By Sara Vargas
Some students on campus commute from miles away.
Caitlyn Stinson-Diess commutes from Temecula and is having a hard time accepting the new increases, which will raise the tax on gas to 30 cents per gallon.
“I commute from Temecula, which is about 60 miles, one way,” said Stinson-Diess, a third-year liberal arts student. “I cannot afford to pay more for gas.”
While the Democrats in the state capitol see the increases as a victory to pay for road repairs and public transit, some Cal Poly Pomona students don’t think it’s necessary.
“I get that we have potholes everywhere, but all these increases need to stop,” said Jacob Gregg, a second-year civil engineering student who commutes from Orange County. “It doesn’t make sense.”
In a 27-11 vote by the California Senate, gas taxes and vehicle fees will be raised by more than $5 billion per year.
Gov. Jerry Brown pushed the bill and pressed Democrats for their support due to a backlog of repair and replacement projects that totaled more than $100 billion throughout the state.
During a speech at the beginning of April, Brown emphasized the hard work that has been put into the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017.
“This bill was not something that was cooked up a month ago,” said Brown. “This is the product of talk and of appearing and of compromise, which will improve the quality of life in California.”
According to the California state website, the increases will raise an estimated $53 billion over the next 10 years.
The increases include a 12-cent per gallon increase on gas tax, a 20-cent increase on diesel tax and a more than 5 percent hike on diesel sales tax.
Drivers will also face additional fees.
A new vehicle fee will charge drivers between $25 and $175 depending on the value of one’s car, as well as a $100 annual fee on zero-emission vehicles.
Additionally, vehicle license fees will increase by an average of $38.
When taxpayer dollars begin to come in later this year, the first $34 billion raised will go towards repairing potholes and crumbling California roads, highways and bridges.
The next $7 billion will go to public transit projects.
Funds will also contribute to reducing traf_ÀåÂ_Äc on the busiest commuter routes in California.
For some students, they are hopeful about the potential changes in congestion on the roads.
“There is so much traf_ÀåÂ_Äc everywhere, especially in Los Angeles and around Pomona,” said Adrian Kalwaitis, a third-year food science and technology student. “I am all for spending less time on the freeways.”
“If it takes me less time to get from one side of the city to another, then the bill will be worth it,” said Kayla Pechter, a third-year biology student. “California just needs to make it happen.”
The gas tax increases will go into effect Nov. 1, while the increases on new vehicle registration fees begin in 2018.
Fees on zero-emission cars will start July 2020.
Courtesy of Caltrans
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