CA Legislature passes Gov. Brown's $52B plan to fix roads, hike gas taxes

ByJory Rand and staff KABC logo
Friday, April 7, 2017
CA passes 12 cent gas tax hike
The California Legislature passed a $52 billion road repair plan which includes a 12 cent gas tax hike.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The California Legislature has approved Gov. Jerry Brown's $52 billion plan to fix the state's roads through an increase in gas taxes and other vehicle fees.

The measure squeezed by in a late-night vote Thursday by the Assembly, hitting the two-thirds threshold without a single vote to spare.

The governor's 10-year plan calls for raising gasoline excise taxes by 12 cents a gallon. It would also increase vehicle registration fees and impose a $100 charge on emission-free vehicles.

Brown has said the increase would equal less than $10 a month for most drivers.

The Democratic governor has said California has $59 billion in deferred maintenance on state highways and $78 billion on local streets and roads. Last month he suggested tax increases may be required to address the problem.

Lawmakers were in a rush to take action on SB1 by Thursday, before the state Legislature begins its weeklong spring break.

The political challenge for the governor and Democratic leaders was winning some Republican support, because the bill required a two-thirds majority in both houses of the Legislature.

The Senate had approved the measure earlier Thursday by a 27-11 margin, but the Assembly had a more difficult time, with the initial tally coming up three votes short. Additional pressure on three Democratic holdouts helped the measure squeeze by with just enough votes, 54-26.

The proposal was designed to fix potholes and repair bridges, but also provide funds for public transit and biking and walking trails.

Gas taxes will increase this year after the Legislature approved a $52 billion plan to fix California's roads.

Here's where the money would come from:

- $24.4 billion by raising the gasoline excise taxes 12 cents per gallon, or 43 percent above the current rate of 27.8 cents.

- $7.3 billion by raising the current 16-cent-a-gallon diesel excise tax by 20 cents - a 125 percent increase.

- $3.5 billion by increasing the state diesel sales tax from 9 percent to 13 percent.

- $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. The fees range from $25 for vehicles valued at less than $5,000 to $175 for vehicles topping $60,000. The administration says nearly nine-in-10 vehicles would be assessed a fee of $50 or less.

- $200 million from a new $100 annual fee, starting in 2020, on zero-emission vehicles.

- $706 million in repayments of transportation funds that had previously been loaned to the state's General Fund.

The money would be split between state and local governments. Here's where it would go:

- The local share includes $15 billion to fix potholes, $7.5 billion for public transportation and $1 billion for walking and biking trails.

- The state share includes $15 billion for highway repairs, $4 billion for bridge and culvert repairs, $2.5 billion to reduce traffic on major commuter routes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.