A House committee has placed under further discussion a bill that would amend the fees for heavy vehicle registration.
The House Ways and Means Committee, led by Rep. Angel A. Demapan (R-Saipan), is holding off on acting on Rep. Lorenzo Deleon Guerrero’s (Ind-Saipan) House Bill 20-151, which seeks to increase registration fees of heavy equipment vehicles commonly used for construction projects.
The bill notes that the need for heavy equipment vehicles continue to rise due to several construction projects throughout the CNMI. These vehicles, which share the same roads as vehicles used for regular commutes, tend to put more strain on paved roads. H.B. 20-151 proposes to increase the registration of heavy equipment vehicles ranging from at least 50 percent to 200 percent.
The bill proposes that vehicles under 2,999 lbs have a registration fee of $150 instead of $50; vehicles that weigh 3,000 lbs to 4,999 lbs have a registration fee of $200 instead of $100; vehicles that weigh 35,000 lbs to 7,499 lbs have a registration fee of $300 instead of $200; and vehicles weighing over 7,500 lbs be registered at $500 instead of $400.
The bill also affects low- boys with a 100-percent increase from $50 to $100 and all other self-propelled vehicles from $100 to $150.
Fees would be deposited into a special account per each senatorial district of its collection, where 60 percent of the funds will be reserved for road repairs of primary roads and 40 percent for road repairs of secondary roads.
Rep. Ivan A. Blanco (R-Saipan) suggested that, instead of implementing a large increase in registration fees, to instead implement a 25-percent increase across the board. Blanco also pointed out that that the Department of Public Works rents heavy equipment vehicles for government projects. He said that if the fees are increased, DPW would be affected and, ultimately, the fees would be shouldered by the Legislature.
After further discussion, the committee decided to first obtain the comments of DPW, Department of Public Safety, and the Saipan Chamber of Commerce before further discussing the bill.