CA lawmakers raise gas tax, vehicle fees to pay for $52B infrastructure plan
- California lawmakers have approved additional vehicle fees and an increase in the state gas tax to pay for a $52 billion infrastructure plan, according to The Hill.
- The gas tax will increase by 12 cents per gallon, which should average out to approximately $10 more a month in fuels costs for California drivers. This is in addition to a new annual vehicle license fee, expected to cost most drivers between $25 and $50.
- The measure received overwhelming support from Democrats, but only one Republican voted for it, with the rest of GOP lawmakers rejecting what they characterized as another tax on California residents.
The state currently has a backlog of approximately $130 billion in infrastructure repairs, and the American Society of Civil Engineers said that about 50% of California roads are in poor condition. The ASCE, which grades the state of the nation's highways, said it would cost $4.6 trillion to make all necessary U.S. infrastructure repairs by 2025.
Negotiations over a gas-tax increase ended up shutting down highway construction projects in New Jersey for months last summer. After state lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on how to counterbalance a 23-cent increase to the state gas tax, which finances the Transportation Trust Fund, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie declared the TTF empty and issued a stop-work order for almost all state transportation projects.
Christie and state Democrats eventually came to an agreement, but not before prime construction time was eaten up, leaving crews to face the slower winter season with little cash.
At the federal level, Rep. Peter A. DeFazio, R-OR, introduced a bill last month that would increase the Highway Trust Fund gas tax by a penny a year. The HTF allocates transportation project funding to the states, and the 1-cent increase would add about $17 billion each year to the HTF.
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