NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Lawmakers say it’s time to raise vehicle registration fees in New Mexico. Registration fees have been frozen for almost 20 years but the state is looking for ways to raise money to get more road projects done.

The State Road Fund gets about 15% of its money from vehicle registration fees, and while those fees haven’t been raised since 2004, lawmakers say construction costs have more than doubled. New Mexico’s fees still sit below those of most other U.S. states. “We are 40 percent lower than the average in the U.S. and so as a result we just need to modernize and update these fees,” says Senator Michael Padilla (D-Albuquerque).

Senate Bill 275 passed the Senate Floor Thursday, Mar. 9, on a 28 to 11 vote. Right now, the cost of registration for cars and trucks ranges anywhere from $27 to $70 per year. This bill would bump up those fees by anywhere from $4 to $8 over the next two years, and another $3 to $9 after that. Cars and trucks more than five years old would see smaller increases.

When all is said and done, the registration fees will eventually be 25% higher than they currently are. “The purchasing power of the revenue collected from the registration fee has steadily decreased over the years because of the growth of revenue source that has not kept up with inflation,” says Senator Bobby J. Gonzales (D-Ranchos De Taos).

The bill also creates a new registration fee for electric and hybrid vehicles. Along with those new fees, it raises registration fees for semis, buses, and tractors. The fee hikes could eventually pump another $25 million a year into the state’s road fund. The bill now heads to a House Committee, with a week left in the session.