In the past, the primary funding source for maintaining the City's street system was the State Gas Tax. The shared revenues received from the State Highway Fund are budgeted by the City through the Street Fund. The Street Fund is used for operations and maintenance within the public right-of-way, including:
- Pavement maintenance
- Traffic signal operations and maintenance
- Traffic control for special events and emergency response
- Street signage
- Non-Pacific Gas and Electric (PGE) street light maintenance
- Roadside guardrail and vegetation
- Emergency weather response
- Municipal elevator maintenance and 1/3 operations contract
- Arterial amenities, such as hanging banners, benches, etc.
- Holiday displays
The gas tax per gallon has not been increased since 1993 and an increase does not appear likely in the foreseeable future. Fuel efficiency in motor vehicles has led to less fuel consumption for the same miles driven (which is a good thing). Even though fuel costs have increased, gas tax receipts have not because we are taxed per gallon of gas (not per dollar). The amount available from gas tax revenues for pavement overlay and reconstruction continues to decrease while the wear and tear on our roads does not. It is important to note that over the last 9 years, since 1999, our road miles have increased about from 99 miles to 125 miles (about 26%), and our population has increased from 23,415 to 30,060 (about 28%). The shrinking dollars and a larger city have resulted in a growing backlog of paving needs. The City can no longer rely solely on the State Highway Fund for enough funding to maintain city streets. The City must come up with its own revenue source to meet our local needs. The gas tax must be supplemented to complete pavement overlays, pavement treatments, and reconstruction work that are necessary to keep our street system functioning satisfactorily.
In 2007, the Transportation Funding Study Citizens Committee recommended the implementation of a Pavement Maintenance Utility Fee as the preferred alternative for a supplemental funding source to help manage the City's street infrastructure investment.