California eyes $3 billion RUC scheme to fund maintenance

Two of California’s biggest transport coalitions have proposed a Road Repairs Fund, charging road users to create $3 billion for highway maintenance.

Transport California and the California Alliance for jobs jointly submitted proposals to the California Attorney General, which they reckon if approved by voters, would raise $3 billion annually to fix the Golden State’s deteriorating roads, highways and bridges.

The proposed California Road Repairs Act of 2014 would impose a fee of 1 per cent of the market value of the vehicle.

Will Kempton, former head of Caltrans who leads the non-profit advocacy group Transport California, said the initiative would ask voters as early as November 2014 to gradually increase vehicle registration fees over four years.

Pointing to California’s impending financial crisis for road works, the proposal declared that poor road conditions cost Californian drivers more than $600 each year in vehicle maintenance, and that worsening congestion costs motorists an estimated $18.7bn every year in lost time and fuel – not to mention environmental pollution.

It presented the idea that every dollar of maintenance work that is put off, will end up costing $50 in more expensive replacements and repairs later on. And it represented findings according to a recent report by the California Transport Commission, that 58 per cent of state roads need improvements.