Repeal of SB1 Gathers Enough Signatures to Get on the Ballot

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Proponents of an effort to repeal SB 1 (last year’s increase in the State Gas Tax) submitted nearly 1 million signatures to place a proposition on the statewide ballot this November, widely exceeding the minimum number to qualify (584,000). The National Partnership was supportive of SB 1 while it was being considered in the legislature, but we switched our position to “oppose” after an amendment exempting the trucking industry from air quality regulation was added at the last minute. Nevertheless, we are supportive of most of the myriad programs supported by SB 1, especially the Active Transportation Program, which receives an extra $100 million annually because of the tax increase. The repeal proposition would not undo the trucking industry exemption; it would only undo the tax and fee provisions that pay for repairs and improvements to local roads, state highways, public transportation, and active transportation. It would also require any future gas taxes or fees measures to be approved by ballot rather than the legislature.

We will be following this effort closely, and are concerned about the impact of removing critical funding that was budgeted just a year ago. Many, if not most, counties and MPOs in the state have already approved projects based on the promise of receiving SB 1 funds and will have to cancel those plans if the repeal is successful. And the July Active Transportation Program competition will be able to fund hundreds fewer projects without the SB1 revenue. Further, we oppose subjecting every future increase in transportation revenue sources to public approval.