In November, California drivers are going to see a hike in the price of gas and will be paying more to register vehicles starting in January after Governor Jerry Brown on Friday signed a new measure into law which is a tax hike annually of $5 billion to fix the crumbling highways across the state.
Brown with his allies in the legislator said the money is needed badly to fill in potholes and repair the many rutted roads that damage vehicles and make commutes longer.
Safe as well as smooth roads make the state a better place and strengthens the economy said Brown and the new legislation will produce thousands of new jobs.
The new measure will have the money split nearly evenly between local roads and state highways.
The California Transportation Commission, which Brown mostly appointed, will approve the projects to receive funding and the first construction work on any state highways will most likely begin during the summer of next year.
Local projects may start sooner, a public works director said who is part of the California League of Cities’ board of directors.
Once each city knows when the money they need will be received, some might start work on projects in just weeks.
The plan has a goal to address a backlog of $59 billion in deferred maintenance for state highways as well as $78 billion for local roads and streets.
It raises taxes on gas 12 cents a gallon at the start of November and to 19.5 cents in 2020. Taxes for diesel will increase 20 cents a gallon now and diesel sales taxes 4%.
The new fee for registering vehicles will increase by between $25 and $175 depending upon the vehicle’s value.
Patricia Bates the Minority Leader of the California Senate said the Governor and Democratic lawmakers should have supported a plan that would fund road repairs that did not include increasing taxes.
A few state projects that are going to receive monies are known including the commuter rail line extension that links the University of California Merced with a major highway as well as highway expansion across Riverside County.
The two projects were promised to those lawmakers who had been undecided to gain their support in approving the measure.
On Friday, the Governor signed another measure and a bill by Senator Anthony Cannella that shield’s engineers, architects as well as land surveyors from liability for certain circumstances.