Proposed Increase to Vehicle Fees Defeated in Delaware Senate - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Proposed Increase to Vehicle Fees Defeated in Delaware Senate

Posted:

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state Senate on Thursday rejected a Democratic proposal to raise vehicle fees to pay for road and infrastructure improvements.

The measure was defeated on an 11-10 party-line vote Thursday, failing to win the required three-fifths majority in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Democrats had a big enough majority in the House to pass the measure on a party-line vote last month, but Senate Democrats needed and failed to get Republican support.

The legislation would have increased the tax on car sales from 3.75 percent to 4.25 percent. Penalties for late license and registration renewals, along with several other fees, also would have increased substantially.

The increases would have generated about $24 million annually, a fraction of what transportation officials say is a $780 million deficit over the next six years for road maintenance and delayed projects.

Sen. David Sokola, D-Newark, said the legislation would lead to better and safer roads while creating thousands of construction jobs.

Sokola also noted that, even with the increases, vehicle fees in Delaware would remain significantly lower than those in surrounding states.

Republicans, however, have refused to support higher vehicle fees without reforms aimed at addressing a decades-long trend of lawmakers raiding the transportation trust fund, which is intended only for capital projects, to pay for the Department of Transportation's operating expenses.

Senate Minority Leader Greg Lavelle noted that with expected passage of a fiscal 2016 operating budget next week, lawmakers will have diverted $80 million from the trust fund into the general fund over the past two years.

"That is a step backward," said Lavelle, R-Wilmington.

Bill supporters have said they are willing to put future trust fund revenue in a "lockbox," but there was no provision in the bill requiring that the additional vehicle fees be earmarked for capital projects.

Members of the budget-writing committee agreed earlier Thursday to set aside $5 million in general funds to put into the transportation trust fund, but only on condition that the Senate approve the higher vehicle fees.

Following the vote, Transportation Secretary Jennifer Cohan huddled with lobbyists representing various business groups that support the bill.

"We're just going to continue negotiating and working with legislators, and hopefully, we'll get where we need to be by June 30," she said, referring to the final day of the legislative session next Tuesday.

"This was a little disappointing, because you basically have a transportation infrastructure bill that's being held up for a non-transportation reason," Cohan added, referring to GOP efforts to tie the bill to reforming Delaware's "prevailing wage" law. That law establishes the wages that must be paid to contractors working on state projects, which Republicans say increases the costs that must be borne by taxpayers.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • DelDOT Plans Front Street Upgrades in Milford

    DelDOT Plans Front Street Upgrades in Milford

    Apr 23, 2018 10:13 PM2018-04-24 02:13:00 GMT
    Monday, April 23 2018 10:13 PM EDT2018-04-24 02:13:16 GMT
    MILFORD, Del.- Front Street in Milford may soon get a makeover. On Monday, DelDOT unveiled plans to revamp the Front Street corridor from 113 to Rehoboth Boulevard. The plans include creating new, brick sidewalks and adding multi use paths up and down theMore
    MILFORD, Del.- Front Street in Milford may soon get a makeover. On Monday, DelDOT unveiled plans to revamp the Front Street corridor from 113 to Rehoboth Boulevard. The plans include creating new, brick sidewalks and adding multi use paths up and down theMore
  • New Complaint Filed After Touch of Italy Founder Buys Back Company in Auction

    New Complaint Filed After Touch of Italy Founder Wins Auction

    Apr 23, 2018 10:01 PM2018-04-24 02:01:00 GMT
    Monday, April 23 2018 10:04 PM EDT2018-04-24 02:04:15 GMT
    SUSSEX COUNTY, Del.- Touch of Italy's ownership may be up for debate again. Days after founder Bob Ciprietti was the highest bidder for the restaurant chain, one of the original plaintiffs filed an amended complaint questioning the bidding process. A lawyMore
    SUSSEX COUNTY, Del.- Touch of Italy's ownership may be up for debate again. Days after founder Bob Ciprietti was the highest bidder for the restaurant chain, one of the original plaintiffs filed an amended complaint questioning the bidding process. A lawyMore
  • Failed Transformer to Blame for Mountaire Fire

    Failed Transformer to Blame for Mountaire Fire

    Apr 23, 2018 8:14 PM2018-04-24 00:14:00 GMT
    Monday, April 23 2018 8:14 PM EDT2018-04-24 00:14:22 GMT
    A transformer atop a building at Mountaire Farms is to blame for a fire Monday afternoon, according to the Selbyville Volunteer Fire Company.More
    A transformer atop a building at Mountaire Farms is to blame for a fire Monday afternoon, according to the Selbyville Volunteer Fire Company.More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices