Gas tax forum held in Redding

A public forum on the gas tax is held at the Sheraton Hotel in Redding.

Redding citizens gathered at the Sheraton Hotel on Wednesday afternoon, for a forum on the gas tax, also known as Senate Bill One.

The forum lasted about two hours, including the Q-and-A session with the audience. Several people wanted to know how they could trust that funds from the gas tax would be going to transportation and infrastructure.

Experts in transportation, construction, local funding, and the regional impacts of SB-1 were the panelists at Wednesday's forum. They walked the crowd through the specifics of the bill, which organizations support it, why they think it's necessary, and what it would do for communities.

Even by the end of the Q-and-A session, not everyone was convinced of the bill's necessity. Bascomb Grecian, a Redding citizen, was among those not won over.

"We already pay too many taxes now, and it's not a solution to a problem to just spend more money," Grecian said.

According to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, SB-1 would create 68,000 jobs in several fields, including construction, healthcare, retail trade and other services. The bill is frequently criticized by voters who say the funds would not actually be going toward roads, bridges or the like.

Kiana Valentine, of the California State Association of Counties said the money is mandated by the California constitution, to go toward transportation projects.

Her explanations satisfied Richard Kern, a citizen of Shasta Lake.

"It was a very good, very positive, very informative meeting, especially as to where this gas tax money is going," Kern said.

According to Valentine, SB-1 would raise over $5-billion annually, for state transportation projects, at an average yearly cost of $120 for every California driver.

Voters will go to the polls to approve or reject SB-1 on November 6th.

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