Last night California lawmakers approved a bill to increase gas and diesel fuel taxes to generate $5 billion per year for infrastructure.
The bill proposed by Governor Jerry Brown will increase diesel fuel taxes by $0.20 and will also hike up the sales tax on diesel by 5.75%. The increase means truckers will pay $0.36 in taxes per gallon of diesel, up from $0.16. The bill also raises taxes on gasoline by $0.12 per gallon and will increase vehicle licensing fees by as much as $175. The fuel tax increases will go into effect on November 1, 2017. The vehicle licensing fees increase will go into effect in 2018.
The bill places a huge burden on truckers, who will pay an extra $10 billion dollars in increased fuel taxes over the next ten years. To entice truckers to support the tax hike, Governor Brown added an amendment referred to by environmental advocates as the “dirty truck amendment.” Amendment 18 would prevent California from requiring truckers to upgrade to a lower-emission truck model before the truck was 13 years old or had 800,000 miles on the odometer. The amendment is designed to reassure truckers that they will get their money’s worth out of a truck before they are forced to upgrade.
California Republicans fiercely opposed the bill and argued that the tax increase would not have been necessary if the Democrats had spent their money more carefully.
The approval of the House and Assembly sends the bill to Governor Brown’s desk. He is expected to sign.