Backers of ballot measure
to raise car tax end push
Backers of a proposed ballot measure to more than double the vehicle-license fee to pay for road improvements have decided to drop efforts to put it on the Nov. 4 ballot.
The measure would have phased in a 1 percent hike in the license fee to raise from $3 billion to $4 billion annually. The fee has been 0.65 percent of a vehicle’s market value since the late 1990s, with a temporary increase to 1.15 percent from May 2009 through June 2011.
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Monday, Will Kempton, the executive director of Transportation California, said his group and its allies “have decided to put our initiative on hold. ... We’ll continue to work with stakeholders, the Legislature, the administration and the public to identify and implement a solution to our transportation infrastructure problems.”
Kempton and other supporters point to a huge backlog of road improvement projects in California, with little new money to pay for them. Past increases have not been popular. In mid-2003, then-Gov. Gray Davis raised the fee to 2 percent, which was what it had been before lawmakers began reducing it in the late 1990s. The increase contributed to his defeat in the recall election that October.
– Jim Miller