California, like most states, has not increased its gas tax in a very long time. Instead, the state has relied on a combination of bond measures, and local transportation sales taxes. The last statewide transportation bond measure was Proposition 1B, which raised $19 billion. Most of Prop 1B went to highway projects — including the Caldecott 4th bore, and massive widening of I5 in LA.
Now that Prop 1B funds are running out, highway construction lobbyists are plotting a new ballot measure. This one would permanently increase the vehicle license fee, providing $3 billion per year in new revenue. The new revenue is certainly welcome, as is using the VLF.
Unfortunately, their expenditure plan leaves much to be desired. It would devote 90% of the funds to highways, leaving only 10% for transit. Bikes and peds would receive nothing. If we are going to raise taxes to fix the infrastructure, then let’s fix all the infrastructure.
Even worse, the distribution formula to counties is based on the number of registered vehicles, and the number of road miles. This rewards sprawly counties, at the expense of urban counties with low car ownership.