When the state gas tax was enacted in 1923, it raised enough money to cover both Corrective Maintenance (patching potholes, clearing culverts, etc) and Pavement Preservation (resurfacing roads). However, due to factors like stagnant funding and more cars using less gallons, the gas tax now only covers a portion of Corrective Maintenance, and leaves no funding for Pavement Preservation in Sonoma County.
Last Fiscal Year, the State allocated about $10 Million for Sonoma County’s 1,380 miles of roads. In the late hours of Thursday April 6th, the California Legislature passed SB1, which will begin to address the legacy of underfunded infrastructure in California.
SB1 will more than double the amount of State funding Sonoma County receives for roads, raising our total state revenue to about $23 Million when the bill is fully phased. SB1 will be phased in over a period of a few years, with new funds likely starting late in 2017. We appreciate your support and patience as we work to improve Sonoma County Roads.
Issues and Challenges
Over time, with efficiency standards increasing, the amount of fuel consumed per mile driven is declining. This is good for emissions and the environment, but not good for road funding. As fuel consumption and gas tax revenue go down, the amount of wear and tear on roads remains constant.
Sonoma County faces further challenges. The amount allocated to a municipality for road funding is based on the number of road miles it maintains and the number of vehicles registered in that municipality. Since it has a high number of road miles and a relatively low number of registered vehicles, it receives less funding for maintenance per road mile than other Bay Area counties.