Higher vehicle license fee starts today in California

| 10/2/2003

Starting today, truckers based in California will pay a higher vehicle license fee to the state.

The vehicle license fee dropped in 1998 after the General Assembly passed a law that cut the payments made by vehicle owners subject to California registration, according to a letter from Ken Reed, chief of the state’s IRP office. However, the same bill Reed wrote required the fee to return to its previous, higher level when California’s general fund did not have enough money to pay for the “offset,” or reduction.

California is in the midst of a significant budget crisis, and major cuts are expected in many programs. That means the 1998 law, requiring the fees to go up, has been triggered.

Reed’s letter, dated June 23 and sent to Robert Pitcher, president of the International Registration Plan Inc., said the change would be effective Oct. 1, 2003.

The fee is based on a percentage of a truck’s value. On a $100,000 rig, the fee last year would be $650. After Oct. 1, the fee on that hypothetical truck will rise to its former level, roughly $2,000. However, the older the truck, the lower its value and the lower the fee its owner would pay.

According to The Associated Press, the fee goes to local governments to pay for such services as police and fire protection. Several candidates in the current race to replace Gov. Gray Davis have offered to overturn the increase, and offered a number of plans to replace the revenue.

Car drivers are also paying a higher fee starting this month. The AP said the average car fee would increase from $76 a year to $234.

Truckers in the state also face higher weight-based IRP fees, which passed the General Assembly and now only lack the governor’s signature to become law.