On Monday, the California gasoline excise tax increased from 41.7 to 47.3 cents per gallon of gas as part of a series of adjustments to the state tax, according to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration website.
In 2017, California passed SB 1, a bill that restored a previously lowered gas tax rate and that calls for annual increases of the state gas tax based on inflation. According to the bill, the increase in gas taxes would cover the $59 billion needed over the next 10 years to adequately maintain the state highway system.
The revenue raised from SB 1 has been used to improve existing infrastructure such as the state highway system, local streets and bridges. One SB 1 project, the Transbay Corridor Core Capacity Program, proposes the deployment of 272 new rail vehicles on BART, which will make room for 200,000 more riders per day, according to the website of Assemblymember David Chiu, D-San Francisco.
Californians currently pay the highest gas prices in the nation — an average of $3.78 per gallon in comparison to the national average of $2.75 per gallon, according to a gas price report by AAA.
While the funding received from SB 1 has helped complete transportation projects across the state, the tax increase received criticism from the California Republican Party in a press release published Monday.
“As California’s cost of living skyrockets, now is not the time to increase burdensome taxes on Californians,” California Republican Party chair Jessica Patterson said in the press release. “We must ensure that the current funds are being used to improve roads and infrastructure before piling an additional tax burden on hardworking Californians.”