San Diego

Gas Tax Repeal Initiative Qualifies for November Ballot

The group leading the effort to nix the newly-implemented gas tax says it has acquired enough signatures to qualify its repeal initiative for the November Ballot.

The approval of SB1 by lawmakers last year led to a 12-cent and 20-cent hike on regular and diesel fuel, respectively, and increased vehicle registration fees $25 to $175.

Needing only around 584,000 signatures, the grassroots effort collected nearly 900,000, according to Carl DeMaio, the frontman of the repeal effort.

Some might say the initiative was fueled by outrage overspending in Sacramento and mistrust over what’s been done with the previous gas tax hikes.

The tax and added fees equate to billions of dollars in state revenue that will go towards fixing aging highways, bridges, roads and other transit infrastructure.

Supporters of SB1, including Governor Jerry Brown, say a repeal would cripple California's ability to deal with a $130 billion backlog in deferred road maintenance.

“I completely understand the taxpayers trying to protect their dollars, but this is one where I think the dollar’s well spent in this circumstance,” one supporter said at a San Diego gas pump.

But DeMaio, who is also a conservative radio host and former San Diego City Council member, wants state lawmakers to use the gas taxes already in place, taxes which he claims have been diverted to other areas.

DeMaio said that according to the latest audit by the California Legislative Analyst's Office, just 20 percent of existing gas tax revenue goes into road projects.

“Why is it that states with snow, ice, sleet, conditions far worse than ours, why do they have better roads than we have in California? I'll tell you why, ‘cause the politicians there follow the law.”

The signatures still have to be verified at the state level.

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