Starting in 2018 when residents of Redwood County pay for their motor vehicle license registration the fee being paid will include an added assessment of $10.

Known as a wheelage tax, the added funds are being collected by the county in an effort to help cover the increasing cost of road and bridge projects and the recent lack of added transportation dollars from the state.

The wheelage tax, which was authorized by the State of Minnesota, must be approved by the board of commissioners in each county. After several years of consideration and decisions not to move forward with the options, the Redwood County board approved the wheelage tax option at its June 20 meeting. 

The board had the option of assessing the wheelage tax of any amount from $10-20 per vehicle in the county starting in 2018. The wheelage tax has been in place in Minnesota for a number of years, but it initially was only approved for the seven-county metro area.

It was in 2013 when the Minnesota legislature approved the expansion of the wheelage tax for all 87 counties.

According to Vicki Knobloch, Redwood County administrator, there are 28,605 vehicles in the county that would pay the wheelage tax in 2018. That would result in the collection of $286,050 in 2018. That money can only be used for road and bridge projects.

The state law allows for some exemptions to the tax, including motorcycles, motorized bicycles, motorized foot scooters and mopeds. All other registered vehicles pay the wheelage tax.

In order to collect the tax in 2018, the county board had to approve it prior to Aug. 1, with the county auditor-treasurer now directed to certify the tax to the state registrar.

The county would have had the option of having the state collect the wheelage tax, but that would have included an administrative fee. With the county collecting the wheelage tax it will receive all of the funds that are going to be collected.

In the area, surrounding counties including Renville, Lyon, Brown, Cottonwood and Murray already are collecting the wheelage tax, with the only bordering county not assessing the tax being Yellow Medicine County.

Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Transportation