REGION — It is one of the hottest issues in the state.
The “gas tax” is controversial, to say the least, and former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio is attempting to repeal the Road Repair and Accountability Act, known as Senate Bill 1, through Proposition 6.
DeMaio, who founded Reform California, successfully gathered enough verified signatures for the referendum, which he has railed against since the California State Legislature passed the measure in 2017. A “yes” vote is to repeal the tax.
One of his biggest criticisms is the state can redirect those funds to other areas instead of their intended use for road and highway repairs. Another is the tax will cost residents $700 more per year to fill up their tanks.
Additionally, DeMaio has railed against Gov. Jerry Brown and the recent Department of Motor Vehicles audit, which DeMaio says hasn’t gone far enough. He also says DMV funds are being diverted, which is leading funds from SB 1 to cover overhead costs with the DMV.
“Californians, before this tax hike went into effect, were already paying the second-highest tax in the country and we have the worst roads,” DeMaio said on Fox News earlier this year. “The money has been stolen. It’s diverted year after year. The money continues to go the General Fund for salaries and benefits and pensions for government bureaucracies.”
However, there are many agencies in support of SB 1 and urging residents to vote no on Proposition 6. The San Diego Association of Governments Board of Directors Chairman Terry Sinnott recently spoke to the Carlsbad City Council about its Build North Coast Corridor Program, which includes railways, bridges, bike paths plus highway improvements.
SANDAG has reported SB 1 has generated more than $1 billion in revenue since it was passed, which has led to funding projects faster. Sinnott said if the tax is repealed, many projects would be delayed or have to find other sources of funding before construction could begin.
The Los Angeles Times, meanwhile, reported once powerful allies of Yes on 6 are now diverting time and money to more competitive races.