Skip to Content
Streetsblog California home
Log In
Transportation Funding

Reports Quantify Benefits of Gas Tax Investments for California, Regions

11:23 AM PDT on August 1, 2018

The recently passed gas tax increase, S.B. 1, will add an annual $18.3 billion to the California economy, according to an analysis released by the American Road and Transportation Builder Association (ARTBA).

ARTBA, of course, has a stake in the outcome of the threatened repeal of S.B. 1, since many of the jobs created by the measure are going to its members. Still, the reports it commissioned on the economic impacts of the gas tax increase are a compelling argument in favor of investing in infrastructure.

The original report, available here, was released in February, and yesterday ARTBA released several new reports focused on specific regions of the state. Its analysis evaluates the economic benefits to individuals and the state, including new jobs, savings on vehicle repairs, and cost savings from improved safety conditions. It also includes increased economic activity from purchasing materials, in-state spending on goods and services by those with new jobs and new business, and additional income and sales tax revenue to the state.

S.B. 1 is expected to bring in an average of $5.2 billion annually over the next decade in increased revenue from gas taxes and fees, so the report's estimate of $18.3 billion annually in direct and indirect benefits to the state's economy and its residents is a pretty big return.

The report estimates there will be new jobs in many sectors, not just transportation and construction, including agriculture, mining, utilities, manufacturing, trade, information, real estate, health care, and others. The report also outlines other less easily quantified benefits, such as quality of life, safety and comfort levels for all road users, and improvements in cities and towns.

The report goes into detail about why and how these investments improve overall state economic health, including increasing access to goods and services, reducing production costs, increased efficiencies, better emergency management, fostering innovation, and the like. Benefits to individuals include household savings from reduced vehicle maintenance and better access to alternative transportation, as well as better transit travel times and reliability.

The new regional reports put numbers on benefits specific to Orange, Los Angeles, San Diego and Imperial counties, the Inland Empire, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the San Joaquin Valley.

That's not a bad return on an additional twelve cents a gallon and a realistic vehicle registration fee. And no, the gas tax is not the only--or even the main--reason gas is more expensive in California than elsewhere.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog California

Funding for Rail Projects: An Incomplete Roundup

Various federal, state, and local funding sources are lining up.

December 8, 2023

Caltrans and Metro Using “Auxiliary Lane” Freeway Widening Loophole for Non-Aux Lane Projects

Beyond just using harmful loopholes legally, Metro and Caltrans deceptively bypass environmental regulations in order to keep on widening freeways

December 8, 2023

Seamless Bay Area Five Years Later

The founders of the Bay Area's advocacy group dedicated to fare integration and rational schedules talk about a half-decade of fighting for better transit and what's likely to happen in the next five years.

December 8, 2023

California Can’t Be a Climate Leader Until it Stops Building Freeways

Caltrans should be inducing demand for active transportation and transit with protected bikeways and bus-only lanes.

December 8, 2023

Friday’s Headlines

LA buses will have AI cameras to help enforce bus-only lanes; Who rides the LA subway? San Mateo transit officials want regional discussions to include them better; More

December 8, 2023
See all posts