California's governor and legislative leaders on Wednesday proposed raising $52 billion to fix the state's roads through a big increase in the gasoline tax along with higher auto registration fees and a $100 charge on emission-free vehicles. The 10-year plan would raise gasoline excise taxes by 43 percent - 12 cents per gallon - a move that has been reportedly taken for the first time in more than two decades.
The governor and legislature barreled ahead with their tax and vehicle registration fee increase proposal for road fix with little compromise that would use more now collected revenues for the roads.
The proposal, which was announced Wednesday, would raise gas and diesel taxes, charge a $100 annual fee for electric and hybrid cars. The tax would pay for $52 billion worth of road repairs. It fixes our roads with existing transportation funds that we, as hardworking Californians, already pay to Sacramento.
The sliding vehicle fee is similar to what owners already pay annually to the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
In arguing for approval of a new transportation package in Concord Thursday, Gov.
According to Brown, the $5 billion-a-year program will cost most drivers less than $10 a month and will be funded, in part, by a gas tax.
However, others were happy with the proposal as they believed it would fix the state roads and highways. They will have to persuade almost every Democratic member to vote for the package, including newly elected Democrats from more conservative swing districts.
"California has a massive backlog of broken infrastructure that has been neglected far too long", Brown said. Brown's previous plans and others calling for tax increases have repeatedly stalled in the Legislature, with Republicans and moderate Democrats reluctant to back the higher taxes. "We strongly urge the Legislature to reject this historic tax hike in favor of our responsible plan that fixes our roads without raising taxes and fees".
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"Let's be clear - our roads suck", said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, who represents blue-collar suburbs south of Los Angeles at a news conference announcing the deal.
Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes said they were not in on the negotiations of the plan. It also mandates strict constitutional protections to guarantee the money is spent only on transportation projects.
If this plan passes it'll be the first time the gas tax has increased in our state in 23 years.
State legislative leaders could act on the proposal as soon as April 7.
Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield), who has presented his own bill to finance road improvement and construction, was among the Republicans voicing opposition to the governor's proposal. Moderate Democrats, many from inland districts where voters are generally poorer and face long commutes to work, may be concerned about raising gas prices. It is projected to raise $16.3 billion.
In addition to new revenues, this state transportation deal also comes with protections and oversight to ensure we're not handing Sacramento a blank check.
Fong says he has introduced legislation - AB 496 - which would pay for road fix, without raising taxes.