ROADS/BRIDGES: Ca. governor looking to raise motorist cost to pay for infrastructure program

This, in light of a recent poll that indicates most Americans do not want to pay more for road and bridge improvements

Road Construction News KABC News / Washington Post January 18, 2017
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Photo courtesy: fotoluminate 123RF

It seems California is coming up short in its revenue projections to cover Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed $179.5 billion budget for 2017. But according to sources, the governor is entertaining two means of raising funds to pay for a $4.3 billion dollar infrastructure plan,

 

“A $65 annual [vehicle] fee [is one],” said Joel Fox, editor of Fox and Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee. “And we [presently] pay about an 18 cents per gallon in gas tax. [Brown wants] to raise that to 21 cents, and then put an inflation carrier on it, so as inflation goes up, your gas tax will go up. And he needs a two-thirds vote to pass taxes … [T]he Democrats have a two-thirds majority in the Assembly and the Senate. But the question is, will all Democrats support the Governor’s plan? So, while the governor is proposing this vehicle fee and gas tax, there’s no assurance that plan is going to go forward.”

 

These proposals may not sit so well with the public, according to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, which found that 66% of those surveyed said they oppose a plan that would grant close to $140 billion in tax credits to investors who put their money into roads, bridges and transit in return for the right to impose tolls.

 

In the mind of the public, of course, tolls and tax fees are in the same wheelhouse, and amount to the same type of burden on their wallets.

 

The question asked in the Post-ABC poll was: There is a proposal to offer nearly $140 billion in tax cuts for private companies if they pay to build new roads, bridges and transportation projects. The companies then could charge tolls for people to use these roads, bridges and transportation. Do you support or oppose this proposal? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?

 

Only 29% of the 1,005 people polled said they would support that plan, with 11% saying they backed it strongly and another 18% saying they were somewhat supportive. In contrast, 44% said they were strongly opposed to the idea and 22% said they were somewhat opposed.

 

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