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Caltrans: San Diego Infrastructure Projects Underway Thanks To Additional Gas Tax Funds

Caltrans Director Laurie Berman is joined by local and state politicians in B...

Credit: Matt Hoffman/KPBS

Above: Caltrans Director Laurie Berman is joined by local and state politicians in Balboa Park announcing new infrastructure projects thanks to SB 1 funding, May 18, 2018.

The California Transportation Commission last week awarded an additional $312 million in Senate Bill 1 funds to local infrastructure projects, the San Diego Association of Governments announced Friday.

Part of the award, $195 million, will go toward carpool lanes and other improvements meant to reduce congestion along the North Coast corridor of Interstate 5.

The California-Mexico Border System Project, created to improve border crossings, also was awarded $82 million to increase mobility at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry, California's busiest commercial land port.

RELATED: Mayor Faulconer Pushes $633M Infrastructure Investment

Additional funds will go toward assorted rail, road and marine terminal projects.

Caltrans, SANDAG members and other elected officials — including Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, Sen. Ben Hueso and Assemblyman Todd Gloria — held a news conference Friday highlighting local SB 1 funding.

SB 1 went into effect in November. It raised gas and diesel taxes by 12 cents and 20 cents per gallon, respectively. Vehicle registration fees also increased $25 to $175, depending on the value of the vehicle.

RELATED: California Gas Tax Rises 12 Cents To Pay For Road Repairs

The increase is expected to raise more than $5 billion for transportation costs annually.

"For so long politicians have kicked the can down the road because it’s difficult to talk about this issue," said California State Assemblyman Todd Gloria of the 78th District. "It’s difficult to ask for more money."

The future of the tax increase could be in voters hands this November. A San Diego based group said they have collected enough signatures to put a repeal measure to voters.

"What I think will be difficult to do is sell people on the notion that the status quo is acceptable," Gloria said. "Which is what they’re saying. That everything is hunky-dory and things are fine as they are. They’re not fine. We have too much potholes, too much traffic congestion — not enough forward progress.”

Caltrans said, the San Diego region has received over $800 million from SB 1 this year.

The California Transportation Commission last week awarded an additional $312 million in Senate Bill 1 funds to infrastructure projects in the San Diego region.

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