South Dakota lawmakers pass measure to fund state's roads and bridges

Thanks to a proposed measure, driving in South Dakota may become more expensive.
South Dakota lawmakers passed a compromise measure on March 13 to make it more expensive to drive in the state.

The law has increased roadway user fees on motor fuels and vehicles, including a six-cent hike in fuel taxes, in effect as of April 1. The conference deal followed House approval of a bill that modified a Senate-passed transportation measure on March 10.

The House version sought to raise more than $50 million in its first year, primarily by phasing in motor fuel fee increases and higher fees on vehicles.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard had urged the legislature to generate funds for the state’s road and bridge network.

The House bill would have increased the maximum highway speed limit on interstate highways in South Dakota to 80 mph from 75. It would have hiked motor fuel excise taxes by six cents over three years -- from 22 cents per gallon now to 24 cents starting July 1, plus another two cents in each of the next two years, reaching 28 cents by July 1, 2017.

The previous version would have increased fuel fees for eight years instead of the three the House approved.