Snoqualmie city council considers car tab increase to pay for new I-90 on-ramp lane

After agreeing to 50/50 project cost share with state to fund the new [temporary] dedicated on-ramp lane to westbound I-90 from Snoqualmie Parkway, the Snoqualmie city council is officially considering an ordinance that would pay for its [approximate] $422,000 portion of the new lane.

On March 9th the council is expected to vote on the ordinance to temporarily increase vehicle license/tab fees in Snoqualmie from $20 per year to $40 per year. The two-year $20 increase would amount to approximately $400,000.

According to a city news release, if the council approves the increase, it will take effect April 1, 2020 and will be repealed on April 1, 2022. The current $20 fee would remain in place at that time.

The car tab increase was discussed by the council as a possible funding measure prior to directing the mayor to enter into a 50/50 project cost share with the state, which installed the new on-ramp lane last fall.

There could be one kink in the car tab increase, though: I-976 which Washington voters passed in November and limits car tab fees. According to the city, though, 54% Snoqualmie voters rejected the initiative.

Initiative 976 has not been implemented yet and is currently on hold, pending the outcome of some court challenges. According to Mayor Larson, if the courts uphold I-976, the city may have to refund the funds or may be able to keep funds collected to date of the court decision. If the courts do not up hold I-976, the city would keep collected the new fees.

Per the news release, “The city currently collects a $20 vehicle license fee with the proceeds held in reserve for critical road infrastructure projects, such as a future repaving of Snoqualmie Parkway, which will cost several million dollars. The fee also pays for current infrastructure projects such as road repairs and replacement as needed for safety and to avoid more expensive infrastructure replacements in the future. The potential $40 licensing fee would have a $20 set aside for reserves and current infrastructure projects, with the other $20 allocated to the on-ramp project cost.”

For those wishing to comment on the potential car licensing fee increase, there will be a public hearing on the topic at the March 9th city council meeting at 7PM – before council members vote on the ordinance.

The on-ramp project price tag was approximately $1.2 million, divided by a 50/50 match between the City of Snoqualmie and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). Snoqualmie’s portion was offset by contributions from the Snoqualmie Tribe and the cities of Covington and Maple Valley.

New dedicated onramp lane to I-90 from Snoqualmie Pkwy

Comments

  1. Ha ha ha ha ha! Apparently the Snoqualmie City Council doesn’t care about the will of the voters either.

    • I am confused by the comment. There is a public hearing on March 9th, which is before the Council votes on it. The public hearing is a time for citizens to share their feelings. As someone who felt strongly on the Dirtfish annexation years ago, I went to the public hearings and made my feelings known. Many others who disagreed with me went to the hearings went and made their feelings known. I would suggest you avail yourself of the process. That said, when it is all done, it is a representative democracy–we elect council members to represent us. Each election is our opportunity to support candidates that will represent our interests–if they don’t the election results will reflect it.
      After saying all that, as a Snoqualmie resident since 2003, I am glad action has been taken to address the 90/SR-18 interchange. Is it everything I want, on the timeline I want? No.
      That said I am willing to pay the higher tab fees to fund this, as I directly benefit from it.
      In addition, as noted in the article, Covington, Maple Valley and the Snoqualmie Tribe have contributed funds to the City of Snoqualmie’s portion of the funds. Thank you to them for their contribution, which they were not required to do.

  2. 54% of Snoqualmie residents voted against I-976.

  3. Please correct my math if I am wrong, but from the article it looks like the total cost of the project was $1.2 million, of which:
    – $600 K was covered by the state,
    – $400 K is being covered by the City of Snoqualmie (population 14 K), via a proposed 2-year tax,
    – the remaining $200 K was covered by the city of Covington (population 21 K), city of Maple Valley (population 27 K), and the Snoqualmie Tribe.
    Assuming these numbers are correct, the per capita cost of the on-ramp seems to be over 7 times as high for Snoqualmie residents as for residents of Covington and Maple Valley. Is that correct? If so, how would Snoqualmie residents go about acquiring a local government that’s as competent as those of its neighboring cities?

  4. No new taxes, enough is enough! After paying my insane monthly Snoqualmie water bill, there’s no money left over for increased car tabs.

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