Legislature considering a change in how federal highway money is matched
The chairman of the North Dakota House Appropriations Committee says the House has proposed a change in how the state matches federal highway dollars.
Rep. Don Vigesaa (R-Cooperstown) said traditionally, the state has used revenue from the gasoline tax and motor vehicle registration fees. But Vigesaa said the state hasn’t raised registration fees, and vehicles are getting better gas mileage.
"So the gas tax revenues we're getting doesn't create enough revenue to match those dollars," Vigesaa said in an interview.
Under the federal Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act, North Dakota will receive an additional $785 million.
"And that requires a match," Vigesaa said.
So the House is proposing using half of the motor vehicle excise tax. That's the tax paid on vehicle purchases.
Vigesaa said that would be $169 million.
"That is general fund dollars," Vigesaa said. "So that is a departure from he past, where we have traditionally not used general fund dollars for the match. But we need to do that, because if we don't use the dollars, they will go to another state."
The state Senate is now looking at that proposal.