By Gary Richards : mercurynews – excerpt
With heavy storms wreaking havoc on California roads to the tune of $600 million — damages that Caltrans says could top $1 billion by spring — Bay Area traffic heavyweights joined forces Monday to push for higher gas taxes and auto registration fees to raise $6 billion a year for the state’s dilapidated roads.
“It is fiscally irresponsible to wait until our roads fail,” said State Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, chairman of the state Senate Transportation Committee, at a press conference to garner support for his gas tax bill. “We can’t ignore repairs. Eventually, we have to pay.”
SB-1 would hike the state gas tax by 12 cents a gallon over three years, charge electric cars an annual fee of $100 and increase the registration for all vehicles by $38. San Jose would be one of the big winners, getting $39 million a year from Beall’s measure, with $19 million more coming from the Measure B sales tax approved in November. San Jose transportation director Jim Ortbal called it a game changer, “huge.”…
Republicans and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, however, oppose any tax increases and, instead, want to divert money from the high-speed rail project and the state’s general fund to filling potholes…
But Beall doesn’t want the general fund touched for road repairs. “That’s a non-starter,” he said. “No way.”
Coupal suggests taking nearly $9 billion in bonds from high-speed rail for road construction.
“If voter approval is deemed necessary,” Coupal said, “that measure passes in a heartbeat.”… (more)
Here comes Lucy again with the football. What are the chances she will not pull it away again?