UPDATE as of Wednesday, Nov 7 | 12:51 p.m.: With 100 percent of precincts reporting, 45 percent have voted yes on Prop. 6, 55 percent have voted no. 

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A much-debated gas tax hike billed as raising billions of dollars a year for statewide transportation improvements will remain in place, with voters rejecting the ballot measure that would have repealed the increase.

Proposition 6 would have repealed the hikes that took effect in November 2017, raising the tax by 12 cents per gallon for gasoline and 20 cents per gallon for diesel fuel. The increases included in Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair & Accountability Act of 2017, are projected to raise $5.2 billion a year, with the money earmarked for road and bridge repairs.

Gas tax opponents gathered more than 640,000 petition signatures across the state in an initiative drive to put the repeal effort on the ballot. The drive was spearheaded by former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, and it was funded in part by Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox.

"The cost of living is already on the increase in California and families are struggling to survive. This is unacceptable," DeMaio said earlier this year of the gas tax hike. DeMaio and other Prop 6 backers contend that under the gas tax and vehicle registration fee hikes, the average family of four can expect to pay almost $800 more this year alone.

A ballot argument co-authored by Cox in favor of Proposition 6 dismisses contentions that the gas tax funding is critical to fixing the state's roads and improving transportation in the state.

"Don't be fooled by opponents who claim there is no money to fix roads if Prop 6 passes," the ballot argument states. "If the transportation- related taxes and fees we already paid before this new tax increases took effect were spent on transportation, the state would have $5.6 billion annually for transportation needs, without raising taxes."

Opponents of the measure blasted the proposition, insisting that repealing the gas tax would eliminate funding for transportation projects statewide. In Los Angeles, a recent City Administrative Office report estimated that eliminating SB1 funding would cost the city $34.5 million in funding this fiscal year alone, while the county could lose more than $1 billion.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who championed the gas tax, has been vocal in his opposition to Proposition 6.

"The test of American strength is whether we defeat this stupid repeal measure which is nothing more than a Republican stunt to get a few of their losers returned to Congress," Brown said during a recent event at Los Angeles Union Station. "And we're not going to let that happen."


California Prop 6 Explained: 

To view video on YouTube, click here.

SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - News 8 takes a look at California propositions that you'll be voting on in November and exactly what they mean.

Proposition 6 eliminates certain road repair and transportation funding, and requires certain fuel taxes and vehicle fees be approved by the electorate, according to California's Official Voter Information Guide

It repeals a 2017 transportation law's taxes and fees designated for road repairs and public transportation. 

Related: California Props 1-4 explained: All you need to know about bonds

A 'Yes' vote on this measure means: Fuel and vehicle taxes recently passed by the Legislature would be eliminated, which would reduce funding for highway and road maintenance and repairs, as well as transit programs. The Legislature would be required to get a majority of voters to approve new or increased state fuel and vehicle taxes in the future.

Related: California Prop 5 explained: Property taxes for seniors

A 'No' vote on this measure means: Fuel and vehicle taxes recently passed by the Legislature would continue to be in effect and pay for highway and road maintenance and repairs, as well as transit programs. The Legislature would continue not to need voter approval for new or increased state fuel and vehicle taxes in the future.

CA Prop 6
CA Prop 6