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State Lawmakers Propose Shifting Portion Of Vehicle-Related Fees To Road Repair Funds

Maine Public File

Some Republican state lawmakers say they want to use a portion of the sales tax to fund road and bridge improvements and repairs.

The state collects millions of dollars in motor vehicle-related fees, including taxes assessed at the time a car or truck is purchased. Some Republicans are proposing shifting some of that revenue to fix roads and bridges.

“If we take and restructure the budget, and take the sales tax from automobiles, we could basically stop the borrowing that we are doing, borrowing for the roads every year,” says Republican Sen. Jeff Timberlake of Turner.

Motor vehicle sales alone generate about $160 million per year for the state, and Republicans say they are willing to discuss other funding sources to fully address a yearly need estimated at more than $200 million a year. But Democrats say that if that means less money in the general fund for other programs, they would not go along.

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.