Mass. Car Registration, Inspection Fees To Increase July 1

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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.

This article was originally published on March 12, 2014.