In 2017 the Legislature on a 2/3 constitutionally-mandated vote (bipartisan with one Republican), passed a tax increase on gasoline. The Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (RRAA) raised the per gallon gasoline tax by $.12 and by $.20 for diesel. In the recent June 2018 primary election, voters passed Proposition 69 that requires all funds from this tax be spent exclusively on road and bridge repair.
This proposition is from opponents of that tax. If Proposition 6 passes, the RRAA would be repealed. RRAA is expected to generate $52.4 billion between 2017 and 2027, all of which would go to repair general surface maintenance (pothole repair and surfacing), fund 1571 projects improving road safety, 554 projects repairing or replacing bridges and overpasses, 337 projects relieving traffic congestion, 453 projects upgrading public transportation operations and services, and 442 projects improving pedestrian safety. Total spending is expected to generate 68,000 new jobs and $183 billion in economic investments based on high quality highways and road access, all of which would end.
There is no question that sales taxes such as RRAA are regressive. However, those organizations that advocate for the less well-off support the retention of the tax: Congress of California Seniors, NAACP, California League of United Latin American Citizens. The creation of jobs, the improvements for pedestrians and those using public transit are among the broad civic improvements that benefit even the poorest of our residents.
We find strong reasons to support continuation of the tax and to secure the benefits that will accrue. We have deferred this spending for nearly two decades. It must be done now.