Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
U.S. | By Monique Johnson

California lawmakers approve $5-bn a year plan to fund infrastructure

California lawmakers approve $5-bn a year plan to fund infrastructure

One member of the Assembly returned from the emergency room, where she had been taken after feeling ill, in time to vote.

Two thirds of legislators, exactly the number needed to raise taxes under California rules, backed the measure. Jerry Brown and Democratic leaders, lawmakers in California's Senate and Assembly approved a key multi-billion transportation spending plan late Thursday night.

The California Assembly passed a bill late Thursday to raise $52 billion in taxes to fix roads and bridges in the state. They took a courageous stand today that said they will not tolerate the status quo. On Nov. 1 of this year, there will be a 12 cent per gallon increase in gas excise taxes. The problem with volatility is it makes it hard to plan road repairs and construction years ahead. 61 percent say Caltrans should make better use of the money it already has. "Your taxes will be higher". It also etches out an additional charge to annual vehicle license fees ranging from $25 to $175 depending on the car's value. Let's negotiate with each other and get to "yes" to reach the 2/3rds requirement needed for passage. The bill, SB1, supported by Calif., Gov. Anthony Cannella, backed the deal, which provides almost half a billion in funding for two projects in his Modesto-area districts. Given the results of last year's elections, however, Democrats in the state have surpassed that supermajority threshold and can now raise taxes on their own, without any Republican votes.

In the final days before a decisive vote in the Legislature on a sweeping $52-billion tax plan for transportation, the sales pitch from Gov.

Roth and Cannella both voted for the bill. Assemblyman Adam Gray, who had previously been on the fence about supporting the bill, joined Cannella as a Central Valley representative who submitted a "yes" vote for SB 1.

Republicans have blasted the plan to ask for more money from taxpayers in a state that already has a high tax burden.

In a statement Canellla said "For over two years, I have fought for real solutions to California's transportation problems, This state can not continue to just put asphalt band aids on potholes when what we really need is major road and rail surgery to keep Californians and their economy moving". John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa.

The ads don't mention that the plan means raising taxes on everyone with a auto.

Voters, don't be surprised when your newest tax dollars are misspent on a high-speed rail project rather than roads. The excise tax on diesel fuel, which is used by the commercial trucking industry, would increase by 20 cents a gallon to 36 cents. And although trucks are cleaner than they once were, diesel exhaust is among the biggest sources of smog, greenhouse gas and particulates. "The answer will be what is the long-term impact on the people that they represent?"

The amendments prevent the state from requiring truckers to retire or replace trucks before they're 13 years old and were opposed by some environmental groups. "But, I mean, think of it in the long run". The bill imposes a new $100 fee for zero emission vehicles beginning in 2020. He said that will significantly slash emissions in the state. As the cost of shipping goods goes up, so will the cost of living here.

The governor and top legislative leaders pressed all week to convince their fellow Democrats to support the measure but faced mounting opposition from environmentalists and anti-tax crusaders.

Instead, the governor and Democratic leaders appear to be working on side promises that would not be voted on Thursday but would be fulfilled later this year, either in the state budget or in separate legislation.

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