Bainbridge passes $20 car fee | UPDATE

Driving on Bainbridge Island will get a little more expensive for residents.

The Bainbridge Island Transportation Benefit District passed a $20 car tab fee on island cars Wednesday in an effort to inject more money into the island’s ailing and underfunded roads.

The fee will be collected at the Department of Licensing when locally-owned vehicles are registered. It will take six months to implement the new fee making June the soonest anyone will have to start paying it.

The fee proposal has been limping along the past four months ever since the city council formed the transportation district in August with aims to adopt a car tab fee. The city council also acts as the district’s board, but is a separate governing entity. Over the following months a resolution was drafted, but little action was taken on it.

The fee was finally passed Wednesday by a 6-1 vote.

Board Member Sarah Blossom was the only voice of distention against the proposal. When the board met in early December, other cautious voices arose much to the frustration of other members who expected to pass it that night.

“At the last meeting I was one of the people who had voted against this, because we had not gone through and determined the 2013-14 budget,” Bonkowski said Wednesday. “I am now going to support this resolution.”

City officials have estimated that the fee could raise more than $330,000 to put toward road maintenance and preservation, based on the more than 18,000 vehicles registered on Bainbridge Island. The money will help the city close a funding gap in its roads that have come to be known for their ruts, bumps, holes and more.

It could be said that the car fee has been years in the making.

Former councilman Barry Peters, who left the dais last year, commonly promoted the idea but it was never able to get beyond the talking stage.

Since Councilwoman Anne Blair stressed the idea at a July council retreat, however, it seemed as if Bainbridge could finally get the $20 fee

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