Gas Tax Debate Rages as Roads Continue to Fall Apart

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SACRAMENTO -- One pothole managed to cause damage to more than a dozen cars and led to hours of traffic congestion Thursday morning along Interstate 5 in downtown Sacramento.

Money from California's controversial gas tax is meant to go toward road repair, but voters will decide in November on whether or not the tax stays in place.

"I think what happened this morning on I-5 is another devastating example of these unsafe conditions of our roads across the state," League of California Executive Director Carolyn Coleman said.

Coleman says if Proposition 6 passes, Thursday's disastrous commute could be just a taste of what's to come.

"They’re not only going to have more dangerous roads but those more dangerous roads are going to lead to over $700 a year in damage to the vehicles that will have to be fixed or somehow repaired," she said.

But supporters of Proposition 6 disagree.

"The notion that we cannot have well-maintained roads with the fifth highest gas tax in America is silly," Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Tax Payers Association, said Thursday.

Coupal says the state should find the money to pay for road maintenance elsewhere, like taxes Californians are already paying.

"I'll look at high-speed rail, spending tens of billions of dollars for a project that will never be completed," Coupal said. "If we took that money we could pave all of I-5 from San Ysidro to the Oregon border."

However, Coleman says drivers are paying either way and the gas tax is worth the cost for safe roads and bridges.

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