Tax hikes fund $52 billion California road plan

31 March, 2017, 02:00 | Author: Elaine Woods

Governor Jerry Brown is in Concord to explain his proposed gas tax aimed at fixing roads in California. The plan calls for raising gasoline excise tax by 12 cents and the diesel excise tax by 20 cents. For the first time, owners of zero-emission vehicles would pay a $100 annual fee, since they use public roads, but don't pay gasoline taxes.

The sliding vehicle fee is similar to what owners already pay annually to the state Department of Motor Vehicles. With 87 percent of California's roads rated in fair or poor condition, and estimated statewide deferred maintenance backlog over the next 10 years of $132 billion, this transportation plan will provide the long overdue investments from the state.

California's transportation systems have languished unrepaired and unexpanded for decades, as budget constraints and politics have stymied plans by Democrats and Republicans alike.

The proposal also includes strict new accountability provisions to ensure funds can only be spent on transportation.

Many Republicans were not supportive of the California Democrats' transportation package announced Tuesday, including Senator Scott Wilk.

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.

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If approved by state lawmakers, the act will funnel billions of dollars in funding to transportation infrastructure improvements and safety. They will have to persuade almost every Democratic member to vote for the package, including newly elected Democrats from more conservative swing districts. He said the extra money will allow the state to stop borrowing to fix its decrepit roads and avoid passing the bill to the next generation of Californians.

The governor was flanked by a sea of orange-vest-clad construction workers and more formally dressed politicians, including state Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount (Los Angeles County). That includes a constitutional amendment that prohibits spending the funds on anything but transportation. Sacramento already has the money to fix our roads, but Gov.

The majority party hopes to rush the transportation plan through the Legislature by the end of next week. Brown will need almost all of them unless he can pick up support from Republicans.

State lawmakers in both the Senate and the Assembly expect to vote on the measure by April 6. A number of Democrats eked out wins in the November election and could be vulnerable in the next campaign if they vote to raise taxes.

Fong says he has introduced legislation - AB 496 - which would pay for road fix, without raising taxes.

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