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California enacts $52 billion fuel tax hike for road, bridge repairs

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California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law on Friday a bill to raise gasoline taxes and other transportation-related fees for the first time in decades in an ambitious $52 billion plan to repair the state’s long-neglected roads and bridges.

The measure, increasing excise taxes on gasoline by 12 cents per gallon, from the current rate of $0.28 a gallon, and on diesel fuel by 20 cents per gallon over the next 10 years, goes into effect in November.

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It cleared the state legislature three weeks ago, on the strength of a two-thirds super-majority the Democrats wield in both houses that allows them to pass new taxes with little or no Republican support.

Republicans condemned the increases, saying the state’s transportation taxes and fees are already among the highest in the nation. They call the newly enacted measure the largest gasoline tax in California’s history.

The average motorist in California, a state renowned for its car culture, will see transportation costs rise by about $10 a month under the measure, according to Brown, a Democrat who has governed largely as a fiscal moderate.

He has refused to back any transportation overall plans that involved borrowing money.

Supporters say the measure is needed to address a mounting backlog of crumbling infrastructure projects, including more than 500 bridges statewide requiring major repair, most of them considered structurally deficient.

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The fuel tax increases, together with higher vehicle licensing fees and a new $100 annual fee on owners of electric-only vehicles, would raise $5.2 billion a year, all earmarked for road, highway and bridge repairs and anti-congestion projects.

To address concerns that those revenues might end up diverted elsewhere in the budget, the bill calls for a state constitutional amendment, to be placed on the June 2018 ballot, that would prohibit use of the funds for anything but transportation.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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WATCH: Maskless Kimberly Guilfoyle gives speech to Trump supporters the day before her positive COVID test was announced

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Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend, Trump campaign fundraiser Kimberly Guilfoyle, made headlines with the announcement she tested positive for COVID-19 with hours to go before President Donald Trump's speech at Mount Rushmore. The campaign was quick to note that this occurred before the president arrived in the state, that Guilfoyle and Trump Jr. would be backing out of attending the president's speech, and that they would not have any contact with him until further notice.

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Guilfoyle’s positive COVID-19 test a ‘set-back’ for troubled Trump campaign trying to brush off pandemic fears: report

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According to the Washington Post, the report that top Donald Trump 2020 campaign official, and girlfriend to Don Trump Jr., Kimberly Guilfoyle has tested positive for COVID-19 is not only a setback for the president's troubled campaign but also a stark reminder that the coronavirus is still spreading rapidly despite the president's denials.

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Conservatives are freaking out over the NFL playing “The Black National Anthem” before games

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In a performative gesture that does nothing to discourage police from killing Black people, the National Football League has decided to jump on the feel-good Black-ally bandwagon and play "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" (aka. the Black National Anthem) at the start of every week one game when the season opens on September 10.

The song, which was written in 1900 and set to music in 1905, will reportedly play before the usual national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner", and will be presumably be all but forgotten by the NFL after one week.

Predictably, conservatives on social media are using the hashtag #BoycottNFL to express their displeasure:

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