California drivers could face new $52-a-year fee

By Melody Gutierrez : sfgate – excerpt

SACRAMENTO — California drivers would pay a new “road user” fee to help fund $2 billion in annual road repairs under a plan unveiled Wednesday by state Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins.

At about $52 per year per car, the road user charge would generate an estimated $1.8 billion a year. Atkins said it has not yet been decided how the fee would be collected.

A road charge advisory committee is working on recommendations for the best method of collecting new revenue for roadways as taxes collected at the pump drop due to more fuel-efficient cars. Alternative ideas include per-mile charges, vehicle license fees or fees on car insurance bills.

“California cannot have a strong middle class or a thriving economy if our roadways are congested and people and goods cannot move efficiently throughout the state,” said Atkins, a Democrat from San Diego. “The Assembly is stepping up and proposing $10 billion for transportation infrastructure — $2 billion per year over the next five years — starting in 2015-16.”…

“Every year we don’t invest in the roads, the cost of repairing our roads due to lack of short-term investments exponentially rises,” said Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, who is the Assembly’s representative on the California Road Charge Pilot Program Technical Advisory Committee debating the best way to collect a new road fee… (more)

So let’s punish drivers for using less gas, which is what the goal was to start with. Less gas, less pollution. More demand for less cars. How exactly is this going to work?

We will have to start licensing bikes and charging cyclists for their use of the roads as they grow in numbers. Let’s require them to purchase insurance as well. Maybe having the threat of their insurance rates going up will convince them to follow the rules of the road and everyone will be safer.

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