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House approves Rep. Liz Pike’s transportation fee transparency bill

House Bill 1606 would give citizens a say before their local Transportation Benefit District elects to implement revenue-raising measures

OLYMPIA — The state House of Representatives approved a bill Wednesday that would require Transportation Benefit Districts (TBDs) to hold a public hearing before voting to impose a charge or fee. The vote was 94-0.

The state House of Representatives approved a bill Wednesday that would require Transportation Benefit Districts to hold a public hearing before voting to impose a charge or fee. Photo courtesy of Washington State House Republican Communications

The state House of Representatives approved a bill Wednesday that would require Transportation Benefit Districts to hold a public hearing before voting to impose a charge or fee. Photo courtesy of Washington State House Republican Communications

Cities and counties can establish TBDs with independent taxing authority to provide transportation improvements within that district. Under current law, TBDs have independent taxing authority for a variety of revenue sources, some of which require voter approval. However, TBDs can vote by a majority to raise certain revenues without voter approval, including imposing up to $50 in local annual vehicle fees and transportation impact fees.

Rep. Liz Pike

Rep. Liz Pike

Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, who authored House Bill 1606, says citizens should have a say before their local TBD decides to implement revenue-raising measures.

“Constituents have asked for more transparency with TBDs when it comes to voting for tax and fee increases. This would ensure the public gets to have its say before their taxes go up,” said Pike.

This is the second time the measure cleared the House with a unanimous vote. Last year, after the bill passed the House March 1, it passed a Senate committee, but time ran out before it could be considered by the full Senate. Pike says she’s optimistic the bill will make it all the way through the Legislature.

“This would increase transparency and boost citizens’ voices in the process — all of which makes for better, more accountable government. With such large support in the House, I’m very hopeful we can get this through the Senate and to the governor’s desk for his signature,” added Pike.

Information provided by Washington State House Republican Communications, houserepublicans.wa.gov .

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