Clarification of Ada County car registration fee ballot measure

Posted at 5:39 PM, Oct 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-24 19:39:46-04

A measure being voted on in the upcoming election is raising questions with some early voters who are asking for clarification on the ballot language.

Ada County residents will vote this November On whether or not they approve of a county vehicle registration fee increase from a $40 maximum to a $70 maximum, but some are under the impression they're already paying more.

"I noticed that there's a line item that says registration, and we're paying $45 for two of our older vehicles each, and $57 for our newer vehicle," said Ada County resident Jo Snyder.

That registration line item being one of many line item fees, like EMS, ISP, Administrative, and HDR.

"People don't realize they actually pay two registration fees. There's a local registration fee in Ada County, and then there is a state of Idaho registration fee," said Craig Quintana, Spokesman for Citizens for Better Transportation.

And both fees are listed, separately, on the yearly registration receipt. State registration is listed as the simple "registration", and the Ada County fee is listed as HDR, which stands for highway district registration, an abbreviation many voters and Ada County residents aren't familiar with, but something Jo wishes she had known before she went to the polls.


"I think it would help if the people that fill out the registration bills would, you know, it's an alphabet soup that they've got listed on there, you know, if they could clarify it," said Snyder.

The ballot language indicates the current county registration fee is $40 for a new car and less for an older, with the minimum being $24. This resolution proposes an increase of $30 for those cars less than three years old.

The average car on Ada County roads is a year 2009, which means the average owner would pay an increased $18 annually, about a nickel a day, with newer cars paying more because ACHD must follow state laws allowing registration, which charges based on a vehicle's age.

More confusion is being raised as Ada County is the only county within Idaho charging those local vehicle registration fees.

"The state law that enables it is set up to only allow it in places where you have a consolidated, single, countywide highway district, where there is only one, and it's ACHD," said Quintana.

If voters pass the measure, that added $7.5 million dollars in the Ada County Highway District budget will go toward projects to fight traffic congestion, building major road improvements, and creating sidewalks, bike lanes, and safe routes to school.

While no one typically looks forward to any kind of fee increase, citizens for better transportation assure us Idaho registration fees are still relatively low cost in comparison with surrounding states. The total cost to register a new vehicle in Ada County is around $110 versus approximately $217 Montana, $115 In Oregon, and $350 Washington.