By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory affairs & assistant general counsel, ARTBA

The Sierra Club seems to have turned on transit.

The group’s Oklahoma chapter has challenged that state’s attempt to levy registration fees on electric and hybrid vehicles. In an Aug. 7 complaint, it says the fees were improperly passed by the state legislature while also contending that “motor vehicle fees are not user fees for several reasons.”

Among those reasons: such revenues go towards “more than road and bridge construction and maintenance,” including state funds for public transit and passenger rail, the complaint notes. Such thinking appears to represent a departure from the Sierra Club’s national transportation policy, which advocates “increasing public transit patronage.” That includes providing “federal and local subsidies.”

ARTBA supports the use of fees on hybrid and electric vehicles as a means for states to raise transportation revenue. Our Transportation Investment Advocacy Center has published both an economic report and model legislative language on the subject.

ARTBA will closely monitor this litigation and evaluate options for involvement.