The public is being asked for its views on how the Isle of Man Government can best raise the funds it needs to maintain Manx roads.
The Department of Infrastructure is seeking feedback as part of its commitment to reviewing the future of vehicle excise duty.
A public consultation and questionnaire has been launched today, 19 January 2018, explaining the key issues and highlighting possible alternative funding models.
Vehicle excise duty, commonly known as car tax, is a compulsory annual payment for most vehicles that are driven or parked on public roads. Fees are calculated on engine size or on carbon emissions depending on the year a vehicle was first registered.
A total of 70,916 vehicles are currently taxed in the Island, generating almost £13 million for the Department to invest in the upkeep of the Island’s 683-mile network of roads. This revenue is supplemented by some additional funding.
In line with many areas of Government, the budget and staff resources devoted to highway maintenance have been reducing for many years. The Department has responded by introducing more efficient ways of working, but says it is becoming increasingly difficult to meet public and political expectations.
With a significant transition to electric powered vehicles in the years ahead, the Department is taking the opportunity to carry out a root and branch review of the issue.
David Anderson MLC, Department Member with responsibility for Highway Services, said:
‘The roads network is a major national asset that is absolutely crucial to the economic and social wellbeing of our Island. We need to raise enough money to support the maintenance of our highways, otherwise we will see the continued deterioration of the network.’
Infrastructure Minister Ray Harmer MHK added:
‘I believe that now is the right time to step back and consider the bigger picture in terms of vehicle duty. The way we live our lives is changing and new technologies will accelerate the pace of change. The Department is looking to the future and feedback from the public will help to shape the way forward.’
The public consultation explains how the application of vehicle duty has become increasingly complicated in recent years. The current administration system has more than 80 different payment categories.
The Department has sought to amend the charging structure to tackle inconsistencies between carbon emissions and engine size and to protect the environment by encouraging motorists to run less polluting vehicles.
The document sets out a commitment to introduce car tax payments by instalments and to assess new licensing technology. There is also an overview of how other countries achieve the revenue required to ensure their highways remain fit for purpose.
People can contribute their views by completing the online questionnaire, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to Vehicle Duty Consultation, Highway Services Division, Department of Infrastructure, Sea Terminal Building, Isle of Man IM1 2RF.
The closing date for responses is Friday 2 March 2018.