Thursday, September 01, 2016

California is going to piss off a lot of motorists real fast... they call it the "Road Charge Initiative"

From the newletter by Toni Atkins, former California state assembly Speaker of the House, currently running for the federal senate seat. 

The California Road Charge Pilot is Underway

 Back in July, constituents were interested in a pilot project the state is working on to test a different way to pay for road maintenance in California.

Currently, road maintenance is funded by charging a tax on gasoline. Cars are more fuel-efficient, people are buying less gas, and that's good, but it also means the gas tax is generating much less revenue to fund road maintenance.

And cars that are more fuel-efficient are on the road just as much as before, causing the same amount of wear and tear, and as the state's population grows, more cars are using the road but the gas-tax revenue isn't keeping pace.

Senate Bill 1077 (in 2014) established a technical advisory committee to design a pilot project that would test various ways to measure how Californians are using the roads.

The project, called the California Road Charge Pilot Program, launched in July. Thousands of volunteers have been recruited to test five different methods of gathering data. The project will last for nine months. After that, the technical advisory committee will issue a report that includes recommendations for how the state should switch to a road-user charge, if, in fact, the state decides to switch.

Early last year, I suggested asking all California motorists to pay about $1 per week, (in addition to the gas tax we pay at the pump which isn't getting repairs done) which would generate roughly $1.8 billion to help repair our roads. I considered that a conversation starter – a way to open the debate over how to solve a serious problem. That conversation morphed into an extraordinary session of the Legislature, called by Governor Jerry Brown last summer to run concurrently with the regular session and tasked with finding a way to raise the additional revenue needed.

The session on transportation lingers on. It lingers because a lot of money is needed, and there are hardened opinions on both sides of the political aisle about where the money should come from. Solving big problems isn't easy.

Moving to a system where road repairs are funded through a user fee rather than an outdated gas tax is an idea well worth pursuing, and I look forward to seeing the advisory committee's recommendations in the next year or two.

To learn more about the project, please visit


  1. Simply as a comparative exercise,
    If you were to take a Chevy Caprice/Holden Calais to the DMV to register for use on public roads, what does it cost?
    Here the cost varies between the states, but where I live in Australia.
    A v8 Holden/Chevy Calais/Caprice registered for 12 months,
    all conversions in USD:
    Registration fee $501.72
    Traffic Improvement
    Fee $39.45
    Compulsory Third Party
    Insurance $248.60
    Duty (Val US$ 11,300.00)
    Number plate Fee $21.28
    Total Due $1263.57

    Plus all the fuel it can drink at $4.86 US/Gal on average.
    Also on average 50% of what is paid at the pump is tax with less than 5% actually spent on the roads that generate this income stream.
    That's TAXtacular! And don't even be late with the funds as the farging ice holes will get you with the number plate recognition software! That will cost you thousands as an un registered vehicle.

    It also costs the same to have my A roadster sit quietly for a good part of the year in case I want to be able to drive it outside of ridiculously strict 'Club Registration' restrictions because it has a Chrysler heart.

    I know the money could be better spent but.....

    1. AAARRRGGGH! Damn... that is expensive, and the same cost for your roadster even though it's rarely driven? What are governments wasting all our tax dollars on? It sure isn't fixing our roads. Not even patching them up

  2. The other component I neglected to mention, a comprehensive insurance policy on that same car will cost you between US$980.35 and US$1810.98. The variable is your driving history and area where you live.
    To drive this vehicle I will need a driving license. 5 years access to our roads will cost US$114.00.
    So far, I haven't made a payment on this vehicle either....

    That's why when visiting the U.S., I don't care what gas costs or how much I use. Nor does it really matter what the hire car cost is.
    Because I am yet to visit another country anywhere else in the world, where I can walk up to a Hertz counter with a credit card in hand and drive out in a V8 sports coupe for average money.

    In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
    Tis the star spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
    O'er the land of the free, and the home of the Challenger and Camaro.