Colorado has proposed a law that would charge an additional fee for large trucks and SUVs, using the money to fund road infrastructure.
Large trucks and SUVs cause significantly more issues than smaller vehicles, including more pollution, noise, and damage to roads. They can also be more dangerous to pedestrians and cyclists, as drivers may struggle to see them and the larger vehicles have been proven to be more deadly in crash.
According to Streetsblog, Colorado wants to tackle the problem by charging a “vulnerable road user protection fee” for those larger vehicles. The money would be used to fund infrastructure designed to help drivers avoid crashes with pedestrians and cyclists.
“We’re addressing this from a data-based perspective,” said state Senator Lisa Cutter (D–Jefferson County), the lead sponsor. “Data shows us that higher vehicle weights directly correlate with vulnerable road user deaths. It just makes sense to tie funding to that. It’s not about disincentivizing the purchase of this vehicles; it’s about recognizing that these are the cars that are disproportionately involved in these fatalities.”
“We really don’t have funding for things like shortening crossing distances,” added Cutter. “In Colorado, the legislature has zero flexibility in increasing taxes. We just have to think really hard about how to increase the pie in order to cover things that are important. And certainly decreasing deaths of people who walk, bike and get around in wheelchairs is important.”
If the law passes, it could pave the way for similar bills in other states.