Proposed bill to double Texas vehicle registration fee

All vehicles in Texas must have one, but the $50 annual cost for vehicle registration may soon double if lawmakers pass a proposed bill.

State Representative Rene Oliveira isn't ready to give it the green light.

He talked to Action 4 News from Austin via Skype.

"These are still tough times," the democrat for District 37 said. "We're still coming out of the greatest recession since the Great Depression of the 30's. Raising fees or taxes is going to be difficult."

The additional revenue would fund transportation projects like road repairs.

Federal and state gas taxes remain the main source for construction and maintenance.

Reports indicate Texas is ranked 18th in the nation for the highest vehicle registration rates.

The fee hike would generate about $1.2 billion, according to lawmaker estimates.

And while some drivers support the measure, others call the fee nothing more than an additional tax.

"Find somewhere else to get the money," Mike Tailor, a Harlingen driver said. "It's kind of tight right now."

Maria Caballero believes only drivers with expensive vehicles should be impacted.

"A lot of people can barely afford what we have to pay right now," the Primera driver explained. "Why not tax the Hummers, the Cadillac TMs."

Louie Betancourt is a driver from Brownsville.

He supports the hike because of the high cost for vehicle repairs due to bad roads.

"To me it doesn't concern me if I have to pay $50," he said. "I'll pay $50 to get better roads."

The bill in question would generate 10 times the amount of current funding for Texas roadways.

Rep. Oliveira agrees there's a crisis in road funding, but doesn't believe a regressive tax, as he calls it, which impacts the middle class and poor, is the answer.

"At this point I have reservations about a fee increase," he said.Click here to join Ryan Wolf TMs Facebook PageClick here to follow Ryan Wolf on Twitter