California vehicle fees on the way up?

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Thursday, September 11, 2014

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that permits counties to increase vehicle registration fees to set up fingerprint identification ID programs.

Since 1997, California law has authorized counties to charge $1 surcharges on car registrations while trucks can be charged $2. The revenue is used for fingerprint identification programs.

Previously AB2393, the new law permits the 45 counties already charging vehicle registration fees for fingerprinting ID programs to increase the amount. Specifically, affected counties can charge $2 on car registration fees – up from $1. Trucks would pay $4 – up from $2.

The 13 counties not already applying a charge on vehicle registrations could implement the fees.

About $29.8 million a year is raised through the fingerprint fee.

The fees are in addition to the $46 base charge, which includes $1 for programs to encourage the voluntary retirement of vehicles that include high-polluting medium-duty trucks; a $24 surcharge to pay for additional California Highway Patrol officers; and other county fees that may be included.

A separate bill on the governor’s desk could soon result in truckers and other drivers paying a bit more in vehicle fees to benefit people who like to exercise or travel by bike.

If signed into law, SB1183 would ask voters whether local fees should be collected to benefit bike paths, bike parking and other upgrades.

Specifically, local governments could include questions on local ballots about whether to add as much as $5 to vehicle registration fees during the next decade for building or improving bicycle infrastructure. Two-thirds majority of voters would need to endorse the surcharge for passage.

Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, said his bill gives communities opportunities to improve bikeways and trail networks in an effort to alleviate congestion.

“A study of 35 metropolitan areas in the United States found that for every mile of bike lane per square mile in a city, an additional 1 percent of the commuting workforce traveled by bike,” DeSaulnier said in a recent news release.

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