Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte vetoed a bill Thursday that would have significantly increased fees on electric vehicles.
House Bill 188 from St. Regis Republican Denley Loge would have imposed fees on top of annual registration costs on all types of electric vehicles, including cars, trucks and motorhomes. The goal of the bill, according to supporters, was to tap electric vehicles for funding state highways as other vehicles do via gas taxes.
The governor indicated in his veto letter that he believed the fees in HB 188 were too high.
“While I support the intent of the bill to require electric vehicle owners to pay what is essentially a user fee into the state’s highway trust fund, as do other vehicle owners that consume gasoline, HB 188 would establish some of the highest fees in the nation,” the letter states. “The automobile industry is poised to offer more electric options and these fees would discourage the purchase of these vehicles in Montana.”
Opponents of HB 188 have also criticized the fees as far too high, although some said the concept of a fee could be palatable. Light vehicle owners would pay an additional $195 annual fee while a heavy truck owner would pay up to $375 annually.
Gianforte noted in the veto letter that the $375 fee could capture many common trucks and would be the highest in the nation by almost double. That concept “goes against my plan to ensure Montana maintains a competitive tax environment and is open for business,” the letter states.