California Legislature approves $5 billion annual increase in gas taxes, vehicle fees to pay for major road repairs

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers have approved a plan to raise gas and vehicle taxes to generate $5 billion a year for road repairs.

Lawmakers in the state Senate and Assembly approved the bill Thursday night, sending it to Gov. Jerry Brown. The Democratic governor negotiated the bill, promoted it around the state and is expected to sign it.

All Republicans in the Assembly and all but one in the Senate voted against the tax increase. They say the state already has enough money but Democrats who control the state government have spent it poorly.

The measure raises gas taxes by 12 cents per gallon. Vehicle fees will rise between $25 and $175 depending on the value of the vehicle.

State Sen. Mike McGuire issued the following statement:

Sacramento, CA – Today, the State Senate voted to approve the landmark comprehensive transportation funding package that will advance billions of dollars to improve California’s crumbling roads and transportation infrastructure, specifically, $52 billion over the next decade for California’s crumbling roads, highways and public transit.“Our communities are home to some of the worst roads in the state, we can’t keep kicking the can down the crumbling road. Tonight’s vote to approve this critical transportation funding package was a long overdue step,” said Senator Mike McGuire. “Advancing a tax increase is never easy, especially for California residents who have to foot the bill, but we have a transportation funding crisis. Our roads, highways and bridges are literally falling apart and tens of millions of California commuters, businesses and travelers have literally been paying the price for the lack of action.”

Senator McGuire has been a champion for passing a comprehensive fix to California’s crumbling transportation infrastructure.

The transportation funding package will provide cities and counties with significant annual revenue streams to make local infrastructure improvements like rebuilding and paving local roads and streets and bridge repair. The bill will bring in over $5 billion in new revenue annually. Strict accountability is included to ensure funds are only spent on transportation – essentially placing funds in a lock box, and by passing a Constitutional amendment to prohibit spending the funds on anything but transportation. Every billion dollars spent on transportation infrastructure, creates 14,000 full-time jobs.Here are the cumulative funding totals that will be generated annually by SB 1 for each North Bay/North Coast county (local city and county totals are included in the cumulative number in their county):

Marin: $9,732,000 annually

Sonoma: $20,739,000 annually

Mendocino: $5,568,000 annually

Lake: $3,763,000 annually

Humboldt: $7,732,000 annually

Del Norte: $1,475,000 annually

Trinity: $2,300,000 annually

State Sen. Jim Beall issued this statement:

SACRAMENTO — Senator Jim Beall, the chairman of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee and the author of SB 1, issues this statement regarding the SB 1 transportation package, which increases road maintenance funding by $5 billion annually:

“My thanks and appreciation go to Governor Brown, the Legislature’s leadership for their support of SB 1, and the lawmakers who voted for the bill. They took a courageous stand today that said they will not tolerate the status quo. They voted to get our crumbling roads repaired and made safer. They voted to make California better. With $5 billion in new revenue, the state can quickly begin work on shovel-ready road repairs.

“SB 1 updates an obsolete revenue system that fell behind the spiraling maintenance demands of more than 357,000 lane miles of state, city, and county roads. The state gas tax has not changed in 23 years and this bill will require it to be adjusted for inflation.

“The bill is based on a user-pays model, placing the responsibility on the motorists who use the roads to maintain the roads. The cost to the average driver will be about $10 a month.

“By investing in the repair of the infrastructure that millions of Californians rely on every day, the state is also generating and sustaining hundreds of thousands of job and our infrastructure and expanding pre-apprenticeship and job training, the state. It will take 300,000 smog-spewing diesel trucks off the roads, eliminating 90 tons of nitrogen oxides and three tons of toxic diesel soot per day. In addition, $700 million will be available for mass transit projects that will reduce the cars on the road, such as extending BART to San Jose.

“This bill contains accountability measures, such as an Inspector General to audit the performance of Caltrans, and mandates that the created savings be plowed back into road repairs. The approval of ACA 5 provides further protections by placing all new revenues created by SB 1 into a lock box, preventing funds from being diverted to non-transportation uses.

“This bill has been a work-in-progress for the past two years. I am proud of my colleagues for tackling an extremely difficult and expensive problem that has persisted for a generation.  We passed a road-funding solution that will not take a dime out of the general fund, preserving revenue for our schools, universities, and human services.’’

Assemblymember Evan Low issued this statement:

Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley), issued the statement below following passage of Senate Bill 1 (Beall), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. The legislation invests $52.4 billion over the next decade to fix local streets and highways and improve public transportation. Assemblymember Low is a co-author of SB 1.

“This is a historic moment for California as we make critical investments in our future,” said Assemblymember Evan Low. “The more we delay fixing our roads, the more costly the repairs will become. SB 1 is a smart plan that will fix our highways and roads, improve public transit, and boost our economy.”

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