The historic century-old Georgia Street bridge. Photo credit: Eli Pousson/Wiki Commons
The historic century-old Georgia Street bridge. Photo credit: Eli Pousson/Wiki Commons

With a political debate underway on whether the state should raise taxes to pay for fixing deteriorating highways, a public forum is scheduled Tuesday afternoon in San Diego on road infrastructure and maintenance needs, and funding to pay for such projects.

The 4 p.m. event at the Caltrans district office in Old Town will be hosted by the California Transportation Commission, San Diego Association of Governments and San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

According to Gov. Jerry Brown, the state will need to spend $59 billion over the next 10 years to repair crumbling highway infrastructure, and he’s pushing the legislature to find funding solutions. Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, placed the price tag at $100 billion when she spoke at a news conference last week.

The funding options include raising gas taxes. The Sacramento Bee reports that Californians pay 61 cents a gallon in state and federal taxes on a gallon of gas, the fourth highest in the nation. However, Caltrans contends that gas tax revenue has dropped annually since 2007.

Representatives of the organizations participating in the forum are scheduled to discuss how the state’s roadways — ranked among the worst in the U.S. by the Federal Highway Administration — got into such bad shape, possible funding solutions, and the impact of poor street conditions on San Diego’s economy.

—City News Service

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