JUNEAU, Alaska (Feb. 17, 2017) — An Alaska state senator has introduced a bill that would raise the per-tire tax on studded winter tires to $50 from the current $5.
Alaska Senate Resources Committee Chair Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, introduced Alaska Senate Bill 50 on Feb. 6 before introducing a substitute version Feb. 15. The newest version lowered the proposed per-tire fee from $70 to $50.
In her sponsor statement, Sen. Giessel said she wished to protect the safety of Alaskan motorists and prevent high transportation costs to the state.
"Every year, we deal with road ruts, which pose significant dangers to Alaskans," she said. "The major contribution to these ruts are studded tires used during the winter."
It costs Alaska $1 million per mile to repair ruts on a two-lane road, according to Sen. Giessel. Meanwhile, there are stud-free tires on the market that are nearly as good for stopping in snow without inflicting road damage, she said.
The fee would apply to online retailers as well as brick-and-mortar stores, according to Sen. Giessel. All the money generated by the fee increase would go directly to the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities specifically to repair rutted roads, she said.
A hearing on SB 50 has been scheduled for Feb. 23.