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Gov. Brown proposes gas tax hike to fund $52B plan to fix Califo - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Gov. Brown proposes gas tax hike to fund $52B plan to fix California's roads

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It could be the largest gas tax increase in California history.

Governor Jerry Brown is proposing a gas tax hike, the first in more than two decades. The $52 billion plan would improve roads and bridges in California but it will come out of your pocket.

The gas tax increase will add an additional 12-cents a gallon at the pump. It's a 43 percent increase that would go into effect in November. The amount could change each year, depending on inflation.

"My first reaction is oh no, please don't do that to us," said Charmaine Coimbra.

Californians drive more than 350 billion miles annually, but racking up this many miles comes at a price.

"We've got bridges collapsing, take Highway 1 for instance," said Coimbra.

The American Society of Civil Engineers gave California a D grade on its 2017 Infrastructure Report Card. On Thursday, Governor Brown addressed what's at stake.

"If you don't do anything, it goes down hill. It deteriorates," he said.

Under the plan, the current diesel tax would go up by 20-cents. That's a 125 percent increase.

If it passes, people would also see vehicle registration fee increases anywhere from $25 to $175 depending on the price of their ride. Those who drive zero-emission vehicles would be hit with a $100 annual fee starting in 2020.

"Essentially, we have let our infrastructure go for so long that we're already paying a lot of dollars every year that we just don't see," said Jorge Aguilar of Wallace Group, a San Luis Obispo-based engineering and design business.

The engineers in that study estimate that driving on the state's roads costs each driver nearly $850 a year for vehicle repairs. 

Others are just not on board and say enough is enough.

"I think personally that's pretty ridiculous as far as being from California and being taxpayers. I think it's unfair for us," said David Valdez.

The gasoline tax would generate more than $24 billion within the next 10 years.

Here is a breakdown of how much money Central Coast cities could receive from the plan based on historical data, according to the California State Association of Counties:

Arroyo Grande: $4.06 million
Atascadero: $7.07 million
Grover Beach: $3.07 million
Morro Bay: $2.45 million
Pismo Beach: $1.87 million
San Luis Obispo: $10.55 million

Goleta: $7.15 million
Santa Maria: $23.89
Santa Barbara: $21.33 million
Solvang: $1.25 million

Republican Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham released a statement Wednesday after hearing about the governor's transportation plan saying, "While I appreciate the majority party's effort today, I believe their plan relies too much on tax and fee increases on working families and does not have enough structural reform.

I am proud to be a co-author on an alternative plan that will truly prioritize transportation infrastructure needs, as well as promote accountability and local control. The plan I am co-authoring - AB 496 the Traffic Relief and Road Improvement Act (TRRIP) -- provides billions for the state's transportation needs without raising taxes on working families. The concept behind it is simple: taxes paid by transportation users should be permanently dedicated to funding our state's transportation system.

At this point, it is not clear that the majority party has the necessary votes from their own members to support this huge tax and fee increase on working families.  I'm hopeful we can come to a bi-partisan solution that fixes our roads without making life more expensive for commuting families."

The measure is expected to be voted on by April 6.

It needs two-thirds majority vote in the Assembly and Senate to pass.

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