SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The controversial gas tax bill has critics trying to repeal legislation in November, but proponents argue the money is already being put to good use.
While flying rocks and busted roads can lead to more than pricey repairs, some drivers would rather suffer slowly at the pump.
“Our roads are horrible. I go from here to Southern California, roads are bumpy, and there are potholes. We need to fix our infrastructure,” said Betty Conley of Sacramento.
That’s exactly what the Senate Bill 1 gas tax promises to do.
“It’s a chance to get back to a better cycle of repairs,” said director of transportation services, Matt Carpenter. “We have not been funding our road maintenance at an adequate level, so what happens is he put off those repairs and they become more costly reconstructions later.”
He said the Sacramento region will get around $55 million to spend on roads and transportation the first year.
So just where are your gas tax dollars really going?
To name a few projects:
Construction will begin on 60 miles of carpool lanes from El Dorado County through Elk Grove.
There will be major light rail improvements to connect riders between Sacramento to Folsom in just 15 minutes, down from the 30 it currently takes.
There will also be new Amtrak stations through San Joaquin County among several other projects funded from SB1.
But larger projects may be stalled with a threat of the bill being repealed.
“Most local agencies are being cautious about not spending money too far out ahead,” Carpenter added.
Voters have also passed legislation to keep that gas tax money on the roads.
“With Proposition 69, this is a firewall that really does protect that the monies that have been raised for transportation will continue to be spent on transportation only,” he said.
While it can’t go to the general fund, money could go towards other controversial endeavors such as the high-speed rail program.
Gas Tax critics we talked to said the bill is a waste of taxpayers’ dollars all together.
“There’s no reason for our roads to be in this shape. We have plenty of money, it’s just were allocating the money for,” said Rodney Drake.
Voters will ultimately decide whether to keep the current legislation when they head to the polls in November.
“If the funding remains after November that there will be the opportunity to commit to the bigger capital projects that have been made possible through Senate Bill 1,” Carpenter added.