big news in California may be the recall of Gov. Gray Davis and
the victory of Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger, but for truckers,
the news today is about roads and cash.
roads part is a state initiative, Proposition 53, which would have
dedicated a percentage of the state’s general fund to infrastructure
improvements, including road work, on a pay-as-you-go basis. The
measure was voted on as part of the same ballot that contained the
recall. It failed, 64 percent to 36 percent.
cash part is Schwarzenegger’s promise that he would repeal the recent
increase in the vehicle license fee – now a possibility since the
actor-turned-politician has been elected.
vehicle license fee dropped in 1998 after the General Assembly passed
a law that cut the payments made by vehicle owners subject to California
registration, according to a letter from Ken Reed, chief of the
state’s IRP office. However, the same bill Reed wrote required the
fee to return to its previous, higher level when California’s general
fund did not have enough money to pay for the “offset,” or reduction.
is in the midst of a significant budget crisis, and major cuts are
expected in many programs. That means the 1998 law, requiring the
fees to go up, has been triggered.
fee is based on a percentage of a truck’s value. On a $100,000 rig,
the fee last year would be $650. After Oct. 1, the fee on that hypothetical
truck will rise to its former level, roughly $2,000. However, the
older the truck, the lower its value and the lower the fee its owner
are also paying significantly increased vehicle license fees under
the law, leading to widespread dissatisfaction with the increase.
outlets reported that the new governor-elect promised while on the
campaign trail that he would rescind the increase. However, that
would require an act of the General Assembly, and would add billions
to the state’s already multibillion-dollar deficit, according to