12 Cent Increase in Gas Tax Takes Effect Soon

Heather Nelson cleans pools for a living, and she is on the road for a lot of her workday.

Like a majority of drivers, she didn't know that a 12 cent increase in the gas tax will take effect on November 1. That's why a coalition of 200 groups, including local government, labor unions and businesses interests are touting the value in raising $52 billion over 10 years to fix roads.

"It will save us money, it will reduce congestion, it will create jobs," said Roger Dickinson, executive director of Transportation California.

Take a look at what will go to county governments in the next decade in an effort to make up for long overdue maintenance that costs every driver an average of $750 in annual car repairs.

The need for road repairs that have been put off for decades is not debatable. But why try to sell us on a a tax that was passed months ago?

"California voters were cut out of this deal," said California Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach).

Through nocagastax.com, he's trying to gather signatures to put the measure on next year's ballot and repeal what he calls a regressive tax, along with a vehicle registration increase that is also part of SB 1.

Nelson said she would absolutely vote to repeal the gas tax.

"It actually hits the poorest people and the hardest working Californians the most," Allen said.

"People of all incomes, including lower-income and working people, use the roads as well, and the fact is they are spending a lot of money on car repairs because of the state of our roads," said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

The money means major overhauls by Caltrans on Interstate 5 from South Sacramento through downtown, and dozens of surface streets in every county and city in the state.

Despite safeguards on spending just on road repairs, building sidewalks, bike lanes and mass transit are part of the mix.

A good number of drivers who know about SB 1 tend to favor it, according to one poll.

But that's before it takes effect a little more than a week from now. Just how they will feel once the money begins flowing out of their pockets and purses is unclear.