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.
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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