Backers of an initiative to repeal the recent gasoline tax and vehicle registration fee increase have received authorization to begin gathering signatures, Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced.

SB 1, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown April 28, increases the gasoline excise tax by 12 cents a gallon, the diesel fuel excise tax 20 cents per gallon, the sales tax on diesel to 5.75 percent, beginning Nov. 1, and raises the vehicle registration fee $25 – $175, depending on the value of the vehicle on Jan. 1.

The revenue from the tax and registration fee increases will be used to repair roads, highways and bridges and improve public transportation, Brown said.

Republicans in the Legislature had called for transportation taxes and fees to be used for transportation purposes, instead of being sent to the general fund, as the alternative to increasing taxes.

The initiative’s author, Assemblyman Travis Allen, R-Huntington Beach, a candidate for governor, said he was forced to author an initiative because the law could not be overturned by an referendum because it included an urgency clause.

If the initiative was approved by voters, it would result in reduced state transportation revenues of $2.9 billion in the 2018-19 fiscal year, increasing to $4.9 billion annually by the 2020-21 fiscal year, according to an analysis prepared by the Legislative Analyst and Department of Finance.

Valid signatures from 365,880 registered voters — 5 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2014 general election  — must be submitted by Jan. 8 to qualify the measure for the November 2018 ballot, according to Padilla.

—City News Service

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