Supervisor: County can’t rely on ‘unpopular’ gas tax to fix roads

SAN DIEGO -- The Board of Supervisors submitted a list of 182 miles of road repair projects that could possibly be funded by the state gas tax Wednesday, though Chairwoman Kristin Gaspar warned that the county shouldn't count on the money in case the tax hike will be repealed by voters.

Gaspar said though SB 1 has immediate positives for San Diego County -- to the tune of an expected $538 million over a decade -- she's opposed to the law that increased the gas tax and some vehicle registration fees to raise $5.4 billion annually for road and public transit projects across the state.

``It comes at a cost to our residents," she said. ``This very unpopular bill was not put to a decision by the voters, so it's no wonder there's a major effort to repeal this tax. We must still work toward alternative and innovative solutions here at the county to address the funding gap for repairing and maintaining our roads."

Conservative San Diego radio host Carl DeMaio is leading a campaign to qualify a ballot measure that would repeal the increased taxes and fees. DeMaio said on Tuesday that the campaign has collected more than 830,000 signatures to get the measure before the state's voters in November.

Gaspar issued a ``challenge" to county staff to ``do more with less" and to prepare for the possible repeal of the gas tax hike.

But the board took no formal action to prepare for that possible repeal.

The supervisors -- minus Rob Roberts, who was absent -- voted to send to Sacramento a list of road projects that could be funded by the gas tax.

The county expects to receive $39.3 million next fiscal year from the SB 1 funds and hopes to use it to help pay for the repair of 182 miles of roads -- over 9 percent of the total road miles controlled by the county, according to a staff report.

In November, gas taxes in the state of California went up by 12 cents. For diesel, the price jumped 20 cents.