Sentinel staff report–
When it comes to the best way to fund local road repairs and transportation projects, the five candidates running for Citrus Heights City Council don’t all agree — and neither do voters.
The Sentinel recently sent out a questionnaire to each candidate, asking whether they support or oppose Proposition 6, the ballot effort seeking to repeal a recent gas tax and registration fee increase. The controversial tax and fee increase, known as Senate Bill 1 or SB 1, was approved by the state legislature last year to help fund public transit and road improvement projects across California, promising to raise about $52 billion over 10 years.
Last month, the City Council approved the first SB 1-funded residential repaving project in Citrus Height, with a total of $523,000 coming from the new gas tax. The project will pave portions of six streets, totaling 1.3 miles of the City’s approximately 465 miles of paved lanes. The City is slated to receive about $1.4 million annually in “direct allocation” funding from SB 1, along with additional funding in the form of SB 1-funded grants for specific projects.
So where do the candidates stand on Prop 6? All candidates were asked to answer the following question and were invited to reply with a written statement of 100 words or less. Their answers are included below:
“Proposition 6 seeks to repeal SB 1, which increased gas taxes and vehicle licensing fees to help cover transportation-related projects. How will you vote on Prop 6 and what option(s) for road maintenance in Citrus Heights will you advocate for if SB 1 funding goes away?”
Porsche Middleton: “I will vote no on the repealing of SB 1. This is an opportunity for Citrus Heights to catch up on years of unfunded maintenance needs that have plagued residents for years. Without this funding the city will be forced to continue repairs on our aging infrastructure in the same manner, repairing the worst areas and waiting until we receive our property taxes in a few years to begin repairs on what is left.”
Jeannie Bruins: “I support Proposition 6 because the gas tax increase should have gone to the voters according to existing law, not be imposed on us by the legislature. The hard part for me is knowing that our city is already benefiting from this tax increase because we have received revenues that are funding street improvements right now. Another hard part is knowing that billions of dollars are being wasted on things such as high speed rail rather than funding local transportation needs, as it was meant to. We need state legislators who will put that money back into the local community.”
Al Fox: “SB 1 gas tax income has benefited our city and allowed us to continue with road improvement efforts. However, I do not support SB 1 as implemented by the legislature and governor. The fuel tax increases have negatively impacted California low income families and seniors. California tax and spend mentality has overspent previous gas tax monies, moved funds to non-transportation items and refused to return the funds to transportation. I support the more moderate legislators who are seeking to reverse the negative impact of prior legislation and re-allocate existing road tax revenues to local jurisdictions.”
Treston Shull: “I am proud to have earned the endorsement of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association because they know I will stand up for taxpayers in Citrus Heights. We need to focus on local solutions to fix our roads.”
Steve Miller: “I do not like the tax and how it was enacted by the State. The governor promised us a vote on any new taxes. Well, now we get to vote. The City Council, of which I am a member, has not taken a position on Proposition 6. I have noted if the new gas tax (SB 1) is repealed, it will be a loss of approximately $1.4 million per year to the City that could be used for residential road maintenance… If repealed, I will advocate for additional road maintenance funds once we receive our property taxes in 2022.”
*To learn where all the candidates running for Citrus Heights City Council stand on nine local issues, see article: See where Citrus Heights City Council candidates stand on local issues.