CA Legislature Debates How to Fund Road Repair

LA-Freeway-Xchange-110-105There is consensus that California’s road and highways must be fixed. There is no consensus how the fix should be paid for. The Special Session legislative meeting Friday was called a first step in finding agreement to the funding problem. The Democrats see tax increases as part of the mix; Republicans want to prioritize the use of existing dollars for the roads. The tricky part of compromise is the push for any taxes in the context of so many other tax increases that could be presented to voters.

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Governor Jerry Brown has proposed a yearly funding package for the roads of $3.6 billion. The package includes a 6-cent gasoline tax increase, an 11-cent diesel tax increase, both tied to inflation, a $65 car fee and cap-and-trade funds. His proposal is little more than half what legislative Democrats and a coalition of business, labor and construction groups have called for.

Republican proposals also include cap-and-trade money. In this case, the money would be used directly for the roads. The governor’s plan would funnel cap-and-trade dollars to bus lanes and rail. The Republicans also would trim CalTrans staff, direct weight fees and other transportation monies exclusively for the roads and employee other methods without raising taxes.

Not only have the Republicans expressed opposition to tax increases but there is no certainty that all Democratic legislators would support a tax increase.

The informal group of Moderate Democrats who banned together to stop the provision in climate change bill SB 350 to cut petroleum use in half over 15 years objected that their constituents would pay a higher cost for commuting. Cap-and-trade that now covers gasoline refining and has raised the cost of gasoline about 10-cents a gallon. Additional taxes on gasoline would adversely affect many of their constituents, the moderate Democrats believe.

The governor wants the funding package to move through the legislature quickly for strategic reasons.

For one thing, the plunging cost of gasoline may undermine the argument that the gas tax increase will hurt low-income drivers. Even a tax increase on gas would leave the cost of a gallon of gasoline well below recent price levels.

If debate lingers until next year, it becomes an issue for candidates running for office in an election year. Remember, a car fee increase was a major reason for a governor’s recall just a decade ago.

If a package of gasoline taxes and car fees should end up on the ballot it would probably get a cold stare from the voters. Likely there will be a number of tax increases on the November ballot. An extension of Proposition 30, a cigarette tax, perhaps a property tax, maybe others could be on that ballot. A roads funding package will not look so good in the context of all these tax increase proposals.

The roads and highways are the veins and arteries that pump life into our economic system. They must be cared for to prevent the economic system from getting a form of man-made sclerosis. The governor and legislators during the Special Session are walking a tightrope to balance the need to improve the roads and highways with voters being turned-off by a slew of tax proposals.

Originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily


  1. RETIREDXLR8R says

    California is headed towards another miss managed project, I can see it now.
    California’s legislature and governor are very inept at managing anything towards success, their answer to everything is waste the money we bring in for roads and then tax the people more to fix the roads!
    God help us, but voters elect idiots!

  2. Retiredxlr8r is right. We have, unfortunately, elected idiots – particularly for the key positions (such as governor). Do you think the drought has caused strange things in their water?
    Many years ago, when governor Brown senior, proposed higher taxes on gasoline, the AAA filed suit stating that the taxes must be used for road repairs and highway construction. Unfortunately, that was thrown out by the courts, stating the state government had the right to use tax money for purposes they saw fit. I guess governor Brown junior, considered that his legacy, and is capitalizing on it.
    How many more ways will the politaxions find to further destroy our economy?
    Here’s a little statistic for you: as published in “Transparent California”
    our illustrious governor now has a total of 50 (yes, that’s fifty) “Assistants and Senior Assistants”. This is costing us $8.3 million per year in salary and benefits. You’d think with all that help, Brown would be able to do a better job. NOT!!!

  3. The only way that CA will ever be able to afford anything again is to tar and feather and run the demoncraps out of the state on a rail. That includes that Beeeeach Piglosi, that lying thieving Frankenstein. And those lying cheating, thieving demoncraps in the (and I say this with reservations) Legislature in Sacramento. They have stolen the lives of people, murdered citizens, extorted money from businesses and driven the best people out of the state. They are a huge criminal cabal of corruption, liars, murderers and thieves.

  4. Who needs roads when we got high speed rail coming?

  5. What happened to all of the road money collected so far? Oh that’s right. It went for bicycle lanes, bus stops and everything BUT roads. The citizens are either illegal or too immersed in their electronic devices to care or bother. So the next bunch of liberal a—–es will be Harris, Newsome, DeLeone, and a yet unamed liberal Latino. It is time to split this State down the middle.

  6. how about with the F’KING taxes that we pay, that are specifically meant for infrastructure….STUPID…

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