Editorial: Pay at the pump, or pay the bump

California's new possible gas tax

It’s no secret that the Bay Area experiences heavy traffic on a regular basis. Even getting to our lovely community college can be a struggle at times.

It’s safe to say that we depend on our roads to get around, both locally and throughout the state of California. But there’s some bad news for us: our roads are in need of repair and desperately need fixing.

Our state government recently decided to focus their attention on our decaying roads after years of neglect. It seems like it’ll fall on the drivers of California to fix our state roads one pothole at a time.

There’s no easy way to say this, but we either pay up now or pay later. There’s no way around it, especially if we want to get around safely and in a timely manner.

It is estimated that it’ll cost about $60 billion to repair the existing damage to our roads. Unfortunately, this figure will only keep rising as our roads continue to deteriorate from daily wear and tear.

Gov. Brown proposed a plan to raise funds, with the majority of it coming from increased vehicle registration fees and gas taxes. It is estimated  that this plan would raise $3.6 billion that will go directly into fixing our ailing roads and bridges.

$3.6 billion is far from the $60 billion needed to make all the repairs and maintenance, but it’s all we have at the moment.

This plan may not be an end all solution, but it is a starting point. And a starting point is what we need, because this is not an issue we can delay any longer.

Travel and transportation will become more expensive and dangerous as our state’s infrastructure worsens. According to a 2014 article by Southern California Public Radio, poor road conditions cost drivers an extra $2,485. Properly paved roads, safety barricades, and street lights are the type of features that would prevent this.

At a local level, road conditions affect all the commuters that rely on the roads and highways to get to and from work. Blogger Alasdair Rae’s animated maps show just how many people commute throughout the Bay Area. A failure to address our ailing infrastructure could be catastrophic in the long run.

Despite resistance to paying a little extra in fees and taxes, the average driver would benefit and probably be grateful for having the roads they travel on be taken care of.

What we need is for our politicians to come to finalize their talks and agree on a plan that will get the ball rolling on fixing our roads.