LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The road construction industry had hoped state lawmakers would create a $5 million pilot program to raise more money by taxing electric car owners, but lawmakers are only talking about $1 million.
Most drivers pay petrol tax, but a few electric car owners do not, although they pay a higher vehicle registration fee.
But one highway lobbyist says the allowance isn’t enough.
“Even though they’re paying a surcharge, it’s not the same as what they would pay for the gas tax,” lobbyist Lance Binoniemi said.
Road builders and others are asking the Legislature to enact a pilot program in which electric car owners would pay an additional tax based on the number of miles they drive, the so-called vehicle mile tax, or VMT for short.
Gretchen Whitmer agreed that EV owners should contribute more to road construction.
“I think it’s important for us to have a significant source of revenue because our roads and bridges have been underfunded for decades,” she said.
But the governor’s office did not present this plan.
Special interest groups, including auto manufacturers, are asking the Legislature to allocate $5 million for the VMT tax pilot, but lawmakers have cut that to $1 million.
“We think we should at least study the VMT program in Michigan so that citizens know what it is. Let it be the way it works, and we want it to be fair and just,” Binoniemi said.
Meanwhile, 20 other states already tax electric vehicles, proving parity between owners and drivers of gas-powered vehicles, with Michigan far behind.
In the next week or so, we’ll know whether the pilot program is alive or dead.