Gas Tax Repeal Effort Puts Transportation Fixes At Stake

While many support the potential repeal of the statewide gas tax, the roll back could affect some counties that planned to use the extra tax money for road projects.

The tax, Senate Bill 1, is supposed to raise $52 billion for transportation fixes by increasing the price of gas at the pump by 12 cents per gallon of gas and 20 cents for diesel, with fees expected to rise.  

In Sonoma County, $170 million is at stake for regional projects such as the Highway 101 widening, fixes to traffic-clogged Highway 37 and northward expansion of the SMART commuter rail line. According to local Sonoma County transportation officials, an upwards of $19 million in annual city road improvement dollars would also be lost if the repeal measure gets backed by voters. 

“It’s literally every road, and paving of neighborhood roads, [affected] too,” Democratic Supervisor David Rabbitt said. “It would be foolish to go down that route. Our infrastructure will go to hell and we won’t see any improvement if that’s the case.”

Repeal measure proponents calculate the current rise in charges amount to an additional $500 to $700 tax burden per year on a family of four based on how much they drive.

“The reality is there’s more than enough money in existing gas taxes to fund these projects,” said Carl DeMaio, who is chairman of Reform California that is leading the proposed repeal. “We already pay a sufficient amount of taxes to fix roads and sustain the transportation system. The skyrocketing cost of living is untenable.”

Photo: Getty Images

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