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State government

Gov. Jerry Brown has a bigger plan to fund transportation, though a political deal remains elusive

 (Los Angeles Times)
(Los Angeles Times)

With negotiations stuck in a traffic jam of competing priorities, Gov. Jerry Brown's new state budget offers another effort to boost California's transportation funding by raising the gas tax paid by the state's drivers.

Brown's plan unveiled on Tuesday would add $4.3 billion a year over the next decade on everything from repairs to additional public transit. The governor convened a special session of the Legislature to deal with transportation funding in the summer of 2015, but it finally fizzled out last fall.

The governor's proposal would set the state's gasoline excise tax at 21.5 cents per gallon, up from his proposal last year for 18 cents per gallon.

Democrats legislators have suggested a larger package , while all efforts to raise the gas tax — requiring a supermajority vote in both houses — have failed.

"It is challenging, but I’m very committed to finding the revenues to fix California’s roads," Brown said in Tuesday's news conference about the budget.

Transportation advocates say the state has a backlog of $59 billion in needed state highway repairs, and needed fixes of $71.3 billion for local streets and roads.

Brown's plan continues to include a new $65 annual fee on all vehicles, as well as a $500-million infusion of cash from the state auctions of greenhouse gas pollution credits.

"Now the question is, how do we get the votes?" Brown said. "And that involves Republicans, it involves Democrats, it involves interest groups. And we work to forge a consensus."

Times staff writer Melanie Mason contributed to this report.

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