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Update on EV Fees and Banning the Plastic Bag Ban

Utah Capitol

We’re in the final two weeks of Utah’s legislative session, which means we’re in for a wild ride full of twists, turns, and surprises until 11:59 pm on March 8.

SB 136: High Fees on Electric Vehicles and Transit Overhaul

SLCgreen and the Mayor’s Office are following many of the air quality-related bills.  In particular, as we alerted you to recently, we are concerned about the high proposed registration fees for electric and hybrid vehicles in SB0136 (though we support the funding mechanisms for more transit).

There have been a number of changes and attempted substitutions with this bill. Unfortunately, as of February 28, the fees for all-electric vehicles remain at $194/year. The fee structure also imposes changes for hybrid electric ($92/year) and plug-in hybrid vehicles ($124/year). Fees are going up on all vehicles. Standard gasoline vehicles will now pay $72/year.

However, the singling-out of clean vehicles is troubling. For those of us who care about clean air, the proposed EV fees are a significant set-back, especially coming the year after the state tax credit for electric vehicles was also rolled back.

Salt Lake City signed on to a coalition letter from Utah Clean Energy with other local governments and businesses opposing the fee. The bill has passed the Senate and now moves to the House. There’s still time to make your voice heard with your state representatives. Find your legislators here.

SB 218: Plastic Bags – Ban the Bans?

We received a lot of attention earlier this year in announcing that plastic bags and film cannot be effectively recycled in our mixed recycling program. Many residents expressed frustration that the city is not banning retailers from using single-use bags (as Park City did in 2017).  As much as we would like to explore such an option, our political experience with the state legislature indicated we would be preempted.

Unfortunately, such a bill (SB 218) has emerged and was successfully passed by the Senate on February 28. It now moves to the House.

We don’t yet know whether SB 218 or SB 136 will ultimately pass, but we want to keep you updated about important pieces of legislation affecting sustainability in Salt Lake City.

You can see the full list of city priorities here.

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