Proposition 6, on the November ballot, proposes to repeal the Road Repair and Accountability Act (Senate Bill 1) enacted into law by the Legislature on April 28, 2017.

RRAA increased transportation-related taxes and fees, including the gas excise tax, diesel excise tax and diesel sales tax, and was designed to dedicate the revenue to transportation infrastructure, including bridge and road repair. According to the state Senate Appropriations Committee, RRAA is expected to generate an estimated $5.2 billion per year or $52.4 billion between 2017 and 2027.

As of 2018, increasing a tax in California requires a two-thirds vote of each state legislative chamber and the governor’s signature. If passed by voters, Prop 6 would create the added step of requiring voter approval, by ballot propositions, to impose, increase or extend fuel taxes or vehicle fees.

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office suggests “A yes vote on this measure means: Fuel and vehicle taxes recently passed by the Legislature would be eliminated, which would reduce funding for highway and road maintenance and repairs, as well as transit programs. The Legislature would be required to get a majority of voters to approve new or increased state fuel and vehicle taxes in the future.”

Support and opposition are, for the most part, along party lines with Republicans in support of passage of Prop 6 (repeal of RRAA) and Democrats in opposition.

Supporters argue that RRAA taxes and fees hit working families and the poor much harder than the wealthy, that California has a current budget surplus that could be spent on transportation infrastructure and that “72 percent of state motor vehicle related taxes and fees are not spent on improving transportation infrastructure.”

Prop 6 is endorsed by the California Republican Party, the Ventura County Republican Party, and numerous federal and California state Republican incumbents and candidates.

More than $1 million in contributions toward passage of Prop 6 comes from Republican incumbents and candidates for California and U.S. offices. Carl DeMaio, a former member of the San Diego City Council, who helped launch the initiative, stated “[With passage of Prop 6,] 2018 will be remembered as the year we had another taxpayer revolt in California — where the outrageous car and gas taxes were reversed by voters and the politicians that enacted those tax hikes are punished at the ballot box.”

Opponents include the California Democratic Party.

Business groups, including the California Chamber of Commerce, oppose the measure because of effects on employment (construction jobs) and accessibility to work sites (sound and navigable roads and bridges, and additional mass transit) The Chamber notes passage would: “Hurt job creation and the state’s economy. Reliable transportation infrastructure is critical to get Californians to work, move goods and services to the market and support the economy. This measure would eliminate more than 680,000 good paying jobs and nearly $183 billion in economic growth that will be created fixing California roads over the next decade.”

Opponents, including California Professional Firefighters, California Association of Highway Patrolmen, American Society of Civil Engineers, State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, League of California Cities, California Alliance for Jobs and other first responders, note passage would eliminate currently underway projects to upgrade bridges and overpasses to meet earthquake safety standards and improve road safety throughout the state.

Mark Ghilarducci, director, California Office of Emergency Services, notes: “By stopping thousands of transportation improvement projects, Prop 6 will make our roads, bridges and transportation system less safe and lead to more traffic accidents and fatalities.”

Media opposition includes the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, an Diego Union Tribune and San Jose Mercury News. Notes the Sacramento Bee, “No one likes to pay more at the pump. But seriously tackling our state’s $130 billion backlog of highway and bridge maintenance and upgrades takes a significant, separate source of revenue. And these taxes and fees are the fairest method because those who use roads most are paying the most.”

Notes the LAO, state fuel excise taxes are set on a per gallon, consumption basis — hence the more driving on state roads, the greater the economic effect on drivers or companies. The LAO futher notes that license and recently enacted transportation improvement fees are based on vehicles’ values, hence those with older or less expensive vehicles pay proportionally less.

Voters are urged to review all available arguments on this measure, as well as funding support and opposition.

6 COMMENTS

  1. You are absolutely correct. A San Diego radio talk show host Carl DeMaio led the campaign to repeal the gas tax and the State used their power to thwart the effort in several ways. DeMaio finally did some research in Sacramento and learned the Bullet train is really what much of the gas tax is to finance…ballot arguments presented by the State misleads voters with the description “transportation projects.” Never is the Bullet Train money pit mentioned. DeMaio also learned the State legislators intend to repeal Proposition 13 in 2020…

  2. Prop 6 removes CA’s amazing law which permanently funds road maintenance and improves transportation indefinitely.

    Let’s keep this election season honest. Some comment corrections. …

    -No funds raised from SB 1 will be used to fund high-speed rail. Prop 69 passed in June locks up road funding for roads, money can no longer be moved into the general fund (and projects like hi-speed).
    -SB1 clamps down on caltrans with stronger oversight which should bring $100 million a year in savings.
    -SB1 will create 682,029 job-years. And it’s jobs that benefit all of us.
    -This is not a bond measure where we pay for the project and then pay a bunch more for empty interest. RRAA requires that all transportation loans be repaid with this money, lowering CA’s debt.
    -Healthy transportation keeps CA strong. There is no other plan on the table to fix our roads. As they crumble, our ability to generate income goes down. Sometimes you have to invest to make things safer and more productive.
    -If the 12 cents a gallon makes people take more efficient routes or vehicles, or drive less, all the better.

    If you would like to be better educated, here is the overview of SB1 from the non-partisan analyst office …
    https://lao.ca.gov/Publications/Report/3688

    Where 100% of the gas tax goes each year …
    • $1.5 billion for the State Highway Operations and Protection Program
    • $1.5 billion for local streets and roads
    • $400 million for bridge maintenance and repairs
    • $300 million for goods movement and freight projects
    • $275 million for congested corridors and relief management
    • $200 million for the Local Partnership Program to match locally generated
    transportation funds
    • $100 million for the Active Transportation Program to improve safety and expand access
    on streets, roads and highways for bicyclists and pedestrians.
    • $750 million for mass transit

    #TruthisPatriotic

  3. The legislature counts on simpletons just like this. If earlier gas taxes actually paid for road maintenance there would be no problem. This tax pays for public transit,road diets, and the railroad to nowhere none of which fixes my roads. Outrageous!

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