- California Gov. Jerry Brown and other lawmakers have proposed a $52 billion initiative that would pay for road and bridge repairs and public transportation upgrades, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
- Proponents of the plan said they expect some pushback because of the overall price tag, as well as the $25-$175 increase in vehicle registration fees and the gas excise tax hikes that will fund it.
- State Republicans said they are opposed to raising fees to pay for the repairs and want the state to pay for work on high-priority projects using existing funds instead.
State officials have said the aging California highway and transportation systems is in dire need of repairs and estimated the backlog at $59 billion. While the gas excise tax hike is aimed at distributors, they would likely pass that on to consumers. The state would also implement a $100 annual fee for electric and hybrid vehicles. Despite concern over the fee hikes, Brown said the plan would cost most California drivers less than $10 a month.
Federal lawmakers are also considering an increase to the federal gas tax to pay for highway work on a national scale. Rep. Peter DeFazio, R-OR, introduced a bill earlier this month that would raise the tax by a penny a year, generating $17 billion annually for the Highway Trust Fund, which subsidizes road work throughout the U.S. The gas tax is currently 18.4 cents and hasn't seen an increase in almost 25 years. At this level, the HTF has had trouble keeping pace with critical repairs.
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, completion of all necessary U.S. infrastructure repairs and improvements by 2025 would cost taxpayers $4.6 trillion, an increase of $1 trillion since the ASCE's last report.