Proposed California Ballot Measure From Gas Tax Opposition Goes After High-Speed Rail

A follow-up initiative to Proposition 6 would put the brakes on high-speed rail in California and funnel gas tax funds to roads.
October 7, 2018, 9am PDT | Camille Fink
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California High-Speed Rail Authority

Rachel Swan reports on a recently-filed California ballot measure that would stop the state's high-speed rail project from moving forward and prevent it from using gas-tax funds for public transit. This challenge comes from supporters of Proposition 6, an upcoming California ballot measure that would repeal the gas tax passed last year.

In addition to killing [Jerry] Brown's $77 billion plan to send bullet trains zipping from Southern California to downtown San Francisco, the initiative that [Carl] DeMaio and others submitted on Tuesday would mandate that all gas tax revenue go to roads. It would also dedicate the state's sales tax on cars to all forms of transportation infrastructure including public transit, require annual audits on road projects and shift decision-making power on gas and car tax revenue from the state Capitol to city and county governments.

Supporters of this new measure say that state funds for roads would increase by $2.7 billion and for transit infrastructure by $5.6 billion. Critics argue that the initiative is not much different than an alternative to the gas tax measure that Republicans put forth last year. "Other lawmakers rejected the plan because it blocked gas tax money from flowing into the general fund, where it helps shore up schools, health care and public safety," says Swan.

John Cox, the Republican candidate for governor, supports the effort to end the high-speed rail project. With high-speed rail as a central issue for Republican voters, who favor road and highway projects, the proposed measure is also seen as a way to get those voters to the polls and to increase support for Cox.

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Published on Tuesday, September 25, 2018 in San Francisco Chronicle
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