California voters rejected a mostly Republican-supported attempt to overturn a 2017 law that boosted gasoline and diesel taxes by 12 and 20 cents per gallon respectively, The Hill reported on Wednesday.
The measure also would have repealed a new annual licensing fee for vehicles ranging from $25 to $175.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is from California, and House Speaker Paul Ryan were part of the national Republican leadership that championed the initiative to overturn the taxes. Many said the real reason the GOP wanted it on the ballot was a way to increase conservative voter turnout for the midterms, The Hill reported.
Californians have a very high cost of living, including some of the most expensive fuel taxes in the U.S.
The purpose of the tax, which took effect in Nov. 2017, was to encourage people to use less gasoline so as to help reduce air pollution.
The expected $54 billion in additional revenues over the next decade is meant to be used for transportation infrastructure projects, such as highways and trains.
Gov. Jerry Brown had warned that overturning the taxes would put a stop to urgent repairs to the state’s roads and bridges, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Brown said the vote was very significant, because “where else have people voted to tax themselves to pay for what they need,” adding that “When this Trump recession comes we’re going to have $5 billion going to transit and roads and bridges in California.”
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