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Are road repairs coming to your street? $31B LA County budget plan could fund them

FILE: Senate Bill 1 raised the state gas tax and other driver fees to generate $5 billion a year for transportation construction, like road repairs, transit and walking and biking projects.
FILE: Senate Bill 1 raised the state gas tax and other driver fees to generate $5 billion a year for transportation construction, like road repairs, transit and walking and biking projects.
Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

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Los Angeles County unveiled a $30.8 billion budget plan Tuesday for the coming year that includes a big boost in spending for road repairs. 

The budget proposal calls for an added $67 million for road repairs in unincorporated parts of the county. A list of the projects includes improvements such as traffic signal upgrades in Lake Hughes and road reconstruction in Hacienda Heights.

Other portions of the county budget plan call for increased spending to tackle homelessness using funds from the voter-approved Measure H; funding for foster care; and spending on criminal justice programs. 

The rollout of the 2018-2019 spending proposal is the first step in a lengthy budget approval process. Public hearings and Board of Supervisors discussion will take place over several months, with adoption of the budget expected in late June.

Spending on homelessness may come under especially close scrutiny following an L.A. County auditor-controller report released last week. The review found the agency in charge of handling millions to address the homelessness problem is understaffed and lacks adequate financial management.

Funding for the planned street repairs comes by way of a new state law, known as Senate Bill 1, which raised the gas taxes last year and vehicle fees starting in January to generate $5 billion a year for transportation projects and programs.

The dollars in the county budget proposal are the first round of funding to fully include the new tax revenues — and it’s not just L.A. that’s getting the money. All 88 cities in L.A. County will receive an infusion of dollars from the gas taxes.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority estimates L.A. County will receive a total of about $1 billion a year for local road repairs, highway maintenance, biking and walking projects and transit from S.B. 1.

A measure to keep state lawmakers from diverting S.B. 1 funds away from transportation projects for other uses will be on the June ballot as Proposition 69.

There’s also a Republican-led effort to repeal the S.B. 1 gas tax and fee increases. If it succeeds, voters would see a repeal measure on the November ballot.