Vermont governor calls for vehicle fee boost

| 12/30/2005

Vermont Gov. James Douglas wants to increase funding for transportation in the state.

His solution is to boost motor vehicle fees and possibly dip into the state’s education fund. The two steps would raise $22 million to match an increase in federal transportation dollars earmarked for the state in 2007.

While details of Douglas ’ plan won’t not be released until January, Dawn Terrill, the state’s transportation director, told a legislative panel this month that $10 million would come from increased fees at the Department of Motor Vehicles. The remaining $12 million would come from existing state programs that get transportation-related money – including the education fund.

Terrill told the Rutland Herald that the governor would not propose efforts to increase taxes or borrow money through bonding.

DMV fees in the state were last raised in 2002. The fees, which total $76 million per year, include driver’s license renewals, automobile registrations, motor vehicle permits and fines, as well as license plate transfer fees.

Vermont ’s education fund gets $30 million of the $90 million that is raised by the state’s motor vehicle purchase-and-use tax.

Douglas said it is appropriate to shift what the education fund receives in purchase-and-use taxes to transportation, the Herald reported.

In addition to his effort to recapture transportation-related funds from education, Douglas also will attempt to send money back to transportation that goes to pay for other programs.

A formal proposal will be provided to the General Assembly when it convenes next month.