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Brown Proposes User Fee And Gas Tax Increase

Sacramento, CA — Governor Jerry Brown has introduced a plan to repair California’s deteriorating transportation infrastructure.

The Governor is calling for the creation of a $65 per vehicle user fee, and increases to the gas and diesel taxes. It would raise an estimated $3.6-billion annually for transportation projects. $2-billion would come from the user fee, and $1-billion by increasing the gas tax by 6-cents a gallon and diesel tax by 11-cents a gallon. In addition, $500-million would be allocated from Cap and Trade revenue and $100-million from the Department of Transportation’s budget.

Since the plan would increase taxes, it would require 2/3 approval in the legislature. It’s fate is unclear, as Republicans are quickly starting to voice opposition. Senate Republican Budget Committee Vice Chair Jim Nielsen says, “The Governor’s solution to fixing our roads and highways cannot be to raise taxes. We are already paying enough.”

Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen had a similar tone, saying, ““Unfortunately, the Administration’s ideas call for more than doubling the vehicle registration fees and raising the price of fuel on all Californians. We disagree and think Californians have paid enough. Funds exist to fix our roads. It’s up to the majority party to recognize this.”

Olsen did, however, praise the Governor for indicating that he is also willing to streamline road repairs, utilize public-private partnerships to reduce costs, and eliminate redundancies at Caltrans.

The Governor’s proposal calls for $1.6-billion of the new revenue to go toward fixing state highways. Much of the remaining funding would be split among local governments throughout the state to repair streets and roads. The Governor briefed several leading lawmakers about the plan yesterday, and will soon likely release many more of the fine details.