Friday, July 20, 2007

Defending Civil Remedial Fees

Yesterday, the Governor and leaders from the General Assembly defended the imposition of civil remedial fees, sample stories are here and here. Their defense focused on the basic premise that civil remedial fees "make the roads safer." First, as we pointed out here, there is no support for that statement. No study has shown that the imposition of civil remedial fees in other states has increased road safety. Second, the spin ignores the first sentence in the new law: "The purpose of the civil remedial fees imposed in this section is to generate revenue." The word "safe" is not found anywhere in the statute. Addressing the "increase safety" argument, we ask again: If the plan achieves something not seen anywhere else and "road safety" increases, in turn decreasing the amount of civil remedial fees imposed and collected, does that mean the transportation bill will be underfunded?