by Jaimie Angus
In November we will be voting to stop the repeal of SB-1, the gas tax bill. Conservative Republicans are campaigning to repeal it. They are for bettering our infrastructure, but insist that there is enough money from existing taxes to maintain our roads. Currently our state lacks adequate funding to address a shortfall of deferred maintenance of our local streets of $7.8 billion per year and $5.7 billion per year on State highways.
They argue that government spends the existing taxes inefficiently so the Democrat controlled legislature raised the gas tax rather than making cuts in other programs.
Well, I wouldn’t disagree that our government is inefficient but we as voters vote many things in that make our government spend more. The primary reason we need an increase in our gas tax is very simple, it has not been raised since 1994. Inflation has caused the money to fall short of its original spending power (40% less) with less money being collected due to high mileage and electric vehicles. A gas tax is the best means of taxing the ultimate user of the roads. It is a pay as you go fee, which we all would agree is best.
Currently the state of California has the second highest share of roads in poor condition in the nation with 4 of the 5 cities with the worst road conditions in the nation. SB-1 sets performance goals by 2027 of (1) at least 98% of state highway pavement in good to fair condition; (2) at least 90% level of maintenance of potholes, spalls, and cracks; (3) 90% of culverts in good or fair condition; (4) 90% or better transportation management systems in good or fair condition; and (5) at least 500 bridges repaired.
SB-1 will give our industry a sustainable budget for a continual flow of work making it easier on our company to plan our future, have a sustainable workforce and provide employees with steady work. Please help our industry stop the repeal of the gas tax by voting in November. If you would like to do your own research, Southern California Partnerships for Jobs would be a good website on which to start.