By Kerry Gallagher and Marta Lindsey, Smart Growth California

More than 800,000 signatures have been gathered to place a repeal of SB 1 – also known as the “gas tax” – on California’s November ballot this year.

Given the repeal efforts, we want to lift up this major transportation infrastructure bill and what it means for California’s communities.

Last October, Smart Growth California hosted a webinar for funders to learn about SB 1, which passed in April 2017. SB 1 raises $5.4 billion per year for the state’s transportation construction and repair budget through increases in the gas tax and vehicle fees. A 12 cent-per-gallon hike in the gasoline tax went into effect on November 1; other taxes on diesel fuel and vehicles are yet to be implemented.

On our webinar, advocates from ClimatePlan, the California Bicycle Coalition, and PolicyLink discussed their joint efforts to shape SB 1 to meet transportation justice and sustainable transportation goals. The coalition ultimately succeeded in several significant and hard-fought wins within SB 1:

  • A tripling of the state’s investment in public transportation;
  • A near doubling of monies for the Active Transportation Program; and
  • Support for planning for sustainable communities as well as workforce development.

SB 1 is hardly perfect; the coalition raised concerns about the bill, such as the “dirty-diesel” amendment added last-minute to allow diesel truck pollution to continue. Other concerns included the disproportionate focus of funding on automobile transportation and the lack of targeted investment in California’s most vulnerable communities. But even in its imperfect state, SB 1 raises a groundbreaking $8.5 billion for sustainable transportation.

Read more about SB 1 and the impact of its potential repeal on the Smart Growth California blog.


(Photo credit: Getty Images)