A Montana state legislative panel is moving forward with pursuit to address supplementing transportation funding via electric and hybrid vehicles.
Popularity for such vehicles in Montana and elsewhere is expected to grow in the coming decades. As a result, state officials are pursuing avenues to make sure they will be able to capture needed transportation revenue from owners of fuel-efficient vehicles.
The Transportation Interim Committee has filed a bill for consideration during the upcoming regular session that would tap electric and hybrid vehicles to help cover costs for road upkeep and construction.
2021 bill vetoed
The Legislature approved a bill during the previous regular session to implement a new annual fee on all-electric vehicles registered in the state. A fee on hybrid vehicles was not included.
Gov. Greg Gianforte vetoed the bill, HB188, citing the annual fee amounts for light vehicles and heavy trucks.
Light vehicle fee amounts would have been $195. Heavy truck fee amounts were slated to be $375.
“While I support the intent of the bill to require electric vehicle owners to pay what is essentially a user fee into the state’s highway trust fund, as do other vehicle owners that consume gasoline, HB188 would establish some of the highest fees in the nation,” Gianforte wrote in his veto message.
There are 31 states that impose a special registration fee for plug-in electric vehicles, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of those, 18 states also assess a fee on plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Fees range from about $50 annually for plug-in electric vehicles in Colorado, Hawaii and South Dakota to $225 yearly for plug-in electric vehicles in Washington.
The governor added that the vehicle fee would be in addition to the personal property registration fee paid annually by electric vehicle owners.
The newest version of legislation would tap electric and hybrid vehicles to help cover costs for road upkeep and construction.
Specifically, electric vehicles under 6,000 pounds would be charged $130. Affected vehicles between 6,000 pounds and 26,000 pounds would be charged $190 and $340. Electric trucks in excess of 26,000 pounds would pay $1,100 annually.
The fee amounts for hybrid vehicles would range from $70 for vehicles under 6,000 pounds to $700 for vehicles in excess of 26,000 pounds.
A report from the Montana Legislative Services Division shows there are 1,893 plug-in electric vehicles registered in the state. There are 1,002 plug-in hybrid vehicles registered.
The number of such vehicles is expected to grow each year.
The proposed fees are estimated to raise $444,00 annually by fiscal year 2025.
The bill, HB60, can be considered during the session that begins Jan. 2. LL