Governor's road repair plan would reach into drivers' wallets

Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget could cost drivers more to register their vehicles and gas up their cars to pay for long-needed road repairs.
Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget could cost drivers more to register their vehicles and gas up their cars to pay for long-needed road repairs. Miguel Villagran/Getty Images

Driving could get more expensive in California under Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget unveiled Thursday.

One area of focus in the plan, California roads that are badly in need of repair, would address a problem that the state estimates would cost $59 billion to fix.

Brown’s proposal to fill the funding hole would involve, in part, charging drivers more when they register their cars and fill up at the pumps.

"We need that. If we don’t get that we’re not gonna really make headway on the roads and, at some point, I think people want to do something," the governor said at a press conference.

So how might it cost you? The state estimates the average driver would pay about $100 more a year, including a $65 annual road fee and slightly higher gas taxes tied to inflation.

In addition, Brown wants a $10 surcharge on car registrations to cover a looming deficit at the Department of Motor Vehicles. That’s due to costly new programs like the automatic voter registration aimed at improving election turnout and self-service DMV kiosks.

The administration plan is subject to legislative approval, a process that can take months and involves negotiations between lawmakers and the governor.

Brown introduced the same funding plan in September, after he called a special session of the legislature to tackle how the state would pay for the backlog of road repairs. But after more than six months, Democrats and Republicans have been gridlocked over a path forward.

Republicans strongly object to raising revenues through tax and fee increases, favoring an approach that would divert funds from the state's controversial high-speed rail project and revenues from the cap and trade market.

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