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Backers Of Initiative To Repeal California’s Gas Tax Begin Gathering Signatures

A San Diego gas station worker poses holding a gas nozzle, March 9, 2011.

Credit: Associated Press

Above: A San Diego gas station worker poses holding a gas nozzle, March 9, 2011.

Backers Of Initiative To Repeal California's Gas Tax Begin Gathering Signatures

GUEST:

Rob Nikolewski, energy reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Transcript

Backers of an initiative to repeal the recent increase to the gas tax and vehicle registration fee began gathering signatures Monday in San Diego.

Former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio and Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox appeared at a kickoff event outside the studios of KOGO-AM (600). They said the hike will cost $700 annually per family, with no guarantee the revenue will be used for its intended purpose.

"Sacramento politicians really crossed the line with these massive car and gas tax hikes and we intend to give taxpayers the chance to reverse that decision with this initiative," said DeMaio, chairman of Reform California, a political action committee that opposes tax increases and proposes efficiency reforms to fix problems.

RELATED: California Gas Tax Rises 12 Cents To Pay For Road Repairs

SB 1, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on April 28, increased the gasoline excise tax by 12 cents a gallon, the diesel fuel excise tax 20 cents per gallon, the sales tax on diesel to 5.75 percent, and raised the vehicle registration fee by $25 to $175, depending on the value of the vehicle on Jan. 1.

Brown said the revenue from the tax and registration fee increases will be used to repair roads, highways and bridges and improve public transportation.

Fix Our Roads, a coalition of business, labor and transportation organizations, supported the bill.

"California drivers will have safer, less congested roads thanks to SB 1," according to the coalition. "Every single community in California will receive funding to make road safety improvements, fill potholes, and repair local streets, freeways, bridges and overpasses. And SB 1 comes with strict accountability requirements to reduce bureaucracy and ensure funds only go to transportation."

RELATED: San Diego Thanksgiving Day Gas Price Dipped But Still Highest Since 2013

The increases took effect at a time when wholesale gas prices were already on the rise, pushing the average price of a gallon of fuel over the $3 mark. The Automobile Club of Southern California reported that the average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in San Diego County Monday was $3.207.

DeMaio said he planned to aim for 585,407 valid signatures from registered voters to qualify the initiative for the November 2018 ballot. Signature collection events are scheduled around the county. Information is available at www.ReformCalifornia.org.

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