New $52.4 billion gas tax plan wins approval from state Legislature

New law will raise gas tax per gallon by 12 cents, diesel fuel tax per gallon by 20 cents

The California Legislature Thursday approved a $52.4 billion, 10-year gas tax and new annual vehicle fee increase intended to fix the state's roads and make other transit improvements.

The legislation, dubbed the "Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017," passed the Assembly with a vote of 54 to 46 and the Senate with a vote of 25 to 11.

Gov. Jerry Brown, one of the bill's main champions, is expected to sign it into law soon.

"Fixing our roads is basic," Brown said in a statement a day before the vote. "If you don't do it now it gets more expensive next year and the year after."

The billions raised by the law will primarily come from a 12 cent per gallon hike in the gas tax, a 20 cent hike in the per gallon tax on diesel fuel and a new annual vehicle fee called the "Transportation Improvement Fee," or TIF, according to the bill's language.

The TIF charges include $25 annually for every vehicle with a value of up to $4,999, a $50 charge for every vehicle worth between $5,000 and $24,999, $100 for vehicles worth between $25,000 and $34,999, $150 for vehicles worth $35,000 and $59,999 and $175 for vehicles worth $60,000 and higher.

The bill also requires a $706 million repayment of transportation loans to the state's general fund over the next three years and it earmarks $26.6 billion for local projects and $25.8 billion for state projects.

The money is intended to fix potholes, repave roadways, reduce congestion and improve public transportation, among other things.

The bill is supported by organized labor groups, chambers of commerce, the state's associations of cities and counties as well as local and regional transportation agencies, including the Bay Area's Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Many business groups, including the Bay Area Council, also support the bill.

"This historic vote will help reverse decades of decline in California's transportation system," said Bay Area Council President Jim Wunderman.

The bill is not without its detractors, however.

Democratic Sen. Steve Glazer, whose East Bay District includes Walnut Creek, Concord, Antioch, Pleasanton and Livermore, voted against it.

"Sentiment in my district ran two-to-one opposing these new gas taxes and car registration fees," Glazer said in a statement. "This bill... failed to ensure that any new transportation funding given to local transportation agencies be used only for the purposes intended and not diverted to other uses."

It also included "last-minute amendments to this bill that the environmental community and air quality regulators say will unwisely limit our ability to control diesel pollution from trucks," Glazer said.

The amendments prevent the state from requiring truckers to retire or replace trucks before they're 13 years old and were opposed by some environmental groups.

— Bay City News Service

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24 people like this
Posted by ex-Hooli person
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 9, 2017 at 7:09 pm

I embrace an increase in the gas tax as good environmental public policy, but I'm under no illusion that the money will be used for transportation improvements. At best, it will backfill for funds diverted to public employee overtime abuse and spiked pensions. Whatever money is spent on physical "transportation improvements" will be used to narrow and eliminate lanes, bulb out intersections, and convert productive farmland into never-to-be-used high speed rail tracks between Chowchilla and Corcoran.

12 people like this
Posted by Stan
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 9, 2017 at 7:48 pm

Yeah. Make a deal to tax the little guys, wreck the environment and make the rich richer.

63 people like this
Posted by T Morales
a resident of another community
on Apr 9, 2017 at 9:21 pm

Those that embrace the tax hike can pay it. I did not approve of it and as a citizen find it appalling since the people were not asked. Lets put together a law through signatures to revert this travesty and send a clear message to our politicians that we want our taxes reduced and not increased. Is time for a citizens revolt. Read my lips, no new taxes.

6 people like this
Posted by Jes' Sayin'
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2017 at 10:52 pm

Hope this helps get all those wasteful, unnecessary SUVs and vans off the road. They don't meet Federal vehicle standards anyway because supposedly they're "service vehicles". Yeah, right.

19 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Willowgate
on Apr 9, 2017 at 10:53 pm

The existing gas tax/vehicle fee cover nowhere near the cost of road maintenance. Way overdue for an inflation adjustment

67 people like this
Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 10, 2017 at 3:53 pm

psr is a registered user.

Those who think the taxes will have any effect whatsoever on the roads getting repaired are the same useful fools who continue to vote for the people who passed this in the first place.

Remember the "stimulus" that Obama claimed would provide "shovel-ready" jobs and improve the infrastructure? All that happened is repairs on roads that didn't need them and the ones that DID need work were ignored. Money was funneled to those with the most to offer those in DC. Why would you think this money would be spent on anything other than filling the pockets of government pensioners and continuing to push the HSR moneypit that Brown will back until he's gone?

Just as with education, Californians pay exorbitant amounts of taxes to finance these programs and end up with the lousiest results in the nation. Maybe you should consider that before you support yet another of these ignorant plans backed by Brown and his pack of sycophants.

40 people like this
Posted by bob
a resident of Slater
on Apr 10, 2017 at 4:08 pm

I for one would like to know where all the gas tax money has been going, not to roads that's for certain. I suspect it has been going to environmentally correct areas like ferry boats, bike lanes and trains to nowhere and not to roads. Having the term accountability in the name is a tip off that it is just another scam.

15 people like this
Posted by Double taxation
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2017 at 8:36 pm

12 cents for regular and 20 cents for diesel. That means all of our retail costs will go up, since trucks deliver those items to the stores. Cost of food will go up, eggs, milk, etc.....

This will surely hurt the poor and those on fixed incomes the most.

Everything is going up except for salaries, unless you have a union city job.

3 people like this
Posted by Taxpayer
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 10, 2017 at 8:41 pm

This has pushed me over the edge. I'm heading out to buy myself an all EV - just not a Tesla to avoid the new gas tax.

5 people like this
Posted by mesmerized
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 10, 2017 at 9:28 pm

EV's get taxed on registration which is appropriate as they use roads too! Dig deep into the missing parts of this story. This is California policy at its best. It may be the largest back closet pork barrel in the dark deal to date. A few 500M pet projects awarded to some for votes at the expense of the people. Yes, we need better roads but I don't get how every neighboring state has better roads and California has the 6th largest economy in the world. Maybe we should farm maintenance to India and fire all legislators and hire some bean counters to properly manage a budget.

6 people like this
Posted by Herewegoagain
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2017 at 7:31 am

More of the same, and how quickly most forget... Lottery, its for the schools ya know. Tax increase after tax increase on small businesses to the point that they can barely afford to operate. This special "Fee" to help make this and that better.... its all the same from the same group of people that are voted back into office by the very people that get screwed the most...

Utah, here we come!

3 people like this
Posted by
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Oct 3, 2017 at 3:41 am

[Post removed due to promoting a website]

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