Friday, January 4, 2008

The latest on driver fees

Civil remedial fees, also known as "abusive driver" fees, were a big deal in 2007. Designed as a way to raise money for roads without raising taxes, the fee scheme assessed big bucks for certain driving offenses. But only against Virginia residents. Negotiated between the governor’s office and leaders in the General Assembly, the program passed without much fanfare last winter. But when the fees took effect in July, the public complained loudly.

The General Assembly will be back in Richmond starting next Wednesday, and driver fees are on the action-item list.

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling yesterday called for a repeal of the fees.

And Del. Dave Albo, R-Fairfax, one of the architects of the original scheme, says that the problems can be fixed. He has introduced House Bill 161, which changes the terminology and tries to address the complaints.

Now the fees are called “liquidated damage fees” and they will hit everyone, including out-of-state offenders. The bill reduces the number of offenses to which the fees apply, dropping such charges as driving without a license and reckless driving.

The Daily Press has an interview with Albo and an analysis of the measure in this morning’s edition.

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