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Mass. Car Registration, Inspection Fees To Increase July 1

BOSTON — The state Department of Transportation’s board of directors voted Wednesday to hike registry, inspection and road test fees, making it a bit more expensive to own a car in Massachusetts.

Non-commercial vehicle registration fees would increase from $50 to $60 and annual state car inspection fees would jump from $29 to $35. Road test fees would increase from $20 to $35.

Transportation Secretary Richard Davey says the fee hikes are needed to close a $53 million gap in the department’s budget.

“It’s never a good time to ask people to pay more, but it’s also never a good time to have a blown out tire get struck in traffic, to be on a broken down train, and that’s the reality of our transportation system now,” Davey said. “We’ve got to make investments.”

MassDOT officials pointed to a series of factors for its decision to approve the higher fees, including their efforts to end what they call the “bad fiscal practice of operating expenses from capital budget.”

They said the last time the state inspection fee was raised was in 1999. Road test fees have not been increased in more than a decade. They also point out that the cost of a road test is generally a one-time expense for most drivers.

The agency will host public hearings on the fee increases before they’re scheduled to take effect on July 1.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom.

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  • X-Ray

    Is the buget include just that required to run the RMV or is the DOT budget also include that to supplement the inefficient operations of the MBTA?

  • Lawrence

    Well if they just reduced some of the corruption and stealing our money to give to their campaign donors we would not need to raise taxes.

  • Cheer Chen

    It could be worse… driving in Boston is not actually all that miserable/expensive.

    Mass actually has relatively cheap insurance compared to the rest of the country (see Michigan). I pay about $30/month to insure my Civic (found at 4AutoInsuranceQuote)… and I also pay less then $20 usually for Gas (thanks to GasBuddy)..

    While the tax is excessive, and our taxes in the state are high, it’s actually not that expensive to drive here… and our roads are in relatively good shape. Just drive down into Rhode Island to see what roads look elsewhere.

  • Jasoturner

    It’s great that as soon as government needs money, they can just raise fees or taxes. Too bad we poor schlubs who work for a living can’t emulate them and just demand higher pay when our expenses go up. Instead, we have to tighten our belts and improvise ways to save money and be more efficient…

  • jefe68

    I would not have a problem with this if there was some improvements in public transportation. However there does not seem to be and I would add that the servicing of Hyde Park, Roslindale, and Mattapan is subpar.
    Witness the so called new Indigo line, which is now turning into a huge joke.
    It’s canceled during rush hours several days a week.

    This will hit working folks the most.

    • PaulD

      Why should fees on drivers be used to fund the MBTA? Most drivers in the state have no opportunity to use the T so why should a person in Pittsfield be paying to subsidize the cost of a subway or bus ride in Boston? Why not raise MBTA fairs?

      • Johan Corby

        Mass transit costs less than building out more roads. As for why Pittsfield tax money goes to the T, why does Boston tax money go to Pittsfield roads many Bostonians will never drive on? It’s one big pot of state money and everyone benefits from better infrastructure. There’s a world of things that affect you well beyond what you see in a day.

        • PaulD

          At least to some degree, Pittsfield roads are paid for by local taxes, though I realize that doesn’t pay for all of it.

          That said, you’re not really answering the questions. How does someone in Pittsfield benefit from improving the MBTA? Whatever answer someone can come up with will be tenuous at best.

          • Johan Corby

            Vaguely: better transit in the economic core means people can get to work, to school, the businesses to spend money easily. It entices business to move to MA. GRANTED, they’re not in Pittsfield, but that’s not how taxes work. You don’t just pay for the things you personally benefit from. A rising tide raises all boats. My “Boston” taxes pay for schools in Pittsfield so there is an educated workforce in the state that stays around, pays taxes, spends money, and builds the economy.

          • PaulD

            No, that’s not how taxes work and we’re not talking about taxes anyway. We’re talking about fees. Fees are supposed to be targeted to fund what the fee relates to. In this case funding the system that registers and inspects cars. Taxes are also, often, put in for targeted purposes and are then, later, co-opted by politicians when they take the revenue and use it for purposes outside the original charter. Finally, schools are largely funded locally and I’d like to see a study proving that Pittsfield sees economic benefit from extending a subway line on the MBTA. They’d surely receive more benefit from better local roads or, possibly, local public transit.

            So, once again, why not raise MBTA fees to cover it?

          • Marc Ebuña

            As Johan said, ‘a rising tide raises all boats.’ It’s convenient that you’ve chosen Pittsfield as an example for your libertarian argument considering the fact that Pittsfield is trying to incentivise construction of the assembly and maintenance facility for an upcoming Orange and Red Line procurement for the MBTA, a capital expense that is being funded by the state’s larger pot of money: http://williamstanleybp.com/2-million-incentive-could-bring-mbta-car-makers-to-pittsfield/

            Pittsfield will also be seeing a $113 mil rail upgrade to prep for commuter rail service into neighbouring CT’s network into New York City. That is also coming out of the pot. An increasing number of the bond-funded capital projects are going toward capital upgrades elsewhere in the state, too.

            Also, roads aren’t wholly self-sustaining on the user fees alone, so if you were really concerned about revenue only being used for purposes within the original charter, surely you’d be amenable to a massive gas tax to fund the resultant MassDOT highway operations gap. (Local roads maintenance through Chapter 90 funding come from bond legislation, not user fees – my mistake.)

            Suffice it to say, the RMV fees increase that started this argument in the first place are staying within MassDOT as its OPERATIONS revenue so it can stop using CAPITAL funds for operations instead of road reconstruction.

          • PaulD

            You should read the whole thread. I picked Pittsfield as a retort to the post saying we need to fix the MBTA, since it’s as far away as possible within the state. As for roads, those are primarily funded through gas taxes (and tolls where applicable).

            If it’s liberation to say that taxes and fees should be targeted, so be it.

  • Johan Corby

    You find someone to build and maintain aging traffic infrastructure for free and we’ll take you up on your brilliant plan.

  • cmorabito

    Yay Massachusetts! – More fees! I was wondering what to do with all my extra money.

  • Lawrence

    Whatever happened to the Occupied Movement? It is this sort of theft of taxpayers money that was one of issues they were fighting for.

    It’s the waste, fraud and abuse of our money by the politicians that cause more money out of our pocket year after year.

    Where is the outrage?

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