It’s been a week since the fierce debate has started, and now it’s official, California’s Legislature approved the plan of raising gas taxes and vehicle fees by $5.2 billion a year to pay for the repair of California’s pothole-ridden, decaying system of roads, highways and bridges.
The bill squeaked through the Senate on a 27-11 vote and cleared the Assembly with 54 votes, the bare minimum required in both houses. The measure sparked suspenseful wrangling in the waning hours of Thursday initially three votes short of securing the two-thirds threshold needed to approve a new tax. Ultimately, all but one Rudy Salas, backed the bill. The plan was forcefully pushed as a necessary response to 23 years without a gas tax increase, which has resulted in a backlog of $130 billion in repair and replacement projects throughout the state. Senate Republican leader Jean Fuller of Bakersfield criticized the Democrats for providing nearly $1 billion to districts as sweeteners to win votes.