Long-term Transportation Infrastructure Funding Addressed
Mike Seals - April 22, 2021 10:49 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY – The governor today approved legislation that will ensure all vehicles – fuel-powered and electric – that use Oklahoma’s state highways are equally contributing to the cost of maintaining the infrastructure.
Rep. Kyle Hilbert, R-Bristow, and Sen. Zack Taylor, R-Seminole, were the principal authors of House Bill 2234, The Driving on Road Infrastructure with Vehicles of Electricity (DRIVE) Act of 2021.
“With this legislation, we’re getting ahead of the curve and coming up with creative ways to make sure electric or battery-powered vehicle drivers pay the same as traditional fuel-powered motorists to travel on our state roads,” Hilbert said. “This legislation drew together many stakeholders who helped us to help us determine a fair method for all consumers to support infrastructure funding, and I’m grateful for their input.”
Hilbert explained that other states are addressing this topic as well, with some already passing laws relating to the electric vehicle industry. He said Oklahoma’s is among the most equitable.
“The DRIVE Act is a fair and equitable way to continue providing critical funding for our state’s transportation infrastructure, especially with the ever-increasing popularity of electric vehicles,” Taylor said. “I want to thank Representative Hilbert for filing this important bill to ensure all vehicles utilizing our state roadways and bridges contribute to the cost of maintaining our transportation system.”
After signing the measure, Gov. Kevin Stitt issued the following statement, “I congratulate Rep. Hilbert and Sen. Taylor for getting the DRIVE Act across the finish line and ensuring a level playing field for all drivers as well as protecting future funding for Oklahoma’s roads and bridges.”
HB 2234 enacts a three-cent tax per kilowatt hour to charge an electric vehicle (EV) at a public for-profit charging station – capturing funding from out-of-state drivers. There would be no tax for EVs that charge at home. The measure would charge registration fees for EVs based on the vehicle’s weight and type and would provide an income tax credit to Oklahomans for charging taxes paid at a charging station, not to exceed the EV registration fee. The bill combined with SB600 will exempt low-voltage and free charging stations from charging the tax.
The revenues from this bill will be placed into the Driving on Road Infrastructure with Vehicles of Electricity (DRIVE) Fund, which will supplement the state’s current ROADS Fund. The ROADS fund has been instrumental in taking Oklahoma from bottom ten to top ten in the country in bridge conditions.