California Road Plan Calls for Boosting Gas Tax, Vehicle Fees

March 31, 2017

California Gov. Jerry Brown and fellow Democrats who control the state Legislature are proposing to raise $52.4 billion over 10 years by significantly boosting fuel taxes and vehicle fees.

The money would go toward fixing a massive backlog in road and bridge repairs. Republicans say the state already collects plenty of money but has diverted it to other uses.

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.

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