L.A. Mayor Says Gas Tax Repeal Effort Is Really About Gubernatorial Race

Last year, the California legislature passed SB 1 in a bipartisan deal signed by Gov. Jerry Brown as part of a new transportation package that increased the state's gas tax by 12-cents-per-gallon. Opponents decried the bill, calling it too expensive for Californian families and led an effort to recall state senator Josh Newman, who voted for the bill

Following their victory earlier this year, opponents to the gas tax increase turned their attention repealing the actual gas tax increase by placing Proposition 6 on the ballot in November. The initiative takes aim at the $5-billion-a-year funding that has been directed to fix potholed highways, repair bridges and add capacity to public transit in cities across the state.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told residents today that they should reject the effort by Republicans to repeal the gas tax. 

"This was bipartisan, we had Republicans who voted yes on this - this isn't just a Democratic issue. This is about one thing - this is about voter turnout in a gubernatorial election trying to stir passions to get people to vote on other things. I've got a lot of opinions about those other things, but we're not talking about those here today," Garcetti said. 

Up to two-billion dollars have been earmarked for various projects around the Los Angeles metro area and another $10 billion set aside for county projects. If Prop 6 passes, those projects would have to be put on hold.

"How long have we been waiting? I've been waiting for my entire life and I'm 47-years-old to get rail to LAX. And finally as mayor, push it through with SB-1 dollars we're gonna see this get done in a couple years. That'll get pushed off three-to-five years at a minimum," Garcetti said. 

Mayor Garcetti says the city and county of L.A. have a lot to lose if the tax is repealed.

According to John Hogan with the California ASCE Infrastructure Report Card Committee, the state's infrastructure badly needs repairs and updates. 

"In 2018 California bridges received a grade of 'C-.' In 2018, California transit receives a grade of 'C-.' Roads in California in 2018 received a grade of 'D'," Hogan told the crowd. 

The description for Proposition 6 in the official voter guide says the ballot measure would repeal "A 2017 transportation law's taxes and fees designated for road repairs and public transportation. Fiscal Impact: Reduced ongoing revenues of $5.1 billion from state fuel and vehicle taxes that mainly would have paid for highway and road maintenance and repairs, as well as transit programs."

A poll released last week by the Public Policy Institute of California showed a slight majority of voters ready to vote against Prop 6, 52 percent, in favor of keeping the state's 12-cent-a-gallon gas tax. Only 39 percent of Californians were found to support the measure, the poll found. 

Photos: Getty Images

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