ACHD Proposes To Give Commercial Vehicles “Free Ride,” Stick Little Guys With Tax Hike

Ada County Highway District Commissioners will consider a craftily worded fee hike proposal at their July 11 noon meeting which places new fees squarely on the back of small passenger car owners while exempting the rigs that chew up our roads.

The proposal, which is planned for the November 6 ballot, sets forth a fee schedule that deceitfully and deceptively excludes commercial vehicles like those fleets owned by Idaho Power, UPS, Fed-X and others who profit from using the Ada highways and streets and obviously inflict more damage than small “four wheelers.”

The GUARDIAN noticed the disparity in the existing fee schedule after it passed 10 years ago, but “the voters had spoken.” This time we want to let folks know in advance they will in essence be subsidizing all the big (and small) businesses using our roads to turn a profit. Even more insidious is the provision to make the fee hike permanent until repealed by voters.

Under the proposal, the fee schedule would be tacked onto the standard Idaho State registration fees. Here is the dirty little secret:

Each pickup truck and each other motor vehicle having a maximum gross weight not in excess of eight thousand (8,000) pounds, designed for the purpose of carrying passengers, and not used for hire:

Vehicles seven (7) or more years old ……. $42.00
Vehicles three (3) to six (6) years old ……… $63.00
Vehicles one (1) and two (2) years old ………… $70.00

Each motor vehicle, equipped to carry passengers and operate primarily for hire and each school bus, identified in I.C. 49-402(2) $28.00

Each motorcycle and terrain vehicle $14.00

That the duration of the local vehicle registration fees implemented and collected will continue until altered or repealed by voters. Upon approval of the electors, the existing 2008 authorization of the local vehicle registration fees shall be repealed on January 1, 2019.

We see this exemption for any truck over 8,000 pounds to be nothing less than a “payoff” to the business community to garner support for the proposed fee hike on the backs of the little guys. The wording “not in excess of 8,000 pounds” is obviously meant to avoid the phrase, “VEHICLES IN EXCESS OF 8,000 POUNDS WILL NOT BE TAXED.”

Here is the complete agenda proposal as well as the proposed ballot language.
Resolution 2242 2018 Vehicle Registration Fee Resolution and Ordinance Notice of Public Hearing

Idaho Code 40-1416 is the enabling legislation allowing the ACHD to impose fees. We cannot find any exemption for the commercial vehicles. Also it appears to us 40-1416 limits rates, but does not specifically exclude ANY vehicles.

Any legislator willing to seek an AG opinion would certainly be welcomed. (“Are any vehicles specifically exempt from paying local highway district fees under Idaho Code based only on weight?”)

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. If I am wrong I would appreciate someone letting me know.

    It is my understanding that a road (pavement) design is based on Equivalent Single Axel Load (ESAL) which is 18,000 pounds per axel. That is equal to 1 ESAL. So, a truck that weighs say 120,000 pounds has an ESAL of about 6.6. A pick up weighing 6000 pounds would have an ESAL of about.33 whereas a passenger car of 3500 lbs. would be about .19.

    The whole point of this is a truck will wear out a road much faster than a passenger car or pick up by a huge factor. That is one of the reasons our interstate system is falling apart. When the system was designed the pavement was designed for loads of about 60,000 lbs. or about 3.33 ESAL. Than our political leadership, with lobby efforts from the trucking industry raised the limit to 120,000 lbs. That means our roads are wearing out twice as fast as they were designed for. And those of us driving vehicles under 8000 lbs. are paying for this by increased gas and registration taxes. For those of you driving the interstate highway system count the number of commercial trucks on the roadway.

    Speed has a very limited effect on pavement wear. Hence the legislature requiring trucks to reduce speed, in some states has very little to do with wear.

    It’s just typical smoke and mirrors, just as ACHD proposal is. That is one of the reason ACHD is now designing intersections with reinforced concrete. The old design using just asphalt was showing severe rutting after just a year or so. Reinforced concrete is a much better design, but we are paying for it because it was the trucks causing the problem, not your every day family car.

    It’s time the trucking industry starts to pay the true cost of wear to our road system and for ACHD and IDOT tell us what the real cost of these increased weight limits are on our road system and bridge design.

  2. I have a big problem with ballot language that promotes/justifies the measure. Candidates don’t get to do that. Why should ballot measures? They did the same thing on the previous increase. At that time I talked to the County Clerk, and he agreed that it was inappropriate. However, he was obligated to put whatever they submitted on the ballot. It is very unfair to those who oppose, but their statements don’t end up on the ballot. As for the trucks? You are correct.

  3. Goldthorpe strikes again. That man really needs to go.

  4. Dollars and Sense
    Jun 20, 2018, 7:53 pm

    I think it will pass. The surfs are so stupid they almost always pick wrong if math is involved. Plus we now have huge numbers of tax loving libs here.

    8000 pounds is a bit light and will not include a whole bunch of personal use pickups. Does the guy drafting the new policy drive an F-250 by chance?

    EDITOR NOTE–There will no doubt be a run on commercial plates for the bigger pick ups.

  5. ACHD is exempt
    Jun 20, 2018, 8:14 pm

    Clearly ACHD wants to exempt their own trucks from paying registration fee.

    EDITOR NOTE–ALL government trucks are exempt. Interesting to note school buses owned by First Student (serving Boise Schools) will have to pay $28 per bus, but West Ada owns its buses and will not have to pay tax. Even so, the $28 flat fee is less than the average private vehicle.

  6. Many thanks to Dave the Guardian and other sleuthers who help us see through the mud!

  7. ACHD currently has the “bigger is better” mentality. This will just stuff their coffers with cash to spend as they please. The current strategy is to build our way out of congestion, which can be extremely costly at intersections.

    This is an interesting to be asking the voters in an ACHD election year to raise vehicle registration fees. Until you remember that Goldthorpe and Woods are running unopposed. While taking on an incumbent can be daunting, sometimes we just need a vocal critic to help further the conversation. More info:

    Jim Hansen has been the lone voice of reason by asking to reevaluate how ACHD is spending money.

  8. I am going to bet that ACHD will also use taxpayer money (or craftily reassigned money) to buy TV and radio ads to promote this clearly deceitful tax.

  9. TAX other counties
    Jun 21, 2018, 9:42 am

    So all the cars that drive in everyday from outside the county pay NOTHING!
    VOTE NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. More taxes to come!!!
    Jun 21, 2018, 9:45 am

    Yet to add to your tax enjoyment:

    1. Taxes for a new stadium
    2. Taxes for more roads
    3. Taxes as a local option – Pushed by Dems
    4. Taxes for CWI expansion (ONLY Ada and Canyon County!)
    5. Taxes for the homeless
    6. Taxes for “Services” to add to to State coffers
    7. Taxes on internet sales
    8. Tax deferrals to CCDC as they expand “renewal” area that do not need renewed.
    9. Taxes …..
    10. Taxes……….

  11. I am offended
    Jun 21, 2018, 9:47 am

    I am offended by this proposal. ACHD cannot continue with the management philosophy it has in place. It does have something to do with personalities and power plays within the organization. When trying to plan with them, their answers are usually, “So sue us.”

    Hit the road ACHD, and break up in to pieces that match city borders. Then you’ll have a better picture of how to correctly allocate resources.

    People must speak up and there must be an anti camapaign. Sickos.

  12. Every taxing jacka– in this city and county thinks that the voters are stupid. They bet that the stupid voters will not even read the words they are voting on.

    Plus they spend OUR MONEY to employ and hire PR people to spin it to the media.

    Then every news person in town just re-vomits the PR crap they are fed – and that is all the stupid voters use to make a decision to cast their vote.

    All due to stupid voters.

  13. Stupid voters may just be ill or non informed about the candidates or proposals on the ballot. That being said how do WE get the information given to us by the Guardian in the equation?

  14. Dave. While I understand and agree with your frustration over the proposed amd current registration fee not including commercial vehicles, the answer is ACHD cannot include them under state law.

    Per idaho Code 40-1416, we are specifically constrained to follow idaho Code 49-402 (which applies to registration fees for vehicles not in excess of 8,000 pounds) and which excluded fleets which are addressed in Idaho Code 49-434 and 49-435.

    We must follow the law and we do follow the law.

    Hope this clarifies.

    EDITOR NOTE–It does clarify (sort of) and I appreciate the legal citations. In the interest of transparency I would hope the commishes explain to taxpayers that only the little guys are paying and the enabling legislation does indeed exempt those heavy rigs over 8,000 lbs from the STATE fees. Any legislators out there willing to seek an AG opinion would be welcome. I.C. 49-402 refers to the collection methods and time frames, but I don’t see that it constrains ACHD from charging a fair and equal fee schedule to ALL vehicle owners. ACHD cannot charge more than two and a half times the state fee schedule, but those vehicles over 8,000 lbs. also pay a state vehicle fee (49-434), it is considerably higher than the one for little guys.

  15. western guy
    Jun 21, 2018, 6:24 pm

    To ACHD is exempt: West Ada school district has a contractor to operate their busses, but does the school district still own them?

  16. Sara… get it changed.

  17. ACHD is out of control. Voting themselves ever-increasing “budgets” and ever-fewer “services” to the taxpayers. Merely “following the law” is babble-speak because our state lawmakers are incapable of producing any comprehensive or logical legislation that isn’t mired in “good-ole-boys” back-slapping muck.
    As their ambitions grow, our pocketbooks shrink.

  18. Reading through the article and comments, I missed any note about what vehicles in excess of 8000 lbs DO pay. Any help to understand appreciated.

    EDITOR NOTE–That’s the point! They DON’T pay the local fee.

  19. I have come to REALIZE THAT just because something is LEGAL does not always make it RIGHT.

  20. They won’t tax the rigs that move the economy across all state lines.

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: