he city of Highland has been working and investing to improve its streets for four years, but for many residents 2018 and 2019 were the years those improvements began to show in their daily commutes.
Part of that was thanks to several slurry seal projects throughout the city, projects significantly funded by the SB 1 gas tax increase approved by voters in 2017 in order to mark funds for desperately needed repairs and development of neighborhood streets and freeways. The bill was drafted so the $54 billion raised over the next decade would be split evenly between state and local projects.
While many bucked under the instantaneous 12 cent increase in gas tax, 20 cents for diesel, when they saw the money was actually going into bettering the streets they drive every day it offered some solace.
As of October, that could change dramatically as Gov. Newsom signed an executive order appropriating those funds, more than $5 billion annually, away from roadway projects for which the voters specifically approved the tax.
For a brief time it was nice to see roadway funds actually going to roadway infrastructure, but again drivers’ funds are being pulled to other state interests, like in years past when the state attempted to increase vehicle registration fees to fund state parks projects.
California drivers pay a lot in fees and taxes, easily more than any other state, but it’s always a fight to ensure that drivers benefit from those taxes.
Finding funding for continued roadway rehabilitation may soon become a bit more difficult for Highland and other California cities, but past experience has proven that city staff if very capable of aggressively seeking and obtaining funding and “doing the best with what they have.”