SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Friday a bill that will raise $52 billion in new taxes and fees to pay for the state’s roads and bridges.
Brown signed SB1, as he was expected to, without any fanfare or ceremony. He also gave final approval to two companion bills that were needed to lure reluctant lawmakers to support the transportation bill.
Under SB1 the state’s gas excise tax, which is currently 18 cents, will increase by 12 cents per gallon. The excise tax on diesel fuel, which is used by the commercial trucking industry, will increase by 20 cents a gallon to 36 cents. The diesel sales tax also will rise to 5.75 percent from 1.75 percent. Those increases begin Nov. 1.
Beginning Jan. 1, vehicle registration fees will increase by $25 to $175 depending on the value of the vehicle. Owners of zero-emission vehicles will begin paying an additional $100 annual fee beginning in 2020.
Revenue from the taxes and fee increases will pay for repairs and improvements to state and city roads, bridges and public transportation.
“Safe and smooth roads make California a better place to live and strengthen our economy,” Brown said in a statement. “This legislation will put thousands of people to work.”
SB1, by state Sen.Jim Beall, D-San Jose, needed a two-thirds majority to pass the Legislature earlier this month, prompting Brown and legislative leaders to entice hesitant lawmakers with hundreds of millions of dollars for pet projects to earn their votes. That money was put into SB132 and included $400 million requested by state Sen.Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres (Stanislaus County), to extend the Altamont Corridor Express rail line to Ceres and Merced, and $427 million for projects in the Riverside County districts of state Sen.Richard Roth, D-Riverside, and Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes, D-Corona (Riverside County). Brown signed SB132 on Friday.
Cannella, who owns an engineering company, also negotiated to have leaders support his bill to add indemnification protections for engineers and architects on government contracts. Brown signed that bill, SB496, as well. Cannella’s vote in the state Senate was the lone Republican vote in support of the transportation bill in both houses.
“Californians got a lemon of a gas and car tax hike today,” state Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates, R-Laguna Niguel (Orange County), said in a statement. “We need better roads, and those can be fixed without raising taxes.”
SB1 passed with the bare minimum votes needed to reach a two-thirds majority, passing the state Senate 27-11 and Assembly 54-26.