As of this week, drivers across California can expect to pay an extra 12 cents per gallon for gasoline at the pump, and an extra 20 cents per gallon for diesel as a result of the new gas tax.
The tax, approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor in April, is expected to raise roughly $5.4 billion annually over the next decade. About half of the money will go to the state to improve highways, bridges and culverts. The other half will go to cities, counties and transit agencies for local street and road repairs, and improving public transit options. There is also some money in the bill for congestion relief, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure as well as transportation research, workforce training and planning efforts.
The state hasn’t raised the gas tax since 1994. Over time, inflation, coupled with increasing fuel efficiency of cars, has contributed to a massive backlog of deferred maintenance for both state and local infrastructure, according to local officials.
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has accelerated several dozen projects statewide, totaling just under $1 billion in existing or planned work, in anticipation of receiving the gas tax funds. But the measure has its detractors. Already two ballot initiatives have been filed to repeal the tax, though both still need to gather the requisite signatures to be placed on the ballot.
As part of the bill passed by the legislature in April, car owners will also start paying new vehicle registration fees beginning Jan. 1, with fees increasing by $50 for cars valued under $25,000, or $175 for the highest-end luxury vehicles. Cars valued under $5,000 will pay $25 more. Electric vehicles will see an additional $100 fee starting in 2020.
Source: The Mercury News