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Central Coast residents voice frustration over rising gas prices

Posted at 6:11 PM, Oct 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-12 23:05:56-04

Gas prices increased 20 cents in the last month, adding to the frustration of many drivers who say it’s already expensive with the 12 cents-per-gallon gas tax, or SB-1.

“I think it’s inappropriate, and it’s not necessary. We’re already getting taxed on other formats, we’re getting taxed on our registration, and there’s already a tax on the fuel itself,” said driver Alex Amado.

Others say the influx in the price of gas has made them go electric.

“I switched over because gas was getting expensive and just like everything else, it goes up and so it doesn’t affect me as much,” Suzen Brasile said.

Before the increase of the gas tax, California was facing a more than $100 billion budget shortfall for roadway maintenance – something felt even here in Santa Maria.

“Our roadway maintenance capital budget is $3.75 million – $1.75 million of that comes from the gas tax. Without that money, our budget for maintaining roads is half of that,” explained Rodger Olds, Principal Civil Engineer for the City of Santa Maria.

Now with the extra funds from the gas tax, road crews in Santa Maria have been busy as they’re expected to be fixing more than 120 sections of road by the end of this month and a list of projects to still accomplish using the gas tax money.

“The numbers we’ve received from the CTC or the California Transportation Commission is the city would receive $2.4 million dollars annually once SB-1 was fully implemented,” Olds said.

KSBY reached out to Caltrans to learn more about what would happen across Santa Barbara County if these funds were taken away. The agency says the projects that are currently underway would be finished, but those that are on the list to get done could get shelved or deleted from the system entirely.