By Doug Petrowski
City residents are beginning to see a new addition to their notices for vehicle license tab renewals: a $20 Mountlake Terrace Transportation Benefit District fee. The fee will go into effect for vehicles registered with Mountlake Terrace addresses when owners begin renewing license tabs in July.
The fee was approved by the Mountlake Terrace Transportation Benefit District board last January. The TBD board is comprised of the seven members of the Mountlake Terrace City Council.
The additional fee has not been a surprise to vehicle owners renewing license tabs at McMahan License Agency, 22911-56th Ave. W. in Mountlake Terrace, according to employee Stephanie Burke. Almost everyone who has had to pay the new fee knew it was coming, Burke said. “If they don’t know about it, we explain it to them,” she added.
There has been no getting around paying the fee by renewing license tabs early either. If a vehicle owner’s tabs expire June 30, the new ones include the fee, no matter when they are purchased. “It is based on the vehicle’s registration date,” Burke said.
By law. the funds collected from the fee must go to transportation infrastructure improvements within the MLT Transportation Benefit District, which includes portions of 232th Street Southwest, 234th Street Southwest, 236th Street Southwest and 56th Avenue West in the Town Center area of Mountlake Terrace.
The city council wants to use the funds to repave portions of those streets after undergrounding power lines, upgrading other utility lines and adding hydronic piping below street level in the downtown district. An upgrade of sidewalks and pedestrian walkways is also included in TBD planning.
The council hopes the $20 TBD fee will raise $3.5 million over 20 years. Total price tag for the planned upgrades in the district is approximately $10.5 million.