California Governor Newsom signed an executive order on September 20, which would reroute “more than $5 billion in annual state transportation spending for construction, operations, and maintenance,” to “help reverse the trend of increased fuel consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the transportation sector.”
Newsom, is taking money away from a recently passed state senate bill called SB1, which raised the state gasoline tax from 18 cents per gallon, to 30 cents per gallon. In addition, in July of this year, the gas tax increased a further 5 cents per gallon. It also raised the tax per gallon of diesel fuel, by 34 cents to 67 cents per gallon, as well as raise vehicle registration fees from $25 to $200, depending on the value of your vehicle. Don’t worry, electric and other zero emission vehicles have a $100 fee starting in 2020.
SB1 was touted as the best way to raise funds for road repairs and maintenance, highway expansions and rail projects. It was supposed to have raised over $50 billion from 2017 when it was passed, to 2027, which is roughly $5 billion a year. In June 2018, voters passed Proposition 69, which put the funds of SB1 into a “lockbox,” which would protect the funds from being taken and put into the General Fund or other parts of the state budget.
Former Governor Brown and his fellow Democrats in the state assembly and senate promised the residents of California that this was desperately needed to fix and maintain the roads, highways and freeways around the state. As reported in a CBS47 investigation, Newsom’s EO would “terminate addition north and south freeway lanes on Highway 99 in Tulare and Madera County,” said Republican State Assemblyman Jim Patterson. Patterson, who serves the Fresno and Central Valley communities, said that he is “upset and wants Republicans and Democrats in the state to speak out.”
SB1 was sold to Californians as a way to improve our roads. We were told that if we buy gas, our taxes would pay to maintain said roads and highways. Assemblyman Patterson says, “when you pay for gas and you pay a gas tax, a railroad is not a highway. This is bait and switch. This is saying one thing and doing something else [.]”
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