape of the valley dictates this orientation, as the Diablo Range and Sierra Nevada run in a northwest-southeast direction[24] .

2.2 The San Joaquin Valley Highway Network

CA-99 is one of two highways that traverse the length of the San Joaquin Valley. It ties together the population centers on the eastern side of the valley as it passes through miles of fields and orchards. Interstate 5, constructed in the 1960s and 70s, generally hugs the base of the hills and mountains that define the sparsely populated western edge of the valley. I-5 was designed to speed people and goods between southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area. CA-99 handles most of the intra-regional traffic.

The highway system in the San Joaquin Valley is akin to a ladder. I-5 and CA-99 on a northwesterly-southeasterly orientation form the sides; east-west highways such as CA-4, CA-120, CA-132, CA-152, CA-198, CA-46, and CA-58 form the rungs. A few highways, including CA-33, CA-41, and CA-43 run in a true north-south direction.

Although CA-99 is not an interstate highway, it has many characteristics of one. CA-99 is a major interregional corridor that is vital to the United States economy. The San Joaquin Valley is one of the world's most fertile agricultural regions; large numbers of trucks utilize CA-99 to transport farm products to market. CA-99 is the main highway through Fresno, the nation's largest city that is not directly served by the Interstate Highway System.

2.3 Counties and Communities in the CA-99 Corridor

Kern County (seat: Bakersfield, 247,057 population in 2000): Oil extraction and cotton growing are major industries in Kern County. In the 1930s, thousands of Oklahomans and Arkansans re-settled here; the region's stature in the country music industry is part of their legacy. Bakersfield, the site of one of the San Joaquin Valley's three California State University campuses, is the largest city at the southern end of the valley.

Kern County has one of the largest concentrations of oil wells in the United States. Midway Sunset in Kern County is the largest U.S. oil field outside of Alaska; other large Kern oil fields are Kern River, South Belridge, and Elk Hills. Nearly 199 million barrels - one of out every eleven barrels of crude oil produced in the United States - were extracted in Kern County in 2002. If it were a state, Kern County would rank fourth in crude oil production, behind Texas, Louisiana, and Alaska, and ahead of Oklahoma.[25]

Kern County's gross value of agricultural production was nearly $2.6 billion in 2002, ranking in the top five counties in the United States.[26] Grapes are the top crop ($415 million), followed by citrus ($331 million), and carrots ($277 million). Cotton and cottonseed is a $167 million industry.

Since the mid-1990s and especially since 2000, Kern County has developed a concentration of distribution centers. Three of the nation's largest retailers have constructed immense warehouses (each exceeding 1 million square feet) in Kern County[27] . An intermodal yard is being developed at the ITTC that will process containers to and from the Port of Oakland.

Bakersfield, McFarland, and Delano are Kern County communities on CA-99.

Tulare County (seat: Visalia, 91,565): In recent years, the value of agricultural output from Tulare County has ranked second in the nation, behind Fresno County. Its gross value of agricultural production was $3.3 billion in 2003. Tulare is the top dairy county in the U.S.; milk is a $1 billion industry. Tulare County grew nearly a half-billion dollars of oranges in 2003. Grapes and stone fruits (peaches, nectarines, plums) are also major crops.

CA-99 passes through Earlimart, Pixley, Tipton, Tulare, and Goshen and west of Visalia, the county seat.

Kings County (seat: Hanford, 41,686): Kings County is the only San Joaquin Valley county that is not directly served by CA-99. Its northernmost territory is within one mile of CA-99 as the highway passes through northern Tulare County. The agricultural output of Kings County exceeded $1.0 billion in 2002. Milk is the most valuable product ($304 million), followed by cotton ($205 million).

Fresno County (seat: Fresno, 427,652): Fresno County lies in the geographic center of the state, approximately halfway between the San Francisco Bay Area and the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

With 428,000 residents in 2000, Fresno is the most populous U.S. city that is not on the Interstate Highway System. It is the site of a California State University campus.

Fresno County has the highest gross value of agricultural products in the country. Its fields, forests, farms, and ranches yielded more than $4 billion in 2003.[28] Grapes (many converted into raisins) are the top crop ($401 million), followed by tomatoes ($384 million), cotton ($342 million), cattle/calves ($264 million), and poultry ($247 million).

The 1997 agriculture census found that Fresno County was the top cotton-producing county in the U.S. Kern, Kings, Merced, and Madera counties ranked second, third, 16th, and 45th. Together, these five counties produced 12.7 percent of the nation's cotton - one out of every eight bales; Fresno County alone grew 5.0 percent of cotton produced in the U.S. that year.

Fresno County is a significant producer of crude oil. In 2002, 7.2 million barrels were extracted there, more than in most states, but a much smaller quantity than in Kern County.

Communities on CA-99 include Kingsburg, Selma, Fowler, and Fresno. The major the major east-west transportation corridor through Fresno County is CA-180, which connects Mendota, Fresno, and Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks. CA-41, a north-south highway that bisects Fresno, has a higher traffic volume than CA-99 through Fresno.

Madera County (seat: Madera, 43,207): Madera County is the least populous county on the San Joaquin Valley stretch of CA-99. Although the value of Madera County's agricultural output is the smallest of the eight counties in the San Joaquin Valley ($780 million in 2002), it ranked 25th among counties nationwide in 1997. The top crops are grapes ($155 million), almonds ($115 million), milk ($109 million), and pistachios ($94 million).

The towns of Madera, Fairmead, and Chowchilla are along CA-99. South of Madera a pine tree and a palm tree are planted side-by-side in the CA-99 median, symbolizing a boundary between northern and southern California. Another Madera County landmark on CA-99 is a roadside hamburger stand in the shape of a giant orange, located near Fairmead. CA-152 is a major east-west highway that connects Chowchilla with I-5 near Los Banos in Merced County.

Merced County (seat: Merced, 63,893): Milk is a major industry in Merced County ($516 million). So is dairy processing; the largest single-site integrated cheese and whey production plant in the world is located in Hilmar, a few miles west of CA-99. Merced County ranchers grow a quarter-billion dollars of chickens and turkeys each year. The county's orchards yield $177 million in almonds. Sweet potatoes are a local specialty crop ($67 million). The University of California will open its Merced campus in 2005.

Merced, Atwater, Livingston, and Delhi are located on CA-99.

Stanislaus County (seat: Modesto, 188,856): The agricultural output of Stanislaus County was $1.37 billion in 2002. As in the neighboring counties of Merced and San Joaquin, milk is the top product ($390 million). Almonds are a major crop ($216 million); the world's largest almond receiving facility is in Salida. Stanislaus County ranches raised $139 million worth of chickens in 2002. Stanislaus County is the nation's top peach-producing county; it grew 13.0 percent of the nation's peaches in 1997. Modesto is the headquarters of the largest winemaker in the United States.

Communities on CA-99 include Turlock (site of California State University-Stanislaus campus), Keyes, Ceres, Modesto, and Salida. Many Stanislaus County residents commute to the San Francisco Bay Area via CA-132 and I-580.

San Joaquin County (seat: Stockton, 243,771): The main city near the northern end of the San Joaquin Valley stretch of CA-99 is Stockton. CA-99 runs along the eastern side of the city. The San Joaquin Valley's only seaport is situated in western Stockton. It specializes in dry bulk and break-bulk cargoes. I-5 opened between Stockton and Sacramento in 1979, contributing to significant residential development on Stockton's north side. A warehousing district has developed on the southern side of the city since the 1980s.

San Joaquin County's market value of agricultural products ranked among the top ten counties in the country in the 1997 Census of Agriculture. With $1.3 billion in output, it ranked seventh among California counties in 2002. Milk is the number one product ($237 million), followed by grapes ($213 million) and tomatoes ($106 million).

Ripon, Manteca, Stockton, and Lodi are on CA-99 in San Joaquin County. The highway exits the San Joaquin Valley north of Lodi and continues through the Sacramento Valley to Red Bluff via Sacramento and Yuba City/Marysville.

Major east-west routes include CA-4 and CA-120. The latter was widened to four lanes between CA-99 and I-5 in 1995.

3. Socioeconomic Trends in the CA-99 Corridor

3.1 Population

Table 3 shows that the population of the CA-99 corridor in selected years from 1969 to 2002. The region's population doubled, increasing from 1.6 million in 1969 to 3.5 million in 2002. Nearly 10 percent of Californians now live in the San Joaquin Valley. In all time periods, corridor population grew faster than in total California and in total United States. Population growth exceeded the state and national rates in all counties in all time periods except Kings from 1969 to 1982. The least populous county, Madera, has grown the most rapidly. Much of the population growth in San Joaquin County since the late 1970s has occurred outside of the CA-99 corridor.

People of many ethnicities dwell in the San Joaquin Valley. Those of Mexican ancestry are the largest ethnic group; they form the majority population in many of the valley's rural communities. Fresno County is home to thousands of Armenian extraction. Many Portuguese moved to the San Joaquin Valley to grow vegetables or establish dairies. Basques originally settled in Kern County to work as shepherds. Tens of thousands of Hmong refugees re-located from Southeast Asia to the valley after the Viet Nam conflict.

Table 3: Population: 1969-2002

County* 1969 1982 1992 2002 Compounded Average Annual Growth Rate
1969-82 1982-92 1992-2002
Kern 325,549 433,698 589,897 692,474 2.2% 3.1% 1.6%
Tulare 185,701 259,759 331,956 381,039 2.6% 2.5% 1.4%
Kings 65,647 78,213 107,414 134,802 1.4% 3.2% 2.3%
Fresno 408,304 541,500 710,263 831,946 2.2% 2.8% 1.6%
Madera 41,079 69,240 99,536 128,824 4.1% 3.7% 2.6%
Merced 101,255 142,766 189,489 224,976 2.7% 2.9% 1.7%
Stanislaus 191,271 280,737 394,725 481,014 3.0% 3.5% 2.0%
San Joaquin 284,769 373,479 500,278 613,153 2.1% 3.0% 2.1%
Total Corridor 1,603,575 2,179,392 2,923,558 3,488,228 2.4% 3.0% 1.8%
California 19,711,000 24,820,007 30,974,659 35,001,986 1.8% 2.2% 1.2%
United States 201,298,000 231,664,432 256,514,224 287,973,924 1.1% 1.0% 1.2%
Non-Metro CA* 414,969 602,769 747,952 813,850 2.9% 2.2% 0.8%
Non-Metro U.S.* 38,926,788 44,575,209 45,729,110 49,182,854 1.0% 0.3% 0.7%

*All counties in the San Joaquin Valley were classified as "metropolitan" by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget in 2004.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

3.2 Employment

Like population, total employment in the CA-99 corridor has doubled, from 687,000 in 1969 to 1.56 million in 2002. As seen in Table 4, total full-time and part-time employment generally has grown more rapidly in the CA-99 corridor than in the state and nation. The only exception was in the 1980s, when employment expanded at a slower rate in the corridor than in California as a whole.

In the early 1990s, a recession caused a contraction of statewide employment, especially in southern California. The San Joaquin Valley recovered from the recession of the early 1990s more rapidly than the rest of California. Generally, Madera was the CA-99 corridor county with the highest employment growth rate; employment growth was slowest in Kings County from 1969 to 1990. Kings is the only corridor county that is not directly on CA-99.

Table 4: Full-Time and Part-Time Employment: 1969-2000

County* 1969 1980 1990 2000 Compounded Average Annual Growth
1969-80 1980-90 1990-2000
Kern 137,917 202,713 255,822 315,485 3.6% 2.4% 2.1%
Tulare 78,710 119,027 142,113 175,853 3.8% 1.8% 2.2%
Kings 29,143 35,013 40,344 50,611 1.7% 1.4% 2.3%
Fresno 174,993 275,065 345,726 411,608 4.2% 2.3% 1.8%
Madera 16,001 27,879 35,673 53,663 5.2% 2.5% 4.2%
Merced 43,281 64,009 77,254 84,576 3.6% 1.9% 0.9%
Stanislaus 82,134 123,351 173,179 209,914 3.8% 3.5% 1.9%
San Joaquin 125,194 165,440 215,763 259,492 2.6% 2.7% 1.9%
Total Corridor 687,373 1,012,497 1,285,874 1,561,202 3.6% 2.4% 2.0%
California 9,032,870 12,462,209 16,550,106 19,626,033 3.0% 2.9% 1.7%
United States 91,057,200 113,289,100 137,199,800 166,758,800 2.0% 1.9% 2.0%
Non-Metro CA* 172,138 251,273 311,690 391,401 3.5% 2.2% 2.3%
Non-Metro U.S.* 15,994,931 19,452,971 21,301,120 25,495,489 1.8% 0.9% 1.8%

*All counties in the San Joaquin Valley were classified as "metropolitan" by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget in 2004.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Many of the CA-99 counties have high average annual unemployment rates. Many agriculture and food processing workers are unable to find work in the off-season.

3.3 Personal Income

Table 5 shows real per capita personal income for the CA-99 corridor counties in selected years. Personal income is the income that is received by, or on behalf of, all the individuals who live in an area. Data are based upon the place of residence of the income recipients, as opposed to place of employment. Therefore, this statistic captures data for San Joaquin Valley residents who work outside of the region.

In all time intervals, the CA-99 corridor had a lower real per capita personal income than in California or the nation as a whole. The shortfall has widened in recent decades because income growth in the San Joaquin Valley has lagged the state and nation. San Joaquin County, the wealthiest county in the CA-99 corridor, had a higher per capita income than the nation in 1969, but had dropped far below the national level by 1981. By 2002, per capita income in San Joaquin County was only 78 percent of the U.S. level. Kings is the only San Joaquin Valley county that is not on CA-99; this may partially explain why its per capita income is the lowest in the region (60 percent of the U.S. level in 2002). Real per capita income declined in Kern and Kings counties from 1982 to 1992.

Table 5: Real Per Capita Personal Income: 1969-2002

County* 1969 1982 1992 2002 Compounded Average Annual Growth Rate
1969-82 1982-92 1992-2002
Kern $ 14,868 $ 19,979 $ 19,630 $ 21,885 2.3% -0.2% 1.1%
Tulare $ 13,368 $ 16,826 $ 18,255 $ 20,490 1.8% 0.8% 1.2%
Kings $ 13,043 $ 18,238 $ 16,446 $ 17,965 2.6% -1.0% 0.9%
Fresno $ 14,302 $ 18,846 $ 20,309 $ 22,713 2.1% 0.8% 1.1%
Madera $ 13,475 $ 16,491 $ 18,469 $ 18,967 1.6% 1.1% 0.3%
Merced $ 14,203 $ 16,405 $ 18,566 $ 19,939 1.1% 1.2% 0.7%
Stanislaus $ 14,571 $ 18,420 $ 20,361 $ 22,858 1.8% 1.0% 1.2%
San Joaquin $ 16,005 $ 19,281 $ 20,846 $ 23,319 1.4% 0.8% 1.1%
Total Corridor $ 14,564 $ 18,594 $ 19,720 $ 21,932 1.9% 0.6% 1.1%
California $ 17,933 $ 22,993 $ 26,207 $ 31,895 1.9% 1.3% 2.0%
United States $ 15,189 $ 19,939 $ 24,299 $ 29,881 2.1% 2.0% 2.1%
Non-Metro CA* $ 15,233 $ 17,451 $ 19,870 $ 24,524 1.1% 1.3% 2.1%
Non-Metro U.S.* $ 11,566 $ 15,650 $ 18,644 $ 22,587 2.4% 1.8% 1.9%

*All counties in the San Joaquin Valley were classified as "metropolitan" by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget in 2004.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis (adjusted with National Implicit Price Deflators for Personal Consumption Expenditures)

3.4 Industry Mix

Table 6 shows the non-farm and farm employment by industry in the CA-99 corridor (sum of the eight CA-99 counties) in selected years from 1969 to 2000. The Services sector created the greatest number of jobs in San Joaquin Valley from 1969 to 2000. Service jobs, including both health and business services, have historically been more common in urban rather than rural areas. This strong growth of service jobs in the CA-99 region is consistent with its increasing urbanization.[29]

Agricultural Services, Forestry, & Fishing industry sector jobs increased more than five-fold from 1969 to 2000. This sector includes employees who support the agricultural industry; employment on farms and ranches proper is considered "Agricultural Production," a separate industry sector. Although the precise number of Agricultural Services, Forestry, & Fishing jobs is unavailable for 2000, approximately 130,000 people in the CA-99 counties worked in this sector that year. They were concentrated in Crop Services (planting, cultivating, and protecting; harvesting by machine; cotton ginning etc.), Landscape and Horticultural Services (the predominant "agricultural" service in urbanized areas), and Farm Management Services (farm labor contractors; farm management services).

Although farm employment has decreased as a percentage of total employment, it remains a very important sector in the CA-99 corridor. Nearly one in twelve workers in the corridor was employed on a farm in 2000, down from one in seven in 1969.

Table 6: Non-Farm and Farm Employment by Industry in the CA-99 Corridor: 1969-2000

Industry Sector 1969 1980 1990 2000 Compounded Average Annual Growth Rate
1969-80 1980-90 1990-2000
Ag. Services/Forestry/Fishing 26,310 68,439 NA NA 9.1% NA NA
Mining 8,827 14,292 17,088 NA 4.5% 1.8% NA
Construction 25,126 48,120 NA 79,048 6.1% NA NA
Manufacturing 71,177 103,260 121,323 128,189 3.4% 1.6% 0.6%
Transportation/Public Utilities 33,734 44,470 51,780 67,040 2.5% 1.5% 2.6%
Wholesale Trade 27,905 45,470 51,956 54,840 4.5% 1.3% 0.5%
Retail Trade 104,574 152,492 201,645 240,644 3.5% 2.8% 1.8%
Finance/Insurance/Real Estate 38,346 64,841 78,343 NA 4.9% 1.9% NA
Services 110,887 181,509 276,489 376,227 4.6% 4.3% 3.1%
Government/Gov't Enterprises 138,831 174,424 219,330 249,673 2.1% 2.3% 1.3%
Total Nonfarm Employment 585,717 897,317 1,180,670 1,429,890 4.0% 2.8% 1.9%
Farm Employment 101,656 115,180 105,204 131,312 1.1% -0.9% 2.2%
Farm As % of Full Time Employment 14.8% 11.4% 8.2% 8.4% NA NA NA

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Table 7 compares the corridor, state, and national industry mix derived from total nonfarm employment in selected years. Industry mix is determined by the percentages of employees in various industry sectors relative to total employment. As discussed above in Section 3.2, employment in the CA-99 counties more than doubled between 1969 and 2002. While employment has grown in all of the region's industry sectors, it has expanded most rapidly in the Services and the Agriculture, Forestry, & Fishing sectors. Consequently, Services increased from 18.9 percent of total employment in 1969 to 26.3 percent in 2000. Agriculture, Forestry, & Fishing doubled its share of the region's total employment, from 4.5 percent to approximately nine percent. Mining and Government were among the sectors that contracted as a share of total employment.

Table 7: Industry Sectors As Percent of Total Nonfarm Employment: 1969-2000

Industry Sector 1969 1985 2000
Corridor Calif. U.S. Corridor Calif. U.S. Corridor Calif. U.S.
Ag. Services/Forestry/Fishing 4.5% 1.0% 0.6% NA 1.8% 1.0% NA 2.0% 1.3%
Mining 1.5% 0.4% 0.8% 2.0% 0.5% 1.1% NA 0.2% 0.5%
Construction 4.3% 4.2% 5.1% NA 4.7% 5.3% 5.5% 5.3% 5.8%
Manufacturing 12.2% 19.4% 23.6% 10.7% 15.2% 16.3% 9.0% 10.6% 11.7%
Transportation/Public Utilities 5.8% 5.5% 5.5% 4.6% 4.5% 4.9% 4.7% 4.6% 5.0%
Wholesale Trade 4.8% 4.7% 4.7% 4.5% 5.1% 5.1% 3.8% 4.7% 4.6%
Retail Trade 17.9% 15.4% 15.4% 17.1% 16.1% 16.7% 16.8% 15.5% 16.6%
Finance/Insurance/Real Estate 6.5% 8.0% 6.8% 7.0% 8.9% 7.8% NA 8.8% 8.1%
Services 18.9% 20.6% 19.2% 22.2% 28.0% 25.8% 26.3% 35.0% 32.4%
Government/Gov't Enterprises 23.7% 20.7% 18.2% 18.5% 15.3% 15.9% 17.5% 13.3% 14.0%
Total Nonfarm Employment 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

3.5 Business Establishments

The numbers of business establishments in each CA-99 corridor county, California, and the U.S. are presented in Table 8. The Census Bureau defines an "establishment" as "a single physical location at which business is conducted or services or industrial operations are performed." It is not necessarily identical with a company or enterprise, which may consist of one or more establishments. Before 1974, the Census Bureau used "reporting units" as the unit of measurement. The definition of "establishment" has changed since it was first adopted in 1974, most significantly in 1983[30] .

The number of establishments in the CA-99 counties dropped from 1992 to 1995. The Great Valley Center, a research institute that specializes in study of California's Central Valley, suggests that the statewide recession actually induced business formation in the early 1990s because many who had lost their jobs chose to start their own businesses. As the economy and the job market improved, some of these entrepreneurs suspended operation and went to work for others.[31]

Table 8: Business Establishments: 1959-2001

Counties Reporting Units* Establishments* Index (1959=100.0)
1959 1970 1980 1990 2001 1959 1970 1980 1990 2001
Kern 5,202 5,627 7,786 10,759 11,063 100.0 108.2 149.7 206.8 212.7
Tulare 2,764 3,125 4,405 5,816 5,937 100.0 113.1 159.4 210.4 214.8
Kings 928 945 1,190 1,398 1,550 100.0 101.8 128.2 150.6 167.0
Fresno 7,016 7,715 11,545 14,823 15,337 100.0 110.0 164.6 211.3 218.6
Madera 640 662 1,019 1,634 1,871 100.0 103.4 159.2 255.3 292.3
Merced 1,476 1,595 2,230 2,826 2,997 100.0 108.1 151.1 191.5 203.0
Stanislaus 3,020 3,477 5,325 7,732 8,298 100.0 115.1 176.3 256.0 274.8
San Joaquin 4,605 5,021 7,001 9,864 10,350 100.0 109.0 152.0 214.2 224.8
Total Corridor 27,610 30,137 42,481 56,842 59,404 100.0 109.2 153.9 205.9 215.2
California 294,710 345,263 512,902 745,686 806,733 100.0 117.2 174.0 253.0 273.7
United States 3,302,523 3,520,930 4,543,167 6,175,563 7,095,302 100.0 106.6 137.6 187.0 214.8

*Data are not comparable across all years because of definitional changes. In 1974, the Census Bureau changed from a "reporting unit" concept to establishment-based data. The definition of "active" establishments changed in 1983.

Source: Bureau of the Census, County Business Patterns.

3.6 Property Values

Median home values are a measure of property values in a particular region. Table 9 compares median values of owner-occupied no condominium housing units in the CA-99 counties, California, and the U.S. from 1980 to 2000. Home values in all CA-99 counties were far below the California median value in all years, but all counties except Kings exceeded the national median value in 1980 and 1990. Houses in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties appreciated rapidly in the 1980s because home prices in the neighboring San Francisco Bay Area increased demand. In the 1990s, homes appreciated more rapidly nationwide than in every corridor county, but the appreciation rate in most counties surpassed the statewide appreciate rate. Consequently, by 2000 only Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties had median home values that exceeded the nation.

Table 9: Median Value of Specified Owner-Occupied No condominium Housing Units: 1980-2000

Location 1980 1990 2000 Compounded Average Annual Growth Rate
1980-90 1990-2000
Kern $54,700 $82,800 $93,300 4.2% 1.2%
Kings $46,700 $70,700 $97,600 4.2% 3.3%
Tulare $48,900 $73,900 $97,800 4.2% 2.8%
Fresno $62,200 $83,600 $104,900 3.0% 2.3%
Madera $60,100 $86,500 $118,800 3.7% 3.2%
Merced $53,100 $90,800 $111,100 5.5% 2.0%
Stanislaus $60,100 $124,300 $125,300 7.5% 0.1%
San Joaquin $56,400 $121,700 $142,400 8.0% 1.6%
California $84,700 $195,500 $211,500 8.7% 0.8%
United States $47,300 $79,100 $119,600 5.3% 4.2%

Source: Bureau of the Census (current dollars)

4. CA-99: Economic Development Trends

Interviews with Caltrans administrators, county economic development managers, and a representative of the Great Valley Center research institute revealed trends in economic development related to CA-99. In general, local population growth, expansion of agriculture-related industry, and "spill-over" business from the relatively high-cost metropolitan areas in northern and southern California have driven recent economic development activities in the CA-99 corridor.

4.1 San Joaquin Valley Economic Development: the Macro View

4.1.1 California Central Valley Economic Development Corporation

The California Central Valley Economic Development Corporation (CCVEDC) [formerly the Central California Economic Development Corporation] is a collaboration of several county economic development corporations in the San Joaquin Valley. The CCVEDC has identified industry clusters for the valley: agriculture; value-added food processing; computer, data processing, call centers, and fulfillment centers; software and hardware development; electronic components and accessories; manufacturing; and plastic products and advanced materials.[32]

Although several of these industry clusters have yet to develop in the valley, the agriculture and food processing industries continue to grow. Dairies are relocating to Tulare and Kings counties from San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties in southern California and to Stanislaus and Merced counties from Marin and Sonoma counties north of San Francisco. Consequently, many milk processing and dairy product manufacturing plants have been built in recent years, especially in Tulare County.

Nevertheless, not all of the valley's agricultural sector is expanding. Thousands of acres of fruit orchards have been uprooted this decade because of increased dried and canned fruit imports into the United States and loss of export markets due to foreign competition. For example, Tri-Valley Growers, a cooperative that operated the world's largest cannery in Modesto, filed for bankruptcy in 2000.

4.1.2 Caltrans "Transportation for Economic Development" (T4ED) Program

Caltrans' Transportation for Economic Development (T4ED) program targets transportation improvement projects in economically-depressed areas. In June 2003, Caltrans issued a T4ED report that identified fifteen candidate projects in ten areas of California. Four of the ten areas were in the San Joaquin Valley (Bakersfield, Orange Cove and Parlier, Merced and Atwater, and San Joaquin County), along with seven of the fifteen projects.[33] Many of the projects include reconstruction of arterial roads that intersect with CA-99 and improvements to CA-99 interchanges.

4.2 Improving CA-99

Two major campaigns are now underway to improve CA-99 through the San Joaquin Valley. Caltrans has undertaken studies to upgrade CA-99. The Great Valley Center, a Modesto-based research institute, is spearheading an effort to improve the aesthetics of the CA-99 corridor.

Each of the Caltrans districts in the valley (District 6-Fresno and District 10-Stockton) recently completed a Transportation Concept Report for CA-99. These reports include current (2003) and projected (2010 and 2025) operating characteristics of CA-99, including proposed capacity-enhancing improvements, such as lane additions. Caltrans is currently preparing the Route 99 Corridor Master Plan that "will strengthen community identity, unify freeway improvements, and develop design concepts that tie communities through the San Joaquin Valley together and foster a valley-wide identity."[34]

The Great Valley Center is seeking to improve the aesthetics of the CA-99 corridor and to create a sense of place for motorists.[35] [36]

4.3 Distribution Centers in Southern San Joaquin Valley

Since the mid-1990s, a cluster of distribution centers has emerged in Kern and Tulare counties[37]

A Kern County Economic Development Corporation representative explained that the "Inland Empire" region of southern California, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, where many new warehouses were built in the 1980s and 1990s, has increasingly become a high cost region for land and labor relative to the San Joaquin Valley.[38] The valley offers the additional advantage of being closer to northern California, allowing a single warehouse facility to serve both the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas. In addition, east-west CA-58 provides access to Las Vegas via I-15 and to Arizona via I-40. Someday CA-58 may be upgraded and re-designated as I-40 from its present terminus near Barstow to I-5.

The Kern County EDC representative said that companies would prefer I-5 to CA-99 for distribution center sites if I-5 had readily-available industrial land and if it were not "desolate" and "uninhabited." Retailers generally want to construct the facilities as quickly as possible. Lack of a local population base makes for a less desirable labor market. Recent trucking industry regulatory changes[39] may encourage additional distribution centers to locate in the San Joaquin Valley[40] .

4.4 Population Growth

As housing costs in the San Francisco Bay Area have risen, an increasing number of people employed in that region have purchased homes in the northern part of the San Joaquin Valley, especially in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties. These new residents commute via the Livermore Pass/I-580 to the Bay Area on increasingly congested freeways. In recent years, dozens of new subdivisions have sprouted along CA-99. New shopping centers and "big box" retail stores have been erected to serve the expanded customer base. For example, a major retail center (Monte Vista Crossings) opened in 2000 at the CA-99/Monte Vista Avenue interchange in Turlock.

San Joaquin Valley residents are also commuting long distances within the region, mostly via CA-99. In 1970, the Census Journey-to-Work survey found only five county-to-county worker flows within the San Joaquin Valley that exceeded 1,000. This statistic increased to twelve in 1980, to fifteen in 1990, and to seventeen in 2000. In 2000, seven county-to-county worker flows exceeded 5,000.[41]

The California Department of Finance predicts that by 2040 the population of the San Joaquin Valley will increase to 7.3 million, more than double the 2000 population of 3.2 million.[42]

5. CA-99 Summary

California State Route 99 is among the most dynamic rural highways in the country. Population and traffic counts have dramatically increased during the past twenty years. Linking northern and southern California, the CA-99 corridor is attracting residents and industry from the high-cost metropolitan areas of San Francisco and Los Angeles. Population is increasing in all counties. A concentration of distribution centers is emerging in the southern end of the valley. Few locations in the world have a greater concentration of high-value agriculture. The vibrant farming industry causes CA-99 to be one of the busiest heavy-duty truck corridors in the country. Government officials and business leaders recognize the relationship between economic health and transportation conditions and are undertaking major initiatives to improve CA-99.

[1] Jack Faucett Associates, Inc. of Bethesda, Md. prepared this report under contract with the Federal Highway Administration (Martin Weiss, principal official for the Economic Development Highway Initiative). Jason Bezis and Kristin Noyes were the primary authors, with assistance from Justine Lam and Jessica Bonardi. The consultant team of JFA acknowledges the active participation and assistance of local development districts and other local and regional agencies for completion of this case study. Specific individuals from these entities are footnoted throughout this document.

[2] The U.S. Office of Management and Budget defines metropolitan statistical areas (MetSAs) based on Census Bureau data. Each MetSA must have at least one urbanized area of 50,000 or more inhabitants. The county (or counties) in which at least 50 percent of the population resides within urban areas of 10,000 or more population, or that contain at least 5,000 people residing within a single urban area of 10,000 or more population, is identified as a "central county." Additional "outlying counties" are included in the MetSA if they meet specified requirements of commuting to or from the central counties.

[3] For an overview of the history of CA-99, see Jill Livingston and Kathryn Golden Maloof, That Ribbon of Highway II: Highway 99 from the State Capital to the Mexican Border.

[4] California Highways and Public Works, July/August 1960, p. 7.

[5] I-5 resurrected a major transportation corridor through the San Joaquin Valley. In the Spanish and Mexican era, "El Camino Viejo," the main north-south roadway through the Central Valley, followed its general route. It fell into disuse in the late 1800s after railroads captured most traffic. Earle E. Williams, El Camino Viejo: A Brief History of California's Forgotten Second Highway of the Pioneers (1970).

[6] Route 99 Corridor Master Plan (1st Draft), p. 18.

[7] Office of System Planning, Caltrans District 6, State Route 99 Transportation Concept Report (November 2003); Office of System Planning, Caltrans District 10, State Route 99 Transportation Concept Report (November 2002).

[8] Donald E. Coleman and J.N. Sbranti, "99 is topic of interstate debate," Modesto Bee, June 18, 2003.

[9] Telephone interview with Ms. Pat Weston, Office Chief for the Office of Advanced System Planning, Caltrans, April 13, 2004.

[10] Decennial census "journey-to-work" data indicate that interregional commuting from the San Joaquin Valley to the San Francisco Bay Area expanded nearly ten-fold from 1980 to 2000. In 1980, 5,600 valley residents commuted to Bay Area jobs. By 2000, that figure had increased to 52,200. Metropolitan Transportation Commission, San Francisco Bay Area & Northern California County-to-County Worker Flows, Table 5. See

[11] In 2002, AADT over the 274-mile CA-99 corridor ranged from a low of 35,500 vehicles per day at the southern end of CA-99 to a high of 137,000 average daily vehicles in Bakersfield. Moving northward, the next low point was in Pixley where 37,000 vehicles utilized CA-99, increasing to 98,000 vehicles per day south of the CA-41 junction in Fresno. North of the CA-233 junction in Madera County, AADT plummeted to 35,500 vehicles, tying the low point at the CA-99/I-5 junction in Kern County. Traffic volume increased to 116,000 vehicles per day in Modesto and continued rising to 119,000 vehicles immediately south of the CA-120 junction. AADT declined to a low of 67,000 vehicles south of the North Manteca interchange and then rose again to 104,000 vehicles between CA-26 West and Charter Way/CA-4 in Stockton. Traffic counts dropped to 58,000 vehicles at the San Joaquin-Sacramento county line.

[12] More information on freight transportation in the CA-99 corridor is available from Richard Nordahl, Chief, Office of Goods Movement, and Caltrans.

[13] Where CA-99 splits off from I-5 in Kern County, it takes nearly half of the truck traffic on I-5 with it. (From a southbound perspective, CA-99 doubles truck traffic on I-5 just before it rises up the Grapevine grade.) The truck count increases on CA-99 from a daily average of 8,875 north of the I-5 junction to 29,000 in Bakersfield, and then declines to 10,000 in Tipton. Truck traffic rises again to nearly 20,000 in Fresno, and then drops to 9,000 in northern Madera County. It increases again to 21,000 in southern San Joaquin County, before declining to 8,500 at the northern boundary of the San Joaquin Valley.

[14] The twelve California highways with segments where the 2002 AADT of ≥5-axle trucks exceeded 10,000 were I-5, I-10, I-15, CA-60, CA-99, I-105, I-205, I-238, I-580, I-605, I-710, and I-880.

[15] For a comprehensive overview of San Joaquin Valley geography, see James J. Parsons, "A Geographer Looks at the San Joaquin Valley," 1987 Carl Sauer Memorial Lecture, University of California, Berkeley. This report assumes the San Joaquin Valley is conterminous with the eight counties even though portions of some counties lie outside of its geological boundaries. For example, hundreds of square miles of Kern County are outside of the San Joaquin Valley in the Mojave Desert. Since federal statistical agencies generally use counties as the basic geographic unit of analysis, data from these eight counties are the best readily available measure of demographic and economic trends in the San Joaquin Valley segment of CA-99. (visited September 9, 2004).

[16] The mouth of the San Joaquin River is in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region at the northern end of the San Joaquin Valley. The San Joaquin River flows through the center of the valley and rises into the Sierra Nevada foothills northeast of Fresno. The federal government constructed Friant Dam there in the 1940s; water from the resulting Millerton Lake is diverted into the Madera Canal and the Friant-Kern Canal to irrigate lands on the eastern side of the valley. This system is part of a vast network of federal and state dams and aqueducts that serve the valley's irrigation and flood control needs.

[17] Stephen Johnson et. al., The Great Central Valley: California's Heartland, p. 157.

[18] William Preston, Vanishing Landscapes: Land and Life in the Tulare Lake Basin, California.

[19] 1997 Census of Agriculture, "Ranking of States and Counties," Table 23 (Market Value of Agricultural Products Sold).

[20] Ibid., Table 79 (Land in Orchards).

[21] Ibid., Table 34 (Value of Fruits, Nuts, and Berries Sold).

[22] Ibid., Table 33 (Value of Vegetables, Sweet Corn, and Melons Sold).

[23] Additional smog blows in from the San Francisco Bay Area. The Sierra Nevada Mountains trap the ozone in the valley. In April 2004, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency re-classified the San Joaquin Valley as an "extreme" non-attainment area for ozone pollution, the highest classification. It previously had a "severe" air quality rating. If the re-classification had not occurred, federal highway funding to the valley would have been frozen in September 2004 due to non-attainment of the ozone standard. The only other U.S. region in the "extreme" category is the Los Angeles South Coast Air Basin. The San Joaquin Valley is also a non-attainment area for particulate matter.

[24] Most rural roads in the San Joaquin Valley are north south and east west, following property lines that are based on the Mount Diablo base and meridian survey system. Since CA-99 cuts across the land survey gridiron at an oblique angle, many highway-side parcels are irregularly shaped and many rural interchange overpasses are not perpendicular to CA-99. This is relevant to economic development because such interchanges must be re-built to provide adequate highway ingress and egress.

[25] Energy Information Administration, Petroleum Supply Annual 2002, Volume 1, Table 14 (Production of Crude Oil by PAD District and State, 2002). California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources, 2002 Annual Report of the State Oil & Gas Supervisor, p. 68 (Producing Wells and Production of Oil, Gas, and Water by County - 2002).

[26] The source of most county-level agricultural data in this report is California Agricultural Statistics Service, Summary of County Agricultural Commissioners' Reports, 2001-02.

[27] Sears opened a 1.3 million square feet warehouse in Delano near CA-99 in the mid-1990s; an expansion of 1.5 million square feet was announced in the early 2000s, but had not begun as of late 2004. Ikea entered a 1.7 million square feet facility in the Tejon Industrial Complex near the I-5/CA-99 junction in 2001. In 2003, Target began operation of a 1.7 million square feet distribution center between CA-99 and I-5 at the International Trade and Transportation Center (ITTC) in Shafter.

[28] Dennis Pollock, "Farmers achieve $4 billion milestone," Fresno Bee, April 28, 2004.

[29] Great Valley Center. State of the Great Central Valley Series. "Indicators Report: Economy and Quality of Life." 1999. p. 6

[30] Although reporting unit and establishment data are not directly comparable from year-to-year, they can be used to compare relative levels of economic activity in various communities because the definitional changes were uniformly implemented nationwide. The index section of Table 7 shows that the CA-99 corridor has gained reporting units/business establishments at a slower rate than California and at about the same rate as the U.S. since the highway was completed as a four-lane roadway in 1960 (1959 was selected as the base year because data are unavailable for 1960). Growth was more rapid in the corridor than the nation before 1990, but slower than the nation in 1990s. Kern and Kings counties have grown slower than the national rate since 1959. Madera and Stanislaus counties have added establishments at a faster rate than California as a whole.

[31] Great Valley Center. State of the Great Central Valley Series. "Indicators Report: Economy and Quality of Life." 1999. p. 13

[32] Telephone interview with Paul Saldana, president & CEO, Tulare County Economic Development Corporation, April 2004. See also

[33] Transportation for Economic Development (June 2003).

[34] (visited September 14, 2004).

[35] Telephone interview with Doug Jackson, Great Valley Center, Modesto, Calif., April 2004.

[36] When CA-99 was first paved before World War I, many communities constructed "welcome" arch signs to advertise their existence. Several survive today as landmarks in Bakersfield, Fresno, Modesto, Lodi, and other towns. (Perhaps the best known is Modesto's "Water - Wealth - Contentment - Health" arch.) Other communities have used water towers to advertise themselves; a tower in Kingsburg is painted like a tea pot to commemorate the community's Swedish heritage. The GVC intends to tap into this tradition as part of its beautification program.

[37] The table below, in effect, Table 10, is a selective list of distribution centers operated by major retailers in the southern San Joaquin Valley, arranged generally from south to north. The year opened is when the centers commenced operation; some facilities have since been expanded. Sears located a facility in Delano in the mid-1990s. Wal Mart built one a few miles east of CA-99 in Porterville. IKEA opened a distribution center at the Tejon Industrial Complex at the I-5/CA-99 junction in 2001. Target commenced operation of its facility at the International Trade and Transportation Center (ITTC) in Shafter in 2003.

Table 10: Selective List of Distribution Centers in Southern San Joaquin Valley

Square Feet in 2004
Tejon Industrial Complex IKEA 1,700,000 2001
Shafter Target 1,700,000 2003
Delano Sears* 1,300,000 Oct. 1992
Porterville Wal-Mart 1,100,000 1991
Visalia Jo-Ann Stores 630,000 2001
Dinuba Best Buy 1,028,000 1999
Fresno Sony Music 200,000 1996
Fresno Gap, Inc. 1,810,000 1999

*The Sears Logistics distribution center in Delano may expand to 2.5 million square feet in the mid-2000s.

Shafter may develop into one of the San Joaquin Valley's most important intermodal hubs after the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad intermodal facility is constructed. Containers to and from the Port of Oakland will be carried by BNSF trains and processed at the new Shafter Intermodal Center. Although the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are geographically closer than the Port of Oakland, port capacity constraints coupled with truck and rail congestion in the Los Angeles Basin favor Oakland as the point of export and import.

[38] Telephone interview with Jesse Mach, Kern County Economic Development Commission, April 2004. See also Jon DeCesare, "Labor is critical component in today's warehouse site selection decisions," Los Angeles Business Journal, November 17, 2003. The article says that increasing labor costs and clashes between residential and industrial land uses are negatively affecting the distribution center cluster in California's "Inland Empire" and other traditional warehouse nodes across the country. The article also refers to an analysis by West Coast Logistics of warehousing operations in the southern Central Valley.

[39] "Hours of Service of Drivers; Driver Rest and Sleep for Safe Operations; Final Rule," Federal Register, vol. 68, no. 81, April 28, 2003, pp. 22455-517.

[40] In January 2004, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration began to enforce the revised truck driver hours-of-service (HOS) regulations. These were the most sweeping changes to the HOS regulations since they were first implemented in 1939. A commercial truck driver cannot drive after being "on-duty" for 14 consecutive hours; meal breaks and waiting time (e.g. during loading/unloading) are no longer permitted to extend the workday. Ten consecutive hours of off-duty time are now required before the driver may drive again; the previous rule required only eight hours of off-duty time. The net effect of the revised HOS regulations on the distribution center industry is that the market radius of a particular facility is reduced. As a result, distribution centers in the Inland Empire are less able to serve northern California. More distribution centers may locate in the San Joaquin Valley to serve both parts of the state.

[41] The largest inter-county worker flow within the San Joaquin Valley in 1970 was Stanislaus to San Joaquin (2,932). The largest inter-county worker flows in 2000 were Stanislaus to San Joaquin (13,993), Madera to Fresno (9,765), and Merced to Stanislaus (8,827). U.S. Census Bureau, County-To-County Worker Flow Files.

[42] California State Department of Finance, Demographic Research Unit, County Population Projections with Age, Sex and Race/Ethnic Detail (December 1998).

Updated: 10/20/2015
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