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King County $20 Car Tab Fee Increase, Bus Ticket Offer Start in June

The $20 congestion reduction charge is intended to help preserve bus service in King County. The change includes eight Metro Transit bus rides for each household that registers a vehicle in King County.

 

The temporary $20 vehicle tab hike that was passed last year to preserve King County Metro bus service starts next month, King County is reminding vehicle owners. Also beginning next month is the offer of eight free bus tickets to each household with a registered vehicle, which was included as part of the fee hike.

The charge begins with June renewals sent out by the state Department of Licensing and will be collected through May 2014, according to a news release from King County.

 maintained the level of King County Metro Transit bus service. The fee will raise $50 million of a $60 million revenue shortfall that had been projected in the next few years, according to Metro Transit.

“This Congestion Reduction Charge will allow us to maintain our overall system over the next two years and make the best use of every transit dollar available,” Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond said in a prepared statement.

The county is currently developing a new biennial budget that will determine how far into 2014 Metro will be able to maintain service without additional funding sources, according to the news release.

Eastside King County council members Jane Hague and Kathy Lambert, who initially did not support the county council's efforts to raise the car tab fee without going to voters,  after negotiating the preservation of Eastside routes and the inclusion of the bus vouchers. The conditions also included phasing out of the downtown Seattle free-ride area, which will be eliminated at the end of September.

Part of the legislation on the $20 increase included eight free bus vouchers for each household with registered vehicles. The tickets may also be donated to selected social services and charities.

When vehicle owners register their vehicles, the registration will include an invitation to obtain the eight free bus tickets. The tickets are only good for King County Metro Transit and not transferable to other public transportation services, such as Sound Transit.

For more information about the Congestion Reduction Charge, visit  www.kingcounty.gov/metro/crc. For information about Metro’s ticket incentive program and eligibility requirements, go to www.kingcounty.gov/metro/tip.

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