Gov. Jerry Brown and leaders of the California Legislature are proposing a $52 billion plan to fix California's roads. 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.
As they have throughout years of negotiations, GOP legislators said that California drivers are paying high gasoline taxes and that the state brings in enough revenue to pay for needed infrastructure fixes and upgrades without increasing levies. If approved, the plan would charge emission-free vehicles a $100 annual fee. This means traffic congestion will only get worse - even with $5.2 billion extra every year in tax revenue for the next 10 years.
"The transportation proposal announced by the Capitol Democrats is a costly and burdensome plan that forces ordinary Californians to bail out Sacramento for years of neglecting our roads", the Republicans' statement said.
- $16.3 billion from an annual transportation improvement fee based on a vehicle's value, similar to what owners already pay annually to the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
Brown also announced Wednesday that he signed Assembly Bill 28, a transportation reform bill to help streamline the environmental review process for projects that he says will save costs and expedite project delivery. It's been 23 years since the state had a base excise tax on gas, leading to more than $100 billion backlog of infrastructure fix.
"If we don't do it, the roads will crumble", Brown said. The plan offers some accountability language and a constitutional amendment to protect the new taxes from being spent on other than transportation needs. The deal would also task the state inspector general to make sure that entities receiving transportation money uses it efficiently and on transportation projects.
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If this plan passes it'll be the first time the gas tax has increased in our state in 23 years. And I hope they continue working with the governor and the bill's authors to support smart and sustainable public investment in our future.
State lawmakers in both the Senate and the Assembly expect to vote on the measure by April 6.
"They didn't work with Republicans at all on this proposal".
Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, said the state has plenty of money that could be redirected to transportation funding without raising more money from residents who already pay some of the nation's highest state-level taxes.
The money would be split between state and local governments.