LOS ANGELES, April 28 California Governor Jerry
Brown signed into law on Friday a bill to raise gasoline taxes
and other transportation-related fees for the first time in
decades in an ambitious $52 billion plan to repair the state's
long-neglected roads and bridges.
The measure, increasing excise taxes on gasoline by 12 cents
per gallon, from the current rate of $0.28 a gallon, and on
diesel fuel by 20 cents per gallon over the next 10 years, goes
into effect in November.
It cleared the state legislature three weeks ago, on the
strength of a two-thirds super-majority the Democrats wield in
both houses that allows them to pass new taxes with little or no
Republicans condemned the increases, saying the state's
transportation taxes and fees are already among the highest in
the nation. They call the newly enacted measure the largest
gasoline tax in California's history.
The average motorist in California, a state renowned for its
car culture, will see transportation costs rise by about $10 a
month under the measure, according to Brown, a Democrat who has
governed largely as a fiscal moderate.
He has refused to back any transportation overall plans that
involved borrowing money.
Supporters say the measure is needed to address a mounting
backlog of crumbling infrastructure projects, including more
than 500 bridges statewide requiring major repair, most of them
considered structurally deficient.
The fuel tax increases, together with higher vehicle
licensing fees and a new $100 annual fee on owners of
electric-only vehicles, would raise $5.2 billion a year, all
earmarked for road, highway and bridge repairs and
To address concerns that those revenues might end up
diverted elsewhere in the budget, the bill calls for a state
constitutional amendment, to be placed on the June 2018 ballot,
that would prohibit use of the funds for anything but
(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Sandra Maler)