Merced County officials say California gas tax necessary to fix crumbling roads

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The California legislature recently approved a gas tax hike that will raise the price of gas 12 cents a gallon and the cost of registering your car by as much as $175. (KFSN)

Drivers will now pay more at the pump to help fix California roads, and Merced County and city officials say they need it.

"We're patching roads instead of redoing roads," said Stephanie Dietz, Merced's assistant city manager.

The California legislature recently approved a gas tax hike that will raise the price of gas 12 cents a gallon and the cost of registering your car by as much as $175.

City officials say between money from the tax increase and Merced County's Measure V transportation sales tax, they can make significant improvements to roads.

"We're going to take care of our streets here locally, they're going to see us expand and do increased sidewalk projects, bike paths," Dietz said.

Several local legislators supported the gas tax hike after the governor promised millions of dollars to local pet projects. In a statement on Sen. Anthony Cannella's website, $400 million is expected to go toward the extension of the Altamont Corridor Express to Ceres and Merced and a parkway project between the UC Merced campus and Highway 99.

Realtor Andy Krotik says the Ace Train could attract more home buyers willing to commute to work.

"It'll help more commuters who work in the Bay Area, who'll want to live here because the cost of living is so much cheaper?" he said.

And with more people, it could also mean more business.

"Imagine now having the opportunity to bring more universities, a workforce, technology and knowledge based industries to Merced and exchanging that information with the Silicon Valley," Frank Quintero with Merced Economic Development said.

Assemblyman Adam Gray also released a statement regarding the gas tax hike and pet projects, calling it a "game changer" for Merced and Stanislaus.

The California legislature will hear Senate Bill 132 when they return from the spring break recess.
Related Topics:
politicspoliticsgas pricestaxesmerced countyMerced
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