Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pierce County Legislators Present Transportation Bills in Olympia

Transportation is a hot topic this state legislative session and particularly important to Pierce County legislators.

At a House Transportation Committee hearing yesterday, two different bills were presented by Pierce County legislators. First, House Bill 1485, sponsored by several Pierce County Representatives, such as Rep. Jake Fey (D-Tacoma), Rep. David Sawyer (D-Tacoma), and Rep. Laurie Jinkins (D-Tacoma), seeks to double the vehicle fee limit under a transportation benefit district’s councilmatic authority from $20 to $40.

Last fall, the Tacoma City Council used this authority to increase the car tab fee to the maximum allowed $20. Tacoma City Councilman Ryan Mello testified yesterday that raising the car tab fee limit to $40 is crucial to meet the city’s transportation infrastructure needs. Currently, car tab fees may be raised to up to $100 per vehicle with a public vote of support, $20 without.

Another Pierce County legislator, Rep. Jan Angel (R-Port Orchard) questioned whether or not people could afford to pay additional car tab fees.

Additionally, HB 1865, which would allow the elected, governing body of an area to impose a sales tax of up to 0.9 percent without a public vote of support, was also introduced. According to the bill, the sales tax would be approved by a weighted majority vote of the governing body, if the entire population of the district was represented by elected officials serving on the board and voting on the resolution. This bill would allow entities, such as Pierce Transit, to increase sales taxes without a public vote, but only if changes were made that connect board member votes to corresponding population.

You may recall last fall the Pierce Transit sales tax increase of 0.03 percent was opposed by voters.

For more information on these bills, see The News Tribune.

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