Brown, Democratic Lawmakers Announce Transportation Funding Deal

A solar farm in Kern County

A solar farm in Kern County

Jerry Brown and fellow Democrats who control the state Legislature are proposing to raise $52.4 billion over 10 years by significantly boosting fuel taxes and vehicle fees.

Gov. Jerry Brown is looking to raise $52 billion over the next 20 years, with cash coming from a 12-cent gas tax hike per gallon.

As they have throughout years of negotiations, GOP legislators said that California drivers are paying high gasoline taxes and that the state brings in enough revenue to pay for needed infrastructure fixes and upgrades without increasing levies.

- $200 million from a new $100 annual fee, starting in 2020, on zero-emission vehicles.

The debate about how to fix California's grumbling roads is heating up after Gov.

The plan also assesses a transportation fee tied to the value of a vehicle. 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. But the tax hasn't increased since 1994.

He has set an April 6 goal for the Legislature to pass a transportation funding package. He said the extra money will allow the state to stop borrowing to fix its decrepit roads and avoid passing the bill to the next generation of Californians. They say Californians have been robbed at the pump for decades because revenue generated from gas taxes has been funneled into the state's general fund.

Brown's interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" aired after the governor's first trip to Washington since President Donald Trump's election, where he met with Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, of California, and other leaders. The deal would also task the state inspector general to make sure that entities receiving transportation money uses it efficiently and on transportation projects. Brown will need almost all of them unless he can pick up support from Republicans.

The measure will require support from two-thirds of lawmakers in the Assembly and Senate because it raises taxes. Moderate Democrats, many from inland districts where voters are generally poorer and face long commutes to work, may be concerned about raising gas prices.

Assemblyman Vince Fong, R-Bakersfield, said California's leadership should be held accountable for spending gas taxes on non-transportation projects and wants new oversight and audits for major transportation projects.

Brown and his colleagues tried to blunt Republican opposition by noting that the provisions of gas tax and road fix package were in line with President Ronald Reagan's federal gas tax increase of 1982.

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