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By Etta Pettijohn

New Mexico drivers could be paying more to register their vehicles if a bill in the House Appropriations and Finance Committee moves forward for a floor vote.

House Bill 321, introduced by Rep. Jim Trujillo, D-Santa Fe, Rep. Roberto "Bobby" Gonzales, D-Taos and Rep. Rudy Martinez, D-Bayard, would establish the extra fees beginning July 1.

The new rates would apply to all passenger vehicles, tractor trailers, road tractors and buses, but not trailers. If the measure passes, registering a vehicle weighing less than 2,000 pounds would cost an extra $27 a year on top of the current fees; and a vehicle weighing 2,000 to 3,000 pounds would cost an extra $15 annual fee above what they pay now.

Sponsors estimate the bill’s passage would generate between $102.7 million to $118.5 million in additional funds in fiscal year 2020, with 90 percent of that new money going into the state highway fund to improve roads around New Mexico, while the other 10 percent would go to the Department of Transportation's transit fund to upgrade and improve buses in the Northern Central Regional Transit District.

Following is a breakdown of the added costs per vehicle:
- A registration fee of $27 provided that after five years of registration, calculated from the date when the vehicle was first registered in this or another state, the fee is $21.

- A registration surcharge of $15 for a vehicle whose gross factory shipping
weight is more than 2,000 but not more than 3,000 pounds.
- A registration fee of $39, provided that after five years of registration, calculated from the date when the vehicle was first registered in this or another state, the fee is $31; and

- A registration surcharge of $20 for a vehicle whose gross factory-shipping weight is more than 3,000 pounds:
- A registration fee of $56; provided that after five years of registration, calculated from the date when the vehicle was first registered in this or another state, the fee is $45.00); and

- A registration surcharge of $57; and
- for a vehicle registered pursuant to the provisions of this section, a tire recycling fee of $1.50.

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