State parks fee likely to be on November ballot

April 20, 2010

Make room on the November ballot for yet another measure–environmental groups have apparently gathered enough signatures to let voters decide whether to charge California motorists $18 a year to help state parks. [San Jose Mercuy News]

Petition organizers submitted 760,000 signatures to state election officials yesterday in support of the measure; 433, 931 valid signatures are required. Officials have until June 24 to certify the petitions for the November ballot.

If approved by voters, the new law would increase automobile registration fees by $18 per year, funding that would go directly to state parks. Supporters say that 85 percent of the new funds will go to the parks; the other 15 percent will go to other departments such as Fish & Game and the state Ocean Protection Council.

In return, motorists will get a special vehicle tag providing free admission into any one of the state’s 279 public parks. Visitors currently pay anywhere from $6 to $15 to visit parks.

The proposed measure is expected to raise $500,000 a year for state parks, an increase of $120 million over current fees.