On top of gas tax increases, boat registration fee hikes are too high

March 24, 2012

I support a reasonable boat registration fee increase, but the most recent request for an increase by the Department of Natural Resources is still way out of line ("DNR seeks smaller rise in boat registration fee," March 14).

To go up from $24 to $100 for the most popular size boat will not benefit Maryland. Boat owners already are finding ways to register their boats elsewhere and still boat in Maryland. Instead phasing in a doubling or tripling the current fee, use the Transportation Trust Fund tax paid by boaters on the water into the Waterway Fund in Maryland.

When drivers buy gas, they pay into the transportation trust fund, and so does everyone buying gas for their boat. How is it fair for boaters to pay a share of the cost of maintaining roads? When they buy gas for their vehicles they are putting money into a fund to maintain what they use as roadways.

Until recently, a small but significant portion of the state transportation gas tax was used each year to help keep the Waterway Fund afloat. But that stopped a few years ago when the Transportation Fund was raided and ran dry. Maybe this is when they should have stopped collecting the tax on gas from boaters.

Put the transportation tax on gas purchased on the water into the Waterway Fund. That, along with a reasonable registration fee, would be better for Maryland, boaters and the DNR.

Jim Kinard

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