AAA Idaho supports higher truck registration fees
Registration fees for heavy trucks should be jacked up to cover the cost of damage they do to roads.
So says AAA Idaho.
“We see a system that’s broken,” Dave Carlson, AAA Idaho director of public and government affairs, told the board of the Idaho Transportation Department Wednesday. Referring to a recent independent study concluding that heavy trucks aren’t putting up their fair share in relation to how much damage they do, he said, “We think we must begin to close the gap.”
Carlson gave the board AAA’s take on how to address ITD’s staggering funding shortfall in anticipation of Gov. Butch Otter’s “Task Force on Modernizing Transportation Funding” meeting for the ninth and final time next week and settling on recommendations to the Legislature on how to bring in more money. ITD figures it needs around $250 million more each year just to keep up with maintenance.
Car owners pay registration fees of about $45 per year while operators of semi-trucks pay about $3,400 annually. Still, the ITD-commissioned study concluded cars and light trucks are overpaying for roads by 47 percent, while heavy trucks are underpaying by 33 percent. A new based-on-weight charge on big trucks could generate $50 to $60 million per year. ”The study verifies that the equity gap between what cars and big trucks pay for our roads has become a full blown breach,” reads material Carlson presented board members. Trucking industry advocates have said the study does not properly consider benefits to the economy that big trucks deliver. No one representing the industry testified Wednesday.
Members of Otter’s task force, chaired by Lt. Gov. Brad Little, have indicated they favor an increase of Idaho’s 25-cent gas tax, a tax on wholesale fuel sales, creating an excise tax on car rentals, or raising registration fees on cars and light trucks, and not raising fees for big trucks.
Putting an additional burden on cars and light trucks “sounds like a replay of Governor Otter’s recommended transportation revenue packages from 2008 and 2009, which relied on gas tax and registration fees paid disproportionately by passenger vehicles,” reads AAA’s argument. “And that action would be at odds with the charge issued to the task force to find suitable, long-term funding solutions.”
AAA, which counts 100,000 members in Idaho, grudgingly supported Otter’s call last year for a 10-cent gas-tax increase.