Auto fees drive on

Get ready to pay more to renew your vehicle registration, beginning next year.

The Colorado House passed a transportation-funding bill Wednesday that raises the average vehicle registration fee by $41 over the next three years. But that’s the average fee. If you own a larger vehicle, you’ll pay more because the fees are based on the weight of your vehicle.

We have already made our views known on this. While we understand the need to find new revenue sources for highway funding, we think it unfortunate that the state Legislature is raising this fee — essentially a tax on vehicle ownership — at a time when the economy is deteriorating.

It’s true that $41 probably won’t be the determining factor in whether somebody buys a new car, but it adds to the product cost for an industry that has been among the hardest hit in this recession.

It also hurts those who already have vehicles, but are suffering financially. Think of a recently laid-off gas worker who owns a large truck and will now see a greater portion of his diminishing income go for taxes on that truck.

The bill must now be approved by a House-Senate conference committee, then go to the governor for his signature. But there is little likelihood it will stall at either step.

We can only hope that, in addition to providing money for the state’s roads and bridges, the legislation will lead to the creation of some fraction of the 10,000 jobs its supporters claim it will.


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