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SB1 dollars trickle in with sharp 12-cent tax increase

SB1 dollars trickle in with sharp 12-cent tax increase

Cities submit road project budget amendment to make room for underwhelming SB1 gas tax dollars


SACRAMENTO – November 1 came and went and with it a slew of animosity toward the sharp $0.12/gallon gas tax increase. The increase brings the total California gas tax per gallon for gasoline to $0.39. If you include the $0.18/gallon federal tax, Californians pay $0.57 per gallon at the pump.

The increase was much starker for diesel. Senate Bill 1 (SB1) passed in April of this year not only increase the amount people pay at the pump for regular gasoline but increased the tax on diesel by $0.20/gallon. The increase more than doubles the amount diesel consumers were already paying at $0.16/gallon. In addition to the $0.24/gallon tax levied by the federal government, diesel consumers now pay $0.60/gallon in taxes at the pump.

In addition to the state and federal gas taxes, drivers can also tack on the local sales tax that varies within 7.75% and 8.75% from city to city.

Initially, SB1’s passage was met with ire from valley politicians and voters, and some ambivalence from city administrators. For politicians and voters, the cost of their daily lives would inevitably increase. However, city administrators were in favor of what they had to gain in terms of road improvement project funds. At least that was until they recognized how little they would receive.

Exeter passed their budget amendments to fund road improvement projects last month which included:

  • Glaze Avenue – Western Section From Belmont Rd. to Filbert Rd., approximately 2600-foot long, the project shall clean drive lanes and parking areas, crack fill all cracks 1/4 in and wider, slurry seal the entire section, and restripe all lines and symbols. Eastern Section: From Filbert Rd. to Kaweah Ave., approximately 2650 feet long, the project shall clean drive lanes and parking areas, chip and slurry seal, and re-stripe all lines and symbols.
  • Palm Street Reconstruct and Overlay – Complete reconstruction of the driving lanes (approximately 32 feet wide, 2,600 feet long). Overlay driving lanes, bike lanes, and parking lanes. Modify curbs and ramps where needed (approximately 30). Restripe all lines and symbols, including bike lanes.
  • Palm Street, Phase 2 – Slurry Seal approximately 305-foot long section of Palm Street. Restripe all lines and symbols.
  • Pine Street – Raise approximately 10 Valve Boxes. Raise approximately 7  Manholes. Patch and repair AC where needed. Slurry Seal the entire 2,200-foot long section of Pine Street.
  • Rocky Hill Drive – Reconstruct and/or repair sections as needed. Slurry seal the entire 2500-foot long section of Rocky Hill Drive.

However, the City recognized that it would only receive $64,000 in fiscal year 2017-2018 which would not be enough to finish even half of the Glaze Avenue project. But according to Exeter city attorney Julia Lew, cities are allowed to bank their allotments in order to save up for larger projects. And given the amount that cities are receiving in the first year is an option other cities are likely to take.

Lindsay’s budget amendment to fund road improvement projects includes:

  • Hermosa Street – Surface seal of 2 miles of Hermosa Street (arterial street). Restripe affected areas (bike lanes and travel lanes).
  • Linda Vista Loop – Asphalt recycling of .25 miles of Linda Vista Avenue (residential street). Renovate concrete curbs, gutters and sidewalks, minor storm drain upgrades.
  • Mirage Avenue – Asphalt recycling of .1 miles of Mirage Avenue (arterial street). Restripe effected areas, renovate concrete curbs, gutters and sidewalks.
  • Samoa Street – Surface seal of .12 miles of Samoa Street (commercial/residential street).
  • Tulare Road – Surface seal of 2 miles of Tulare Road (arterial street). Restripe effected areas (bike lanes and travel lanes).
  • Westmore Court – Surface seal of .13 miles of Westmore Court (residential street).

According to public services director Mike Camarena the resolution over SB1 will be on the Nov. 14 council agenda.

According to Woodlake city administrator Ramon Lara the City will gain $43,212 in SB1 dollars for fiscal year 2017-2018 and added three projects to this year’s fiscal year budget which includes:

  • Magnolia St Improvements Project – Construct about 550 feet of curb, gutter, and decorative sidewalk along the east side of  Magnolia St. between Antelope Ave. and Lakeside Ave.  The sidewalk will be 10 feet wide and includes brick tree wells, two drive approaches, ADA ramps, decroative street lights, storm drainage, paveout, and striping.
  • North Valencia Blvd Extension Improvement Project – Construct about 620 feet of curb, gutter, and 6-foot wide sidewalk along N. Valencia Blvd (SR 245).  The improvements also include drive approaches, 5-foot wide bike lanes, 30-foot radius curb return with ADA ramps, street lights, paveout, and striping.  The project will also construct about 150 feet of 4-foot wide sidewalk along W Sequoia Ave to connect to existing sidewalk.
  • South Valencia Blvd Improvements Project – Construct about 3,300 feet of curb, gutter, and 6-foot wide sidewalk on both sides of S. Valencia Blvd (SR 245). The improvements also include the installation of  ADA ramps, drive approaches, storm drainage, paving, and landscape repair

The City of Woodlake only stands to gain $43,212 in SB1 funds which also does not fund in whole one of their three projects approved last month.

Farmersville listed three projects as a part of the budget amendment in October to qualify for SB1 dollars that included:

  • Costner Street Rehab Project – Road maintenance will be performed using a chip and slurry seal, also known as a Cape Seal, on approximately 15,100 square feet of roadway. An overlay of 5,500 square feet will also be done as maintenance. Another section of the street will be realigned and re-graded in order to help with drainage due to current conditions causing flooding. The project also includes the reconstruction of two cross gutters, curb ramps (approx. 17) within the cape seal area to current ADA standards, and a bus pad (18 ft by 105 ft).
  • E. Walnut Ave/Southern Part of Road – Construct 1,000 LF of a 10’ sidewalk, curb and gutter, a 7-foot foot bike lane, an additional 12-foot lane, 5 street lights, 1 new ADA curb return /ramp, and a storm drain inlet.
  • W. Walnut Ave. Street Components – Street components to be added are a 5 foot wide bike lane, a 100 foot median for the pedestrian refuge area, a new approach, and 6 reconstructed ADA curb returns.

The City of Farmersville will receive $68,000 in SB1 dollars and will created the Road maintenance and Rehabilitation (RMRA) Fund.

According to a CalTrans press release issued last week, SB 1 provides $5.4 billion annually for the maintenance and rehabilitation of the state highway system and local roads, including $400 million specifically for bridges and culverts. SB 1 funds will enable Caltrans to fix more than 17,000 lane miles of pavement, 500 bridges and 55,000 culverts by 2027. Caltrans will also fix 7,700 traffic operating systems, like ramp meters, traffic cameras and electric highway message boards that help reduce highway congestion.

Also last week, Caltrans put their Transportation Asset Management Plan (TAMP) out for public comment. According to a Caltrans press release TAMP is a new data-driven policy that will inform future investment decisions for maintaining California’s highway infrastructure.

“The snapshot given in the TAMP shows what years of deferred maintenance and underfunding have done to California’s transportation infrastructure,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “Fortunately, the TAMP also illustrates that we can get our infrastructure system back on track thanks to the help of anticipated SB 1 funding.”

The draft plan can be read and comments submitted at www.dot.ca.gov/assetmgmt. Comments are due by Nov. 24, 2017. The final version of the TAMP will be submitted to FHWA in April 2018 for compliance with federal requirements.

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