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On World AIDS Day, New Mexico activists say more money is needed for prevention; ND farmers still navigate corporate land-ownership policy maze; Unpaid caregivers in ME receive limited financial grants.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges Israel to protect civilians amid Gaza truce talks, New York Rep. George Santos defends himself as his expected expulsion looms and CDC director warns about respiratory illness as flu season begins.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

Report: EVs Could Impact Future Highway-Maintenance Funding

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Monday, January 23, 2023   

Most experts agree that putting more electric vehicles on the road is a positive step toward fighting climate change, but a new report warns that states may need a new system to fund road construction and maintenance.

Currently, EV owners pay an extra fee with their annual registration, but it is far less than the average gas tax paid by drivers of internal-combustion vehicles.

Report author Patrick Anderson - CEO of the Anderson Economic Group - said that means as the number of EVs grows, highway maintenance funds will shrink. Without a new plan, he said Illinois' already-crumbling roadways will only get worse.

"People haven't really thought through all the implications of moving a large share of the driving public over to an electric-vehicle platform," said Anderson. "And one of the ones that is going to surprise a lot of people is that battery-electric vehicles don't pay any gas tax."

Illinois drivers already pay some of the highest gas-tax rates in the nation, at 42.1 cents per gallon. EV owners currently pay about $250 a year in registration fees, while gas-powered cars cost $400 or more in fees and fuel taxes.

In a recent study, Illinois ranked 14th worst in the nation for road infrastructure, with 20% of state roads - more than 6,500 miles - rated non-acceptable, and 12% of bridges in poor condition. To make things worse, the state ranked near last in spending on repairs.

Illinois is expected to receive approximately $11 billion over five years in transportation funds from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure bill, but Anderson said it's unclear how that will be spent.

"For a lot of people who make a switch to an electric vehicle, they're paying $100 or $200 less a year in road taxes, but they're putting more weight on the road," said Anderson. "That's a big switch and something that has significant consequences for our ability to maintain our roads."

Illinois officials say they are studying ways to equalize the costs, including a tax at the charging station or a per-mile fee, but they have not finalized a proposal.


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According to the National Family Farm Coalition, the average U.S. farmland value is now $3,800 per
acre, the highest since the 1970s. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

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Social Issues

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Environment

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Health and Wellness

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New Mexico activists are tapping today's World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, to announce they'll ask the State Legislature to provide more money for treatment …

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