SANTA MARIA. Calif. - Now that Californians are paying more for gas and diesel due to the controversial new gas tax imposed on November 1, where is all that new taxpayer money going on the Central Coast?
The SB 1 funds are earmarked exclusively for transportation repair and improvement across the state.
The 12 cents a gallon tax increase for gas and 20 cents a gallon for diesel is expected to raise more than $5 billion a year to repair and improve California's roads, highways and bridges.
That includes re-paving and widening projects underway and in the pipeline.
In northern San Luis Obispo County, Caltrans is seeking funding for the further widening of Highway 46 East through Shandon and the Antelope Grade.
Caltrans is also seeking SB 1 funding for improvements to the intersection of Hwy 46 East with Highway 41 including the possibility of building an overpass ramp.
The 46-41 intersection and stretches of Hwy 46 East have seen several deadly collisions this year, and over the years, despite previous and ongoing traffic safety improvements.
"There is the possibility of SB-1 funding coming to the 46 East projects", said Caltrans District 5 spokesperson Jim Shivers, "but in reality no specific project has been identified so far."
In Santa Barbara County, the re-paving of a stretch of Highway 101 through Buellton is underway and will be receiving SB 1 funds.
"Anyone who has driven that stretch of highway knows that highway is in need of repair", Shivers said, "fortunately because of SB 1 the project has been accelerated, construction is underway."
Dozens of other road, highway and bridge improvement projects on the Central Coast at the county and city levels are also in line for SB 1 funding.
To learn more about those and the SB 1 program, go to www.http://rebuildingca.ca.gov.