California voters have rejected a ballot measure to repeal the recently enacted gas tax hike slated for the repair of roads, bridges and highways across the state, the Associated Press projected Tuesday night.
Proposition 6 would have kept more money in residents’ wallets by stopping the state from bringing in some $5 billion in annual tax revenue that was approved just last year as part of Senate Bill 1, a massive transportation package supported by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The revenue will come from a 12-cent-per-gallon sales tax increase on gasoline, a 4 percent tax hike on diesel, the new annual “transportation improvement fee” ($25 to $175) added to drivers’ registration payments, as well as a $100 fee charged yearly to owners of zero-emission vehicles.
Many Republicans who supported Prop 6 said the funds were being misspent, a charge denied by Democratic leaders in the California Legislature.
GOP leaders in Congress and John Cox, who endorsed the measure as part of his campaign for California governor, spent $1.7 million to place the repeal on the ballot.
Democrats, labor unions and construction companies that stand to benefit from transportation projects raised millions of dollars to defeat the repeal.
A prominent Prop 6 backer said last week he would seek to recall California Attorney General Xavier Becerra if the measure failed, arguing that voters were deceived by a ballot title that didn’t adequately explain the proposition would reduce the gas tax.
“This ain’t over on Election Day if they steal the election,” conservative San Diego radio host Carl DeMaio told reporters. “We’ve only just begun.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story said the measure passed. This post has been updated.