California voters have been asked in this election to pass judgment on a host of bond measures that would raise billions in revenue. A small group of activists, however, would have you believe that a tax of 12 cents deserves your attention.
If passed, Proposition 6 would repeal the fuel tax increases and vehicle fees that California enacted in 2017 as part of Senate Bill 1 – a funding package meant to help pay for a backlog of transportation infrastructure repairs. A yes vote would also impose a new requirement that voters approve any future increase or extension to fuel taxes or vehicle fees by the state Legislature. The proposition would eliminate $5.4 billion in critical annual revenue earmarked by the state for much needed transportation infrastructure repair projects.
In all, this proposition would shut down 6,500 ongoing transportation improvement projects.
The state cannot afford to sideline its transportation projects, though. This year, in the 2018 Report Card for Surface Transportation Infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the state a C- for the state of its bridges, as well as a D for the state of its roads. Additionally, ASCE estimated the need for at least $12.2 billion in repairs for bridges. SB 1 funnels in $182.6 billion into roads investment over the next 10 years to address bridge, road and other infrastructure concerns. Proposition 6 would halt this and make the infrastructure investment gap in California even harder to bridge.
A few extra cents at the pump is a small price to pay to maintain critical transportation infrastructure. Given many of these projects are already underway, passage of this proposition would imperil the future sustainability and reliability of California’s infrastructure. As such, Proposition 6 earns a stern disapproval from this board.