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In large part, the legislature authorized the $20 VLF to replace a $15 countywide license fee dedicated to local street funding that had been eliminated by passage of I-776 in 2002.
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In 1987, the State Legislature created Transportation Benefit Districts (TBDs) as an option for local governments to fund transportation improvements. Chapter 36.73 of the Revised Code of Washington provides for the establishment of TBD by cities and counties for the sole purpose of acquiring, constructing, improving, providing, and funding transportation improvements within the district. In 2005 and 2007, the Legislature amended the TBD statute to expand its uses and revenue authority, including the ability to authorize a $20 annual vehicle license fee (VLF), and up to an additional $80 of VLF, if approved by voters within the district. The state legislature provided local governments with these tools because inflation has eroded the local share of gas tax and because a series of statewide ballot initiatives passed over the last 12 years have eliminated other traditional sources of funding for local transportation needs. For example, in 2002 a statewide initiative had the effect of repealing a $15 annual countywide VLF that had been dedicated to the same local street maintenance needs supported by the Seattle TBD's annual fee.
The University Place Transportation Benefit District is governed by a Board, comprised of University Place City Councilmembers acting ex officio and independently of their elected position, as required by the authorizing state law.
The following cities have established or are considering a TBD:
All of these areas collect annual VLF's through a Transportation Benefit District. Others collect sales taxes through TBDs. Additional TBD information can be found at the MRSC's Transportation Benefit Districts page.
Funding is available based on voter approval.
Without voter approval:
With voter approval:
The TBD budget spends the revenue on a mix of maintenance and preservation as well as safety and enhancements to University Place's existing transportation network.
For other questions relating to Vehicle Licensing, please contact the state Department of Licensing, Vehicle Licensing division at 360.902.3770. Locally, you can contact the Pierce County Auditor’s office at 253.798.7427.