Iowa Gov. Chet Culver has signed a bill into law to help address a widening budget deficit for road and bridge work.
The new law, previously SF2420, uses motor vehicle registration and title fee increases to help chip away at the $200 million annual shortfall in money for highway construction maintenance. It is expected to generate $161 million a year from vehicle fees by fiscal year 2012.
Supporters acknowledge the amount is short of the $200 million requested by the Iowa Department of Transportation to address infrastructure needs. It is a good start, they say.
In hopes of appeasing likely voters in the fall, the boost in fees does not apply to existing vehicles. The bill applies to vehicles purchased after Jan. 1, 2009.
The fee-increase package will end the $65 flat fee to register pickup trucks. Instead, assessments for cars and pickups will be based on weight and value.
Business-trade trucks weighing up to 10,000 pounds will be assessed a maximum $150 fee for the 2010 model year and beyond. The fee will gradually decline to $50 over 12 years.
Registration fees for trailers weighing more than 2,000 pounds will increase to $30. Trailers weighing 2,000 pounds or less would increase to $20. Title fees for most vehicles also will increase to $20.
To view other legislative activities of interest for Iowa, click here.
– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor