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Gov. Jerry Brown Proposes Gas Tax Increase to Fix Roads

SACRAMENTO -- Governor Jerry Brown and legislative Democrats say they will go forward with a road and highway repair plan that will raise taxes on gasoline by about 12 cents a gallon and 20 cents a gallon on diesel, along with a sales tax increase of over 5 percent on diesel.

The plan also assesses a transportation fee tied to the value of a vehicle.

“Let’s be clear…our roads suck,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon at a news conference announcing the $52 billion plan covering 10 years.

Much of the money goes to local government for road repairs.

It’s estimated that road repair budgets are behind by about $130 billion. Raising the billions of dollars needed for repairs deadlocked a special session of the legislature with Republicans hesitant to raise gasoline taxes or vehicle registration fees by $65 a year as proposed by the governor.

Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes said they were not in on the negotiations of the plan.

“They didn’t work with Republicans at all on this proposal. They say they’re going to raise taxes on hardworking Californians, and we’re not in favor of that,” said Mayes.

But now Democrats have a two-thirds majority in both houses of the legislature and can pass a tax increase without Republican votes. They produced a coalition of business, labor, local governments and law enforcement that is eager for a road repair plan.

“Now there will be some critics who say, 'well it’s going to cost money' ... well yes, it will cost money, but if your roof is leaking you’d better fix it, if you don’t fix the leak your furniture will be ruined, you rug will be ruined, you wood will rot ... that’s what it’s all about,” said Brown.

Democratic leaders say they hope to have the plan on the governor’s desk in a few weeks. They are quick to point out that state gasoline taxes have not been raised in 23 years and that the average cost of the plan for a California driver is $10 per year.