Texas DMV Streamlines Vehicle Registrations

Texas is streamlining its system for vehicle registration fees.  Under the new plan, all car and light truck drivers will pay the same fee across the state.

Right now Texas has 1,745 fee categories for vehicle registration.  That's right -- nearly 2,000 different charges, depending on what kind of vehicle you drive, how much it weighs, how old it is and a plethora of other factors.

Kim Sue Lia Perkes is a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.  She says the department didn't have a crazy master plan to create such a convoluted system.

"It was just that as things got added on over the years, it began to develop into that.  And it was time, and I believe the legislature looked at this as it was time to have a reassessment of this.  It's just applying some logic to the system for everybody."

Under the new fee structure, there will be nine weight classifications, most of them apply to heavy vehicles like tractor trailers.  Car and light truck drivers will all pay the same base fee of $50.75.

"Now in your county, you may have some local fees.  For instance, some counties can charge a $10 road and bridge fee and they may assess you that.  So it may be more than $50.75, that's the base fee.  And on top of that would be any additional local fees that your county is going to be charging you."

Perkes says the new rate is about $8 cheaper for new car registrations than it used to be.  People who own older cars will no longer get a discount for vehicle depreciation, so they'll see an increase if their registration is currently less than $50.75.  The new rates go into effect September 1st.

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Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...