Proposed $5 Billion Annual California Road Repair Budget Includes 12 Cent Per Gallon Gas Tax, New Vehicle Fees

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Acknowledging that the state's transportation system has been neglected, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders on Wednesday announced a proposal to raise gas taxes and vehicle fees to generate more than $5 billion annually for repairing California’s crumbling system of streets, highways and bridges, as well as to increase mass transit.

Caltrans District 3 tweeted this image of Highway 49 near Sierra City on Feb. 13, 2017.

It remains uncertain whether Brown will be able to muster the two-thirds vote in both houses of the Legislature needed to approve the new revenue sources, which include a 12-cent-per-gallon increase in the existing 18-cent base excise tax on gasoline.

The package also includes a new, annual vehicle fee that would average about $48 based on the value of the car, and would set a separate price-based excise tax on gasoline at 17.23 cents, rising with inflation in future years. Currently that tax is 11.8 cents. The package was announced at a news conference on the Capitol steps attended by Brown, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles).

California has not approved an increase in the base excise tax on gas for 23 years, according to Brian Kelly, secretary of the California State Transportation Agency. As a result, the state faces a $130-billion backlog of repairs to state highways and bridges and local streets.

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