By Dave Bauer, executive vice president of advocacy, ARTBA
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) contributed $50,000 to an effort pushing repeal of the 2017 California state gas tax increase that is projected to generate $5 billion per year to support transportation improvements, according to a June 27 article in the San Francisco Chronicle. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) reportedly also donated $25,000 to the campaign.
The financial support from Ryan and Scalise are part of $400,000 the gas tax repeal movement has received from federal political action committees and individuals outside California.
The political group “Give Voters a Voice” submitted enough signatures June 25 to qualify a ballot measure to repeal the recently enacted 12 cents-per-gallon gas tax increase and 20 cents-per-gallon diesel tax increase for the states Nov. 6 election.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and other members of California Republican congressional delegation have been supporting the effort—McCarthy has given $200,000—as a mechanism to increase GOP turnout for what some predict could be a difficult election for Republicans in the state.
Transportation California, a nonprofit coalition of businesses and local governments, claims that 5,000 projects would be in jeopardy if the fuels taxes were repealed. ARTBA member Jim Roberts, CEO of Granite Construction, described for members of the House Highways & Transit Committee the adverse impacts that would result from the repeal during testimony on behalf of the Transportation Construction Coalition last fall.
Ryan and McCarthy both celebrated President Trump’s call to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure network with the administration’s infrastructure plan was released earlier this year.