Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Let the Pavement Roll!

Submitted by Paul Ellis

Last evening, the Pierce County Council voted 6-1 to adopt Pierce County's first comprehensive traffic-impact fee program, committing to spend an estimated $488 million over 20 years to widen roads, build new ones and rebuild intersections throughout the unincorporated areas.

The plan anticipates use of the new traffic impact fees and other sources to pay for the program, including state transportation grants, a portion of the 9.5-cent-a-gallon gas tax package approved by the Washington Legislature in 2005 and a portion of the real estate excise tax paid upon sales of property.

Pierce County's adoption of the new fees is expected to encourage adoption of similar fees in localmunicipalitiess like University Place. The City of Tacoma is requesting voter approval of a street tax for similar purposes in the November election.

At its November 1 meeting, RAMP will present a panel discussion detailing the new environment for transportation funding resulting from these measures and delineating the remaining gaps needed to move local projects ahead. Panelists will include Brian Zeigler from Pierce County and Angela Wingate from Investco Financial Corporation.

Paul Ellis is lead staff for RAMP; an employee of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, Ellis led the Pierce County Transportation Advisory Committee (PCTAC), the community’s largest transportation planning effort.

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