The plan projects $5.6 billion in annual funding just by earmarking all vehicle sales and insurance taxes, even those currently diverted to California's general fund, to transportation projects.
SACRAMENTO — Assemblyman Jay Obernolte is championing a $7.8 billion transportation funding plan he also co-authored, which Assembly Republicans say will restore finances for state transportation projects without raising taxes.
Assembly Bill 496, called the Traffic Relief and Road Improvement Act (TRRIP), is a three-principle plan, state Republican officials said Wednesday: "Transportation funds should be dedicated only to transportation uses," "taxpayers should not be asked to pay new taxes or fee increases," and "the government has a responsibility to provide greater accountability and efficiency."
The plan projects $5.6 billion in annual funding by earmarking all vehicle sales and insurance taxes, even those currently diverted to California's general fund, to transportation projects. Obernolte and other co-authors expect the plan will generate $2.2 billion by "immediately repaying money that was raided from transportation funds during the recession."
TRRIP, Republicans say, will support local road repairs, capacity improvements, highway maintenance and public transit projects.
"Our crumbling roads are one of the most urgent infrastructure needs facing our state," Obernolte, R-Hesperia, said in a statement Wednesday. "We can no longer wait — we must make transportation funding a priority this year."
The proposed legislation would devote 30 percent of the plan's funding for traffic relief projects, establish a Transportation Inspector General and provide audits of major transportation projects in an effort to bolster oversight and transparency, officials said.
"Californians already pay the highest gas taxes in the nation and this plan provides a comprehensive solution without hurting our middle-class families," Obernolte said.
Less than a year ago, a plan authored by the Republican lawmaker who represents Barstow and the entire High Desert to boost funding for roads by $1 billion annually without raising taxes was killed in committee.
AB 2094 would have redirected a 0.25-percent sales tax that currently pays for local transit projects to state and local roads, and backfilled those redirected transit dollars with cap-and-trade revenue from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.
Shea Johnson can be reached at 760-955-5368 or SJohnson@VVDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DP_Shea.