Gas tax could pay to repave hundreds of county roads

The county of San Diego is preparing to ask the state for nearly $40 million to repave stretches of hundreds of roads it maintains.

The Board of Supervisors could vote Wednesday to seek revenue from the recent gas-tax hike to repair the roads. The roads are in all ends of the county, from Bonita to Alpine to Vista. You can see a list of the roads here (it starts on page 3).

"The proposed projects will improve the overall condition of the roads and will protect roads from deterioration and costly future repairs," a county staff report said. 

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the $5 billion gas tax hike into law last year. Californians already pay a series of gas taxes ranking among the highest in the nation. The tax hike raised the per-gallon tax by 12 cents last November, with future increases planned. The bill, SB1, also added a $100 fee to the annual registration for electric vehicles, starting with model year 2020.

"People can't afford it. I'm retired but if you're working and have to commute, I don't think people realize how much of a dent that's going to make," said Vicky Bamburger, a Bonita resident who is supporting an effort to repeal the tax that appears to be headed to this November's ballot.

But those who support the increase say fixing the roads will save California drivers from expensive car repairs due to problems like potholes, and save taxpayers from larger repairs later.

"A small improvement now - if you have a road that needs to be covered - that's going to be so much more cost effective, cost saving in the long run," said Catherine Hill, of the League of California Cities.

Local governments have until May 1 to submit their gas-tax revenue road repair requests to the state. Still, county agencies have already received millions of dollars in new revenue for road repairs, which includes major improvements to Interstate 5 in North County. 

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