Maple Valley City Council approves transportation benefit district

The Maple Valley City Council approved an ordinance establishing a transportation benefit district in the city at their Monday meeting.

Although the exact amount of the fee hasn't been established yet, the benefit district is expected to cost Maple Valley drivers an extra $20 for their license tabs.

The transportation benefit district is estimated to provide $320,000 annually towards maintaining, improving and preserving existing transportation facilities.

The city's real estate excise tax, which is currently used to provide $300,000 for the asphalt overlay program, has dropped from $2 million in 2006 to $700,000 presently.

The benefit district would divert the real estate excise tax revenue for the city’s debt service on the Maple Valley Legacy Place Site, which is currently taken from the general fund.

The transportation benefit district would apply to those living within city limits. Several types of vehicles, such as campers, farm tractors, mopeds and non-highway vehicles would be exempt from the fee.

During the motion to approve the ordinance, Council member Layne Barnes proposed an amendment inserting a "sunset clause," which would cause the law to cease effect after five years, unless further action is taken to extend the law by the council.

The proposed amendment was defeated by a vote of 5-2.

City Manager David Johnston told the council in October that unless a benefit district was established or some new source of funding arose for road infrastructure, the city would probably have to make cuts in city park programs and other services.

The Washington State Transportation Commission has projected an estimated $38 billion shortfall for the $67 billion needed for statewide transportation improvements.



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