Should Drivers Pay For Climate Protection?

AAA and the Chamber of Commerce fight environmentalists and transit planners who want to allow California voters to decide to add regional driver’s fees, either variable registration surcharges or new gas taxes, to fund climate protection measures.
August 25, 2008, 12pm PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"Legislation is working its way through the state Capitol that would allow cities (with voter approval) to levy higher car-registration fees and gas taxes."

The Assembly bill, which is now in the state Senate (and scheduled to be voted on 8/25), is meant to help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions" but also allow road maintenance projects.

"The bill...would allow regional transportation agencies to increase vehicle-license fees up to $90, depending on the fuel efficiency of the vehicle.

Agencies would also be allowed to propose a 3 percent increase to a gallon of gasoline."

"A majority of the revenues would go to "climate protection" programs such as public transportation and infrastructure to promote bicycling and walking. One-fourth of the revenue would go to maintaining and rehabilitating "local streets and roads, the state highway system, sidewalks or bicycle routes."

"Any increase proposal would have to go to the voters in a regular election, but because the increases are considered fees, a simple majority would be needed to pass an initiative rather than the two-thirds majority needed to pass a new tax.

That has organizations such as the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the California Chamber of Commerce steamed. With gas prices at record highs, the idea of asking for more at the pump seems like the wrong place to hit California drivers, some say."

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Published on Thursday, August 21, 2008 in San Francisco Examiner
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