California Voters Confirmed We Need the Gas Tax
Prop 6, the Gas Tax Repeal, was rejected by 55% of voters on the November 2018 ballot.
What does the gas tax have to do with conservation or redwoods? As it turns out, plenty. First, let’s discuss what Prop 6 was designed to do.
In 2017, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 1, the Transportation Funding Act, into law. SB 1 increased prices at the pump by 12 cents per gallon, as well as vehicle registration fees, based on the value of your car.
These increases create an additional $5.6 billion annually for transportation projects, including road and bridge repairs. More than $1 billion of SB 1 funding goes to public transit and non-motorized transportation projects, which help us reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change.
Prop 6 would have repealed SB 1, halting more than 6,500 projects across the state (external link) hat are already underway using SB 1 dollars.
Moreover, California State Parks received a portion of vehicle registration and off-highway vehicle (OHV) fee revenues to support department operations since before the passage of SB 1 in 2017. The idea being that transportation infrastructure throughout the state negatively impacts the natural environment, so some of the related revenue from that system would go towards protecting and improving our publicly accessible natural lands.
SB 1 increased the allocation of transportation-related dollars that would flow to California State Parks. This funding source enables State Parks to create new jobs and programs to help steward and improve our state parks system, which is the largest in the country. For example, plans are underway to create 16 new jobs on the North Coast, support staff who would work closely with Save the Redwoods League to advance Redwoods Rising, among many other partnership projects to improve access, visitor amenities, and natural resources in our redwood parks.
The future of California State Parks is a high priority for Save the Redwoods League. If approved, Prop 6 would have severely limited our ability to advance this partnership at scale, undermining dozens of park support projects we are working on together throughout the redwood range. Prop 6 also threatened California’s resilience to climate change by taking funding away from bike paths, pedestrian greenways, and public transit projects.
The majority of California voters agreed that the gas tax was necessary for many reasons, and for the benefit it provides California’s redwood parks, we certainly agree.