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Florida legislative proposal would introduce higher fees for electric vehicles – CBS Miami

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami / NSF) – Annual electric vehicle fees would rise to help build charging stations as the state expects another move away from gas-powered cars and trucks following a Senate-backed proposal Tuesday.

Senator Jeff Brandes, a Republican from St. Petersburg who advocates new vehicle technologies, wants fees to be charged for a grant fund of around $ 10 million per year so that public and private companies can set up so-called fast charging stations in the future from increased demand.

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“It would at least help to build this infrastructure early on,” said Brandes. “Otherwise, they can wait another five or six years to build that infrastructure. The Flying Js, Pilots, and RaceTracs of the world are (may) not ready to install DC fast charging stations (stations) as it is not economically viable for them. With the grant program, however, it will be more economical for them to offer some kind of DC fast charging product. “

Brandes predicts that the proportion of electric vehicles on Florida’s roads, which now accounts for less than 1 percent of all traffic, will be 15 to 25 percent by the end of the decade.

Members of the Senate’s Subcommittee on Funding for Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development unanimously supported the proposal and repeatedly called the proposal a good conversation starter. Parts of the proposal are contained in two bills (SB 138 and SB 140) that were approved by the committee on Tuesday.

“It’s going to be right here with us in five, ten years, and we’ll still be sitting here if we don’t start doing something to say how we’re going to solve this problem.” Senate Majority Leader Debbie Mayfield, R-Indialantic, said.

“There is more work to be done on this particular subject,” Mayfield continued when she reached out to Brandes, which is limited to 2022. “And hopefully you still have a year to support us in this process.” . ”

According to Brandes’ proposal, fully electric cars would be charged $ 135 per year on top of existing license taxes, with tractors and other vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or more being charged a fee of $ 235 per year.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles would charge a flat fee of $ 35 because they still need gasoline. According to a Senate staff analysis, the bill would exempt low-speed vehicles such as golf carts.

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Annual fees would increase by $ 15 in 2025, and lawmakers would be asked to look into the future of fees in 2030.

Brandes said the fee totals were designed as a middle ground to offset some of the gas tax revenue that is expected to be lost as more people switch to electric vehicles. He found that a Ford F-250 pickup can generate around $ 235 in gas tax revenue annually.

Similar measures in-house (HB 817 and HB 819) have not appeared in committees.

One concern of lawmakers is that the money would not replace the gas tax dollars that are now being used on transportation projects.

“I think we will ultimately have to use more of that revenue for the actual infrastructure maintenance and new road construction,” said Senator Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater. “But I think it’s a good start.”

Brandes said that once the grant program is in place, lawmakers could incorporate electric vehicle fees into the annual road program.

To make his case for the proposal, Brandes said he could also help the state evacuate hurricanes.

“We have an infrastructure today that is struggling to support internal combustion engines in large-scale evacuation,” Brandes said. “I think we need to think and think about adding EV charging infrastructure in places that can be charged on a scale fast enough to be evacuated. It’s one of the bigger challenges that is truly a challenge in Florida that many other states don’t face. “

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(© 2021 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. Do not publish, broadcast, rewrite, or redistribute this material. Florida News Service Jim Turner contributed to this report.)

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