Louisiana News

Louisiana bill mandating road usage fees for hybrid, electric vehicles on Edwards’ desk

(The Center Square) — A bill that would assess a road usage fee on hybrid and electric vehicles in Louisiana is now on Gov. John Bel Edwards’ desk.

The House and Senate concurred in the changes made to House Bill 1031, which was authored by Rep. Barbara Freiberg, R-Baton Rouge, on Sunday and sent the bill to the governor on Tuesday. The law, if signed by the governor, would go into effect on Jan. 1.

Owners of hybrid and electric vehicles would be required to pay annual fees of $60 and $110, respectively, and the fee would be due each year on May 15. Since the state’s Department of Revenue doesn’t keep statistics on the number of hybrid and electric vehicles registered in the state, each taxpayer will have to certify the number of vehicles subject to the fees on their income tax forms.

Freiberg told the House Transportation Committee in May that the law was needed “so those people driving hybrids and electrics are paying something for our roads and highways.”

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are 30 states with similar fees.

Louisiana’s proposed fees for these vehicles are less than two of its neighboring states. Arkansas levies annual fees of $200 for electric vehicles and $100 for hybrids. Mississippi assesses annual fees of $150 for electric vehicles and $75 for hybrids, which will be indexed to inflation. Texas doesn’t charge owners of electric and hybrid vehicles with a fee.

HB1031 would allocate 70% of the money collected to a Department of Transportation and Development fund for road and bridge projects. The remainder would go to the parish transportation fund for distribution to local governments. A fiscal note estimated that the fees would generate about $263,240 annually, but that could be subject to change since the true number of hybrid and electric vehicles registered statewide couldn’t be independently verified. The note also said fee revenues could be subject to fluctuation depending on the number of vehicles registered that would be subject to the fees.

The bill’s original form assessed fees of $400 for electric vehicles and $200 for hybrids, but it was amended to lower those costs.

The Senate passed the bill 34-1 on June 2 and the House passed the amended version by an 88-10 margin on Sunday.

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