How to get screwed by new vehicle registration fees at the DMV

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At the DMV this morning, Colorado drivers assume the position for new registration fees.

So being the financial masochist that I am, I decided to renew my car's delinquent registration at 8 a.m. this morning, on the exact day that new fees and fines went into effect. The cost in March when my registration ran out: $87. The cost today: $283.

But Jared, you ask: Why didn't you just register your car three months ago using the massive salary you receive as a staff writer for Denver's premier alternative newsweekly? And why didn't you, an alleged news reporter, realize that the humongous fee hike and late-fee penalties recently put into law by Colorado's fine elected leadership would be instituted on the exact day you decided to finally get your car on the up-and-up?

Those are some good questions. But I wouldn't be the same man who had a warrant out for his arrest for letting his Beagle off-leash in Washington Park if I suddenly started paying things on time.

Still, I wasn't the only driver there with sticker shock at having to pay an additional $22.50 for an average sized vehicle, (a cost that goes up to $29 by 2011) and a $25 penalty for every month late. This was particularly true considering that people these days have a lot less money to dish out to the government.

"When the economy got sour, I just parked it in the garage," explained one man to the DMV clerk about why he was late renewing his second car. When he was told the cost would be $107, he exclaimed, "Why so much?!" At least he didn't cuss and storm out of the office like the lady before me.

The state plans to use the $250 million raised by the new fees and fines will largely go to fix roads and crumbling bridges. Some $15 million is earmarked for transit and roadway safety projects such as building bike lanes and pedestrian crossings. So I suppose it's a good thing to know that my shameful procrastination is serving a higher purpose. You can thank me later, Colorado.

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