The Blue Ribbon Commission on Transportation Funding met again last week to continue discussions regarding recommendations to address revenue options for transportation funding. The Commission is inching closer to making final recommendations that are likely to include a proposal to increase the gas tax by 5 cents for 3 consecutive years followed by indexing, a 50 percent increase to vehicle registration fees, and increasing the titling tax to 6.5 percent.
The Commission determined a need of $870 million annually in new revenue to address transportation needs, which include $350 in highway user revenue for counties and municipalities. Therefore, the Commission determined that revenue funding recommendations should be limited to areas with direct relationship to transportation, opting to exclude sources such as property and sales taxes, which were in a previous menu of funding options.
The preliminary recommendations discussed include:
- Protect the Transportation Trust Fund through a constitutional amendment to ensure money designated for transportation are not diverted for other uses
- Change in statute to restore $350 million in local Highway User Revenues through a five year phase in
- Increase in state’s 23.5 cent-per-gallon gas tax by five cents per year over the next three years ($491 million annually), followed by indexing to rate of inflation
- A 50 percent increase in vehicle registration fees ($165 million annually)
- Increase titling tax rate from 6 percent to 6.5 percent ($69 million annually)
- Increase MVA fees ($34 million annually)
- Double emissions fees from $14 to $28 ($22 million annually)
- Increase MTA fares and end free ridership program ($25 million annually)
The Commission has not yet voted on the recommendations. It is expected to vote and finalize the recommendations for the final report during its next meeting on October 25, 2011.