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Proposed 'Road User' Fee Would Help Fund California Highway Repairs, Maintenance

LOS ANGELES ( — Would you pay about 50 bucks year to help cover the cost of repairing and maintaining California's roadways?

Lawmakers in Sacramento have proposed a $52 annual fee for funding road maintenance with $1.8 billion in fees, with as much as $800 million going to road improvements and the remaining $1 billion back into the state's general fund, according to reports.

The proposal from Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins would require a two-thirds vote for approval since it would create a new fee.

Street and highway maintenance had traditionally been funded by a Truck Weight Fee paid by commercial vehicles to mitigate additional roadway damage caused by heavy trucks, but those funds were depleted when lawmakers used the proceeds instead to help offset state budget deficits.

The Road User Charge, which would be charged either as part of your auto insurance or as an option when drivers register their car or truck, would also backfill the Truck Weight fees, allowing the $1 billion per year to be spent on transportation without additional budget cuts, according to Atkins.

Nearly 60 percent of California's roads need rehabilitation or pavement maintenance, while an estimated one-third of all bridges and overpasses statewide show signs of deterioration or do not meet design standards, Atkins said.

"California has overcome a dangerous recession in our very recent past, the present is fiscally stable and looking stronger every day, so now we need to look ahead and help fix the future," said Atkins. "And addressing transportation funding so we can have better, safer and faster infrastructure is a key part of fixing the future."

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