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Activists: More than 940k people signed on for gas tax repeal

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SAN DIEGO -- Supporters of an effort to repeal last year's gas tax increase will formally submit signatures for their ballot initiative in a ceremony on Monday.

"Boxes and boxes" of signatures will be turned in at 10:30 a.m. at the San Diego County Registrar of Voters office, located at 5600 Overland Ave. in San Diego, according to organizers.

Supporters of the Gas Tax Repeal Initiative said they've collected more than 940,000 signatures from registered voters across the state to place the initiative on the November ballot. They were required to collect at least 584,000 signatures.

The gas tax increase went into effect in November 2017, raising fuel prices by 12.5 cents per gallon to pay for transportation projects.

Democrats who backed the increase said they believed it was the best way to handle a $137 billion backlog of road repairs.

"Safe and smooth roads make California a better place to live and strengthen our economy," California Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement when he signed the tax increase bill. "This legislation will put thousands of people to work."

The increase was expected to raise more than $5 billion for transportation costs annually.

Repeal supporters say the new taxes will cost $700 more per family, per year, and there's no guarantee the money will actually go to transportation.

The effort to get the repeal on the ballot is headed up by former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, who also hosts a radio talk show on KOGO-AM.

San Diego County was selected for the signature turn-in ceremony "based on its exceptional over-performance in generating signatures on the Gas Tax Repeal Initiative," according to organizers.

"San Diego County produced so many of the Gas Tax Repeal Initiative signatures that we felt it is fitting that we select it at the site for our ceremony to officially turn-in these signatures," DeMaio said.

The signatures will need to be verified before the initiative can move forward.

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