Grass Valley Union: Nevada County expects almost $13 million in gas tax cash over 5 years

September 26, 2017

September 26, 2017
By: Alan Riquelmy

A 12-cent gas tax slated to start this November is expected to provide almost $13 million over the next five years for Nevada County roads, cash local officials currently lack to fix infrastructure.

An effort to repeal the Legislature-initiated tax, if it reaches the ballot and passes, would eliminate those anticipated funds and return the county to its present condition of performing no preventive road maintenance.

The Nevada County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution amending its capital improvement program, adding a list of road projects that would be funded by Senate Bill 1 — the Road Repair and Accountability Act.

“Transparency is a big part of this,” said Trisha Tillotson, director of the county’s Public Works Department.

Counties are required by SB 1 to submit their project lists to the state.

The gas tax, which also includes vehicle fee increases, would bring $980,000 to the county in fiscal year 2017-18. That number would jump to $2.7 million in fiscal year 2018-19 and slowly climb each following year, through fiscal year 2021-22, county records state.

“As the funding increases over time, we anticipate to do more maintenance,” Tillotson said.

The funds will help offset a January decision by county officials to perform no preventative road maintenance over the next five years. Decreased tax revenue led to that decision.

The SB 1 money will pay for improved road maintenance, freeing money initially slated for fixing potholes that could then go toward cutting roadside vegetation, Tillotson said.

Officials anticipate the money will pay for the maintenance and rehabilitation of some 50 county roads over five years.

The gas tax, approved earlier this year, is under fire. Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen, running for governor, wants a repeal question on the November 2018 ballot.

Allen this month secured a court win when a judge ruled that the title and summary for the proposed question written by the state attorney general’s office could mislead voters.

“This will hit hardworking California families the most,” Allen told The Union in an interview several weeks ago. “If you want to increase taxes, you have to go through the people of California first.”

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