Phil Matier says Gov. Brown has his work cut out for himselfBy Phil Matier

SACRAMENTO (KCBS)— California’s $59 billion backlog of roadway maintenance projects has Governor Jerry Brown fed up and seeking to raise the state’s gas tax, which hasn’t been increased since the early ’90s.

This is an incredibly heavy lift and the pollsters I’ve talked to have called this “Mission Impossible”. Voters just aren’t inclined to raise the gas tax, despite business and developers’ interests. Even if you are able to get voters at the 50 percent range, it’s usually done by small incremental increases.

It’s a challenge for California, because the roads are crumbling and one way or another, we’re going to have to pay to fix them up. Even some members from California’s Republican Party say they’re willing to go along with the plan, but of course they’ll do it on condition.

The argument has been made that raising the gas tax won’t bring in enough revenue because we’re using less gas with more hybrids and other types of advanced-technology vehicles on the roads.

And speaking of electric vehicles, what about Tesla owners? Why should they, the drivers of some of the heaviest cars that are tearing up the roads that don’t pay into the gas tax, get to ride on the highway? What should they pay? Politicians are suggesting ideas like this where drivers of hybrids and electric cars would pay their own separate fee to go towards road maintenance.


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