Inland Valley Daily Bulletin: How the 12-cent gas tax will help Upland repair its road

November 20, 2017 
By: Liset Marquez 

City officials say the new gas tax measure has injected some much-needed funds to make improvements on its roads.

But a drop in funding over the years has left the city with no choice but to defer on some of their maintenance.

Now, the city is poised to receive $1.6 million over the next two fiscal years to repair and maintain roads as a result of motorists paying 12 cents more per gallon starting this month.

Based on current projections by the state, Upland will receive more than $420,000 in the 2017-18 fiscal year, and then $1.2 million the following fiscal year.

The City Council amended its 2017-18 capital improvement project list to add items so that it could get those partially funded from the gas tax measure.

Officials had already planned to improve a portion of 9th Avenue. The city, however, added some additional projects for 2017 from the following year, such as improving Mulberry Avenue, from Foothill Boulevard to Pine Street.

“I’m sure residents will appreciate hearing that some more worn streets are moving up on the list,” said Councilman Gino Filippi at the Nov. 13 meeting.

Currently, Upland can only tap into its gas tax and Measure I funds for infrastructure improvements.

Revenue from gas taxes has been on the decline. The highest allocation came in 2013-14 when the city received $2.3 million from the gas tax fund, and since then it has declined, said Upland Public Works Director Rosemary Hoerning.

“With additional revenue that’s projected for fiscal year 2017–18, it will restore some of the funding we anticipated, up to $2.16 million, but we’re still short what we received a couple of years ago from the gas tax fund,” she said.

To ensure there’s transparency on how the funds are being collected or used, cities are required to develop a reporting plan, which is made available to the public to review, Hoerning said.

The program is administered by the California Transportation Commission, which requires that the cities adopt a published capital improvement program. The list would identify projects in Upland that would be funded by revenues from the state, she said.

In order to get that first designation, $420,000 of funding, from the state commission, Upland City Council needed to review the list of projects.

In order to continue to get the money the following year, Hoerning said Upland will have to report back to the state on how it spent the money.

Upland also had to demonstrate to the state that it has been investing its own funds to repair the roads. Between 2009 and 2012, the city spent $2.2 million on improvements and repairs; and under the state commission’s requirement, the city will have to keep up that level of funding, Hoerning said.

Although she is pleased to see the local impact the gas tax is having in Upland, Councilwoman Carol Timm said there still needs to be a discussion about a half-cent sales tax which could have bolstered the city’s coffers.

“We really need a half-cent sales tax because we need to spend money on our roads and our police,” she said. “It’s nice to see 9th Street and Third Avenue (on the list), some streets that are in terrible condition, but we need a lot more money for our roads and streets.”

Proposed project list for the 2017-18 year:

  • Third Avenue rehabilitation: .58 miles of water main replacement, asphalt concrete on 3rd Avenue from A Street to 11 Street.
  • Ninth Street rehabilitation: .38 miles of asphalt concrete pavement resurfacing from 3rd Avenue to east of Campus Avenue
  • Arrow Highway rehabilitation: 1.13 miles of asphalt concrete pavement resurfacing from Benson Avenue to San Antonio Avenue
  • Mulberry Avenue reconstruction: .17 miles of asphalt concrete pavement reconstruction from Foothill Boulevard to Pine Street.
  • 14th Street rehabilitation: .69 miles of asphalt concrete pavement resurfacing from Campus Avenue to Grove Avenue.