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Division grows over new Arizona Public Safety Fee on car registrations

Posted at 9:49 PM, Dec 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-11 08:22:48-05

New developments surrounding the growing outrage over Arizona's new car registration fee. A Valley lawmaker is now proposing a repeal, aimed at keeping drivers from paying an extra $32. 

"If you're going to raise taxes on the public, you need to say what you're doing," said state lawmaker Michelle Ugenti-Rita, who is now moving forward with plans to repeal a $32 "public safety fee" popping up on vehicle registrations.  

The money specifically funds the Department of Public Safety in its day-to-day operations and in turn, frees up more money from a different fund to go toward road construction and repair projects. The District 23 rep takes issue with the process behind the price hike and says her constituents do too.

"They feel like they were tricked, like in the dead of night when nobody was looking," said Ugenti-Rita.

She says she voted against House Bill 2166 when it passed in April, giving the head of ADOT the authority to set the fee, which many lawmakers thought would be closer to $20. An ADOT spokesman told ABC15 in November the goal is to do what is best for Arizona drivers.

"We all value what government does in terms of protecting public safety," said ADOT spokesman Doug Nick. "Whether it's DPS or ensuring that our highways are modern and up to date and safe and well-maintained, I think that comes at a great value to our consumers who we value very highly as consumers and fellow citizens in our state."

Not everyone agrees.

"Repeal the bill, start fresh," said Ugenti-Rita.

The fee took effect December 1 and most drivers will pay $32 per car, per year. Street-legal golf carts and off-highway vehicles have to pay $5.