Higher Fees to Cover DMV Operations Costs?
Why Not Higher Fees to Pay for Highway Maintenance Costs?
Governor Bob McDonnell is proposing higher Department of Motor Vehicle fees because DMV's revenues have declined due to online registrations and extension of driver license terms from 5 to 8 years. The Governor says, "All we're doing is making the ends meet by making the revenues coming in equivalent to the cost of running DMV."
Sound thinking and fair.
Yet, Highway Maintenance and Operating Fund revenues (HMOF) have not been sufficient to pay for maintenance cost for a decade due to the General Assembly's failure to adjust the gas tax for inflation and the introduction of increasingly more fuel efficient vehicles." Since FY 2002 more than $4 billion in state and federal construction dollars have been shifted from the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) to maintenance. Currently about a half billion construction dollars per year go the maintenance.*
Had Virginia's 17.5-cents per gallon gas tax been indexed in 1987 it would be 35 cents per gallon today.
A 10-cent per gallon gas "fee" increase would generate $500 million per year, make the HMOF whole again, and Virginians still would be paying less today in inflation adjusted dollars than 25 years ago.
In short, a 10-cent per gallon "fee" increase would simply, "make the revenues coming in equivalent to the cost of maintaining Virginia's highways."
If Asking Virginians to Pay to Maintain DMV is Only Fair,
So too Is Asking Them to Pay to Maintain Their Highways.
*Note: The Governor estimates increasing the portion of the state sales tax dedicated to transportation from .5% to .75% will result in $300 million/year more for the HMOF in FY 2020 - about half the projected annual shortfall.