According to the Albuquerque Journal, Pete Rahn, secretary of the state Highway and Transportation Department, told the Legislative Finance Committee that he wants to raise the state's weight-distance tax because the state will lose $3.7 million a year when it drops its "cab card fee."
Truckers pay an annual cab-card fee of $6 if they drive in New Mexico. Drivers receive a card to prove that they are registered to pay the weight-distance tax and fuel taxes.
Of the $6 fee, $5 goes to the state road fund, 50 cents covers administrative costs and 50 cents goes to a highway beautification fund.
The cab card fee has been challenged in a lawsuit filed by the American Trucking Associations on behalf of Salt Lake City-based C.R. England. ATA says the cab-card fee is unconstitutional because trucking firms that do business in several states must pay the fee in each state. That puts such companies at a competitive disadvantage with firms that operate in only one state, violating the interstate commerce clause of the U.S. constitution.
John Chavez, secretary of the Taxation and Revenue Department, said his agency stopped collecting the cab-card fee this fall because of the pending lawsuit. He told the paper that the department is working on a settlement with ATA, but added that there is a "high probability" that a judge will rule that the fee is unconstitutional.