Waxman's fee idea won't make friends in Michigan

Neil Roland is Washington reporter for Automotive News
WASHINGTON -- One legislative proposal to improve auto safety is sure to draw fire from Michigan lawmakers at Thursday's House committee hearing. It would impose a fee on each vehicle certified to meet federal standards.

The fee, which would begin at $3 a vehicle and rise to $9 after three years, is designed by California Democrat Henry Waxman, whow heads the House Energy and Commerce Committee, to help pay for his proposals to beef up enforcement at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The fee proposal is certain to be criticized by Michigan lawmakers -- Democrats John Dingell and Bart Stupak, and Republicans Fred Upton and Michael Rogers -- for imposing the equivalent of a tax on the auto industry just as it is emerging from its worst slump in many decades.