California Legislature approves gas tax hike

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SACRAMENTO – The California state Legislature Thursday approved a $5-billion-a-year plan to finance road and bridge repairs by increasing fuel taxes, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The Senate voted 27-11 on the measure and passed the Assembly with 54 votes.

The bill, dubbed the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, would increase the state’s gas tax by 12 cents a gallon. It would also raise the tax on diesel fuel by 20 cents a gallon. The bill also adds an additional charge to annual vehicle license fees. That charge would range from $25 to $175 depending on the value of the vehicle.

Gov. Jerry Brown has been pushing for passage of the bill, saying that it will raise $52 billion for transportation projects, including repairs to road, freeways and bridges. Tuesday, he said that the investment in long-postponed repairs now will save the state money in the long run.

“Just like if you don’t fix the roof on your house, the furniture is ruined and the floor goes to hell. Everything — the paint, it deteriorates. California roads are deteriorating,” Brown said.

Republicans opposed the bill and say they have a plan to fund transportation repairs without increasing the gas tax. Brown made light of their position.

“The Republicans in Sacramento want to fix our roads. They love the idea. They just don’t want to be associated with the bill because it has money in it,” Brown said. “I think they expect the tooth fairy to pay the $5 billion every year.”

The bill was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday.

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