SoCal Economists Against Repeal of State’s Gas Tax (SB1)

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The San Diego Tribune asked a panel of SoCal economists and business experts:  Is repealing the recently increased state gas tax a good idea?

The majority of the experts (10 out of 14) responded “NO” — and here’s why:

NO: The state gas tax increase last year was the first since 1994. Over time, inflation and shifts toward more efficient vehicles have widened the gap between funding needs for transportation infrastructure and revenue generated by gas taxes. David Ely, San Diego State University

NO: If allocated properly and efficiently deployed these funds are necessary for improvements to the state’s transportation systems. There must be assurances that these new tax revenues are not diverted to other state budget needs. John Sarkisian, SKLZ

NO: The gas tax has positive impacts. In addition to providing funds for infrastructure, it also encourages conservation. And the economy is at full-employment, so there is less worry about the economy being dragged down by the tax. Alan Gin, University of San Diego

NO: While [the repeal] is a nice political issue for Carl DeMaio, we need more dedicated funds to maintain our roads. We will also need to charge an upfront road maintenance fee for electric vehicles as we move towards fewer gas-powered cars. Norm Miller, University of San Diego

NO: Gasoline tax revenues have fallen in real value substantially over the past 25 years due to improved mileage and inflation. Road repair and investment in the state’s transportation are necessary to maintain the state’s competitiveness. A better assessment of the costs and benefits of each project is, however, needed. California voters need more accountability and transparency to ensure their tax dollars are well spent. Lynn Reaser, Point Loma Nazarene University

NO: No one wants to be taxed more, but we who use the roads should pay. Autonomous autos will inevitably become the choice option for private and public transportation over the coming years, so it is optimal to maintain our roads and bridges through these type of user taxes. Gary London, London Group of Realty Advisors

NO: I don’t think we should repeal the tax as long as the state uses the funds for road and infrastructure improvements — and soon. The funds could be used for a match with the federal funds to maximize the dollars used in California. Chris Van Gorder, Scripps Health

Southern California Partnership for Jobs agrees: SB1 will provide $5 billion annually in new funding statewide to fix local streets and roads, fill potholes, reduce traffic congestion, make road and bridge safety repairs and improve mass transit. These projects will help reduce commute times and save motorists money by reducing unnecessary wear and tear on vehicles. SB1 will also help boost our local economy by putting people to work and improving the mobility of goods and services. John Hakel, SCPFJ

Source: San Diego Tribune

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