Kansas Panel To Consider Special Fees For Electric Vehicles

Nov 29, 2018

A panel of state officials is working this week on recommendations for funding the Kansas highway system, and they could propose additional fees for hybrid and fully electric vehicles.

Gas taxes are a major funding source for the state’s roads, but hybrid and electric vehicles pose a funding challenge.

Fuel-efficient hybrids pay less gas tax and fully electric vehicles completely bypass the state’s 24 cents per gallon tax on gas.

Republican state Rep. Troy Waymaster said that is a problem.

“Because there is wear and tear on the highway system from those vehicles, but yet they don’t contribute by purchasing fuel to pay for the gas tax,” Waymaster said in an interview.

Waymaster is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and one of more than 30 members of the task force on transportation. The group is making suggestions for the state’s next multi-year transportation plan, as the current 10-year program, T-Works, is coming to an end. Kansas lawmakers will consider the proposals next year.

The panel could recommend a special fee for electric and hybrid vehicles or even a tax based on the number of miles driven.

Waymaster said right now, any revenue from that would be small, but he said they have to find ways to fund the highway system in the future when there could be more electrified vehicles on the road.

“We need to project out to the future and see what the needs will be,” he said.

More than 15 states have already imposed extra taxes or fees for electrified vehicles, according to the Sierra Club. That group has opposed special fees for electric vehicles, arguing that they sometimes mean electric vehicle owners end up paying more than owners of gas-fueled vehicles.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse Reporter for Kansas Public Radio, a partner in the Kansas News Service with KCUR, KMUW, and High Plains Public Radio. Follow him on Twitter @kprkoranda.

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