Ramsey County Board Passes $10 Wheelage Tax
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
On July 16, the Ramsey County Board approved a wheelage tax of $10 per vehicle, which is expected to raise about $3.8 million annually to repair or replace roads badly in need of fixing.
The Hennepin County Board will take up the same issue Tuesday afternoon, and is expected to have enough votes to pass a similar measure.
Ramsey County officials say the tax will supplement state transportation funding, which they say has not kept pace with road demands. The Public Works Department says that 58 miles of county roads need attention, amounting to about $26 million in deferred maintenance.
Until this spring’s legislative session, only the seven Twin Cities metro counties had the authority to levy a $5-per-vehicle tax. Now all 87 counties do.
In the Twin Cities, Anoka, Washington, Carver, Scott and Dakota already collect the $5 wheelage tax. All but Anoka County have indicated that they will allow the tax to increase to $10.
Ramsey County operates 295 miles of county roads and highways, a system that also includes 91 bridges, 325 traffic signals, more than 30,000 signs and 9,000 drainage structures. The estimated value of the system is more than $1 billion.
The wheelage tax is applied as a surcharge to license registration fees that are charged when vehicle tabs are issued. Tax proceeds by law go directly into transportation needs.