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TESTIMONY OPPOSING LD 1806

Senator Collins and Members of the Transportation Committee,

My name is Jennifer Wixson and I’m from the Town of Troy. I’m speaking to you today as a former Troy Selectman and current member of the Town’s Budget Committee.

The Town of Troy maintains approximately 29 miles of road. The state, by contrast, maintains 14 miles of road in Troy, less than half of what the town maintains.

We receive no state aid for the care and maintenance of our roads (except for a reimbursement of $31,500 to maintain state-owned roads in town). As a result, we rely partly on the exercise taxes we collect from vehicles (which by law must be spent on roads) to help care for our roads.

In my opinion, LD 1806 will negatively affect the sale of hybrid and electric vehicles in this state and as a result negatively affect the amount the Town collects in excise taxes. Hybrid and electric vehicles already cost $8,000-$10,000 more than their gasoline counterparts, thus making them costlier to register. Plus, as you know, the excise tax is based upon the sticker price of the vehicle, not the actual sales amount, which is usually much less. Tacking an additional registration fee of $150 or $250 on top of excise taxes that are already some of the highest in the nation will discourage sales of these vehicles. When I was a selectman I heard almost as much grousing about the cost of registering a vehicle as I did about the roads. I actually know snowbirds who stay six months and one day in Florida so that they do not have to register their vehicles in Maine.

The end result of your proposed legislation for the Town of Troy will be less excise taxes collected thus less money to spend on our roads. “An Act To Ensure Equity in the Funding of Maine’s Transportation Infrastructure by Imposing an Annual Fee on Hybrid and Electric Vehicles” doesn’t seem very equitable when, a. the Town of Troy will lose excise money from this proposal, and, b. the Town will not receive any of the proposed fees collected, despite the fact that we maintain twice as much road in town as the state.

 We have one road in town, the Myrick Road, that since I’ve been involved in state government (about twenty years now) has cost us almost as much as all of the other roads in town combined. In fact, at our last Budget Committee meeting we actually discussed the possibility of returning this road to gravel because we can’t afford to repair the pavement year after year. Do you know why this road costs us so much money? I’ll give you a hint—the road is not getting torn up by Priuses driving up and down it. (And believe it or not there are a lot of Priuses in town!) No, it’s the big trucks and heavy tractor trailers using the Myrick Road as a crossroad that are destroying this road. Your proposed legislation doesn’t get to the heart of the problem—that it is heavy vehicles causing damage to the roads and bridges in the state of Maine, not hybrids and electric vehicles.

 Finally, taking my Budget Committee hat off and speaking to you on a personal level, I urge you not to support LD 1806 because I believe this bill signals to the younger generation that we are not a state moving forward, but rather going backward, stuck in an oil-based economy. We need to let young people know that Maine cares about leaving them a clean, healthy place for them to raise their families. Frankly, we need to do whatever it takes to keep and attract young people to the state of Maine!

 In short, I urge you not to support LD 1806. Send this misguided legislation packing—send it down the road!

 Thank you.
Jennifer Wixson
PO Box 4
Troy, ME 04987

 

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