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Lower State Gas Tax Forecast Affects Local Transportation Departments

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio
 

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

The Sacramento County Department of Transportation says the state gas tax forecast for the next fiscal year caused a $7 million  deficit in the county's road construction budget. That means some maintenance projects will be delayed.

Mike Penrose leads the Transportation Department. He says the county budgeted for $34 million last year. This year, the Board of Equalization forecast is $27 million. 

The county will use a gas tax surplus from last year and a departmental reserve to make up the deficit.

Penrose says he would have preferred to use the surplus for maintenance projects.

"If you look at the Sacramento County street system, you'll see we have a deficient roadway system in terms of its maintenance, right?" says Penrose. "The condition of the road is not in as good a shape as we'd like

A bill in the legislature would base the gas tax allocations on a three-year average. Penrose says that would make budgeting easier.

"If you have gas prices go up and down significantly which they did last year -you remember how they dropped so low for a period of time- it can significantly affect what the projected gas tax will be for next year which affects our budgets directly," says Penrose.

The county's total transportation budget is $41 million less than last year because several large projects like the Watt and U.S. 50 interchange have been completed.

Penrose says the county will spend about $75 million on projects starting in July. That includes improvements to Hazel Avenue, Fair Oaks Boulevard, and Fulton Avenue.