California has the nation's third highest fuel taxes, but nevertheless has one of the nation's lowest rates of charging users for highways and other transportation services, according to a new study by the Tax Foundation.
Despite fuel taxes of over 50 cents a gallon, the Washington-based organization found, those and other "user" taxes and fees account for just 30.3 percent of state and local government spending on transportation services, including mass transit, and just 22.7 percent of spending on roads, streets and highways.
The state is the 33rd lowest state in the first category and 39th in the second. On average, states finance 35.8 percent of all transportation spending from user revenue, and 32 percent of roads, streets and highways.
The Tax Foundation argues that most transportation costs should be covered by user taxes and fees, rather than general revenues. Delaware ranks No. 1 in that approach, covering well over 50 percent of its costs with user revenue.
PHOTO CREDIT: Associated Press file, 2008