Seattle voters could soon decide on fee increases for transit

| 8/9/2011

Seattle residents could soon be paying a total of $100 more when registering their vehicles to help pay for non-road transportation projects.

City residents are already footing the bill for a nine-year, $365 million levy for street, bridge and sidewalk repairs, as well as transit, bike paths and safety improvements. The levy, which was approved by voters in 2006, earmarks about three-quarters of the revenue for roads.

The Seattle City Council is considering an $80 increase in vehicle registration. If given the go-ahead by council members, the vehicle-tab fee could appear on the Nov. 8 ballot.

If approved by voters, a city-appointed committee has suggested using the bulk of the $27 million annually that would be generated to pay for transit-related programs, bike lanes, pedestrian and neighborhood improvements. About $8 million would be used for street work.

Council members are expected to vote within the next week on whether to put the issue on the ballot. They could also decide to put a smaller fee increase up for vote with a different distribution formula.

Another effort to generate transit money could end up on the King County ballot.

The Metropolitan King County Council could soon decide on whether to approve another $20 to the fee for two years.

Approval would make available to the county about $50 million for King County Metro Transit service. Otherwise, supporters say they will be forced to cut about 17 percent of bus service now available.

The council could vote on the issue Monday, Aug. 15. They could also opt to put the issue before voters on the fall ballot.

OOIDA encourages Seattle-area truckers to make sure they are registered and to cast ballots on Nov. 8.

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