CHICO, Calif. - With the Soinclair gas station on Forest Avenue as its backdrop, the Northstate's most powerful Republicans stood in unity firmly against a tax increase which will raise a gallon of gas by 12 cents beginning Wednesday that is projected to raise $52 billion to improve the state's roads and bridges.
"I think people are pretty fired up about it," said Third District Assemblyman James Gallagher. "The more I'm hearing constituents think this is unacceptable."
Gallagher added he believes the increase could be repealed in the November 2018 election.
There are currently two GOP-led initiatives to repeal the tax, one of which would include a constitutional requirement that future gas and car tax hikes get voter approval first, something that didn't happen with this increase.
The Democratically-controlled state legislature voted for the increase, and Governor Brown signed it into law.
Some Republicans here think that even Democrats won't like the large bump in gas prices.
"It's a blue state, but even blue state people drive cars and they're going to be really mad about this just like anybody who lives in 'red state' California," said Jim Nielsen, 4th district state senator.
Besides the hike in the gas tax, there will be a 20-cent increase in diesel fuel, which Gallagher claims will cut further into Californians pocketbooks.
"They're really going to wake up to it when the cost of their goods and services go up because of the 20 cent increase for diesel fuel," said Gallagher, noting that businesses do a lot of trucking to move their goods.
There will be an increase in registration fees ranging from $25 to $175 per year.
According to Caltrans, among the projects happening in the Northstate funded by SB 1 includes work along I-5 and Highway 299 such as:
- Shasta County – I-5
$26.4 million pavement preservation project will improve 6.4 lane miles, update signage and lighting, and add Intelligent Transportation System elements on Interstate 5 from I-5/SR-273 Separation in the city of Anderson to the Sacramento River Bridge.
- Siskiyou County – I-5
$135.8 million pavement preservation project (135,825,000) will improve 25.4 lane miles on Interstate 5 from the Sacramento River Bridge in the city of Dunsmuir to Black Butte Overhead in Siskiyou County.
- Siskiyou/Shasta – I-5
$39.2 million bridge project (39,249,000) will revamp and improve the vertical clearance for trucks to improve freight movement on Interstate 5 at the Louie Road Overcrossing in Yreka, Moonlit Oaks Avenue Undercrossing, Miner Street Undercrossing and North Yreka Separation in Siskiyou County, and the State Route 273/I-5 Connector Overcrossing in the city of Redding in Shasta County.
- Trinity – SR 3/299
$10.7 million bridge project (10,726,000) will improve the Dobbins Gulch Bridge, Stuart Fork Bridge and Mule Creek Bridge on State Route 3, and the Grass Valley Bridge on SR-299 in Trinity County.