Lawmakers in North Dakota are struggling to reach an
agreement on whether the state’s fuel tax should be increased to pay for
House and Senate negotiators are trying to work out the
final details of the state Department of Transportation’s budget bill. They
want to raise enough state money to get the maximum share of federal highway
aid, The Associated Press reported.
The three House members favor a higher fuel tax. They have
proposed hiking it by up to 4 cents a gallon. North Dakota’s tax on diesel and
gasoline is now 21 cents a gallon.
Rep. Robin Weisz, R-Hurdsfield, told the news agency a fuel
tax increase would lessen the blow to residents in the state by requiring
out-of-state drivers to pitch in.
Senators, however, worry that fuel stops along the Minnesota
border would be hurt by a tax increase. Minnesota’s tax is now 20 cents a
Sen. Tom Trenbeath, R-Cavalier, said stations along the
border wouldn’t be able to increase fuel prices out of fear drivers would fill
their tanks across the state line.
The budget bill – SB2012 – also includes a provision to
increase motor vehicle registration rates by $10. It would generate about $15
million over two years.
State lawmakers raised registration
for most vehicles by $7 in 2001 and $3 in 2003.
Registration fee amounts depend on a
vehicle’s age and weight.
Negotiators continue to discuss the budget as the
Legislature prepares to wrap up work by month’s end.