California roads are a mess. Traffic is ridiculous and the roads themselves are in disrepair. One reason for this is because there hasn’t been a gas tax increase in 23 years. That has changed as of now, however. After a week of brutal deliberation among conflicting interests, a plan to increase vehicle fees and gas taxes by $5.2 billion per year was approved by Legislature. The gains are to be used to repair the deteriorating bridges, roads, streets and highways of California.
The bill barely made it through the Senate on the 27-11 vote it ended with. It had 54 Assembly votes. Those are the absolute lowest numbers a bill can have in both houses and still pass. The deliberations lasted way off into the night with the Democrats of the Assembly three votes short of the two-thirds they needed at the onset. In the end, Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) was the only Assembly Democrat not to back the bill. Gov. Jerry Brown was a huge proponent of the bill saying it was necessary after not having such a tax or expense in 23 years and the logjam of over $130 million in replacement and repair projects needed throughout all of California.
Those touting the bill explained it would not just fix and maintain the roads. Many claim it will also boost the economy and make the roads safer and traffic better. The overwhelming majority state the roads are just too bad and have become a danger to the public in most places around the state. Legislative leaders had set a deadline on themselves to begin action on the bill by Thursday which is just before the spring recess.