The California state legislature has passed a new $52.4 billion bill known as the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (SB1) that will see owners of zero-emissions vehicles charged an annual fee of $100. The charge is intended to offset the gasoline taxes that zero-emissions vehicle owners don’t pay, but that’s not all.
The new $100 annual fee for zero-emissions vehicles won’t be imposed until 2020. However, starting in 2018, all vehicle owners will be charged a variable annual fee of between $25 and $175 — variable depending on vehicle value. According to Governor Jerry Brown, this range was chosen since it will likely end up being less than comparable repair costs resulting from driving on damaged roads.
In addition to that charge, the SB1 bill also introduces a $0.12-per-gallon gasoline tax increase — which is intended to account for inflation (the tax was last increased in 1994). In total, the new state gasoline tax will total 30¢ per gallon. It will take effect on November 1, 2017.
“Unlike the practice in previous years, this one is to be used only for improvements to the transportation infrastructure, to begin cutting into an estimated $130 billion backlog of repairs and expansions,” Green Car Reports highlights. “The new fees and increased taxes will amount to $52.4 billion over 10 years, according to an article in the Sacramento Bee.”
Going on: “Trying to cast the increase in a brighter light, officials say this time the money will go where it is intended — to pay for road repairs — because they have fixed the ‘leak,’ in which the funds collected were used for non-transportation projects. Now that the bill has been approved, it’s up to civic groups and the tax-paying drivers to ensure the state remains accountable for spending the $5.24 billion annual fund in smart ways.”