Co-chair of House transportation working group prefiles bill that would create annual fees for hybrid, electric vehicles

10/04/2017 06:19 PM

FRANKFORT — As state representatives consider ways to shore up Kentucky’s Road Fund, the co-chair of a House working group exploring that issue has prefiled a bill that would establish annual fees for hybrid and electric vehicles.

Rep. Sal Santoro, a Florence Republican who co-chairs the House Working Group on Kentucky’s Transportation Infrastructure, has proposed a three-tier system that would set a $50 fee for hybrid vehicles model year 2019 or newer, $100 for hybrid-electric plug-ins and $150 for cars that run solely on electricity.

Those amounts, due when drivers renew their registrations under the prefiled legislation, would be the established floors for each category, with fluctuations tied to increases and decreases in the state’s gas tax.

For Santoro, his legislative proposal is about fairness and similar to one that other states have begun to implement. He says drivers with electric and hybrid vehicles are using the state’s road system without paying an adequate share for maintenance and construction.

“Presently there’s about 400 electric cars in the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” Santoro told Pure Politics Tuesday. “These people go, they plug their car in at night and enjoy themselves in the morning to drive on our roads. The hybrid cars — 29,000 hybrid cars in Kentucky. They just simply go in, buy gas sometimes, sometimes they don’t.”

Santoro expects his prefiled bill, if passed into law next year, would generate $1.7 million for the Road Fund each year.

When asked about the 2019 cutoff for hybrid vehicles, Santoro said that seemed like an appropriate point to begin charging those who drive hybrids.

“We’re just hoping that these people would feel that it’s their obligation to maybe come up and pay the fee, but this day and age, I doubt that would happen,” he said.

At this point, Santoro says he doesn’t expect his proposal will be expanded to include all drivers of hybrid vehicles.

“I doubt it, but I’m always optimistic, and you never can tell what this legislature may do,” he said.

Santoro says he expects to discuss the proposal with House leaders in the coming weeks.

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers Kentucky politics and all the goings-on at the State Capitol. Kevin was born and raised in Frankfort so he grew up around politics and has always had the drive to follow the political process and hold lawmakers accountable. Before joining Spectrum News Kevin covered government and politics for The State Journal in Frankfort. You can watch Kevin’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135.

4 Comments

Comments

  • Cumberland Gap wrote on October 05, 2017 09:53 AM :

    Most of the people driving these vehicles care about the environment. I even know a 30 year old Republican woman who does. She’s R because she thinks it may increase her status in her group. People may think she has more money if she has the R membership. However, many of these drivers read the Bible and feel compelled to care for ALL creation. Now, Republican leaders want to charge more fees and taxes on ‘em – just for following the Bible! But they get elected saying the opposite about fees/taxes. Will their opposition speak up?

  • Cumberland Gap wrote on October 05, 2017 09:53 AM :

    Most of the people driving these vehicles care about the environment. I even know a 30 year old Republican woman who does. She’s R because she thinks it may increase her status in her group. People may think she has more money if she has the R membership. However, many of these drivers read the Bible and feel compelled to care for ALL creation. Now, Republican leaders want to charge more fees and taxes on ‘em – just for following the Bible! But they get elected saying the opposite about fees/taxes. Will their opposition speak up?

  • Honest Parley wrote on October 05, 2017 08:11 PM :

    Mr. Gap:

    If you drive a gasoline or diesel powered vehicle, you pay a tax on fuel that goes toward the maintenance of Kentucky’s roads and bridges, and toward the construction of new roads and bridges. It’s a taxation system based on your volume of usage. The more you use the roads, the more you cause wear and tear, the more fuel you buy and the more taxes you pay. Hybrid vehicles use about half as much gas as conventional vehicles, but can enjoy the same or more (or less) road usage, yet they pay far less in tax given that they use far less fuel. All electric vehicles pay no fuel tax and yet have usage rights to our public roadways. They cause wear and tear from their use, yet pay far less than conventional fueled vehicle drivers in taxes. They do pay a tax when they purchase their vehicle that goes toward the Road Fund.

    This suggestion offered by Rep. Santoro has nothing to do with penalizing those who choose alternatively fueled vehicles because of their concern for the environment. Rep. Santoro’s suggestion is solely focused on ensuring that everyone who uses our roadways pays their fair share of the cost of maintenance and construction of Kentucky’s roads and bridges.

    Now of course no one is being penalized for reading their Bible, unless of course they’re doing so while driving (and assuming they’re not listing to the Bible on CD or an MP3 player, or maybe on tape for some people). But we appreciate the laugher we enjoyed from your “logic.”

    Something tells me that you know all that Mr. Gap. Your strident partisanship is either blinding you to simple facts or you’re willfully choosing to ignore them in some lame attempt to demonize sound policy making because it originates with a Republican. Your narrow mindedness belies the implied breadth and width of your chosen alias.

  • Raymond Hurst wrote on October 06, 2017 09:45 PM :

    Now I’ve seen it all. Rep. Santoro mentions ‘‘our’‘ roads and Honest Parley mentions ‘‘our’‘ public highways. I guess that if you try to save the environment or save on gas, you are using someone elses road ? I’ve heard all my life about how we need to save gas by these very methods. Now we are going to penalize these people for being conscientious and doing what they have been asked to do for years? How about just raising the tax on gas to make up for the loss? Oh wait. That would offend a bigger bloc of voters and maybe get someone voted out of office. Bad politics there, and besides, we already tried that and our gutless Legislature said no. Honest said these people already pay a tax when they buy their vehicle. How many times must we tax them? How about this; let’s tax them $10.00 a day. They can afford it. Look what they are saving on gas. That would pay for using ‘‘our’‘ roads.

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