After tonight Richland residents may be closer to paying $20 more for their vehicle tabs next year.
The newly formed transportation benefit district board is meeting following Tuesday’s 7:30 p.m. city council meeting. The council members fill the role of board members.
The vote is the first reading on the issue. It requires a second vote to be enacted.
If the ordinance is approved, the city would begin collecting the fee in 2018 on about 40,000 vehicles registered in the city.
The estimated $850,000 per year raised from the new fee would help cover the remaining funding gap for the $38 million Duportail Bridge project.
The bridge will connect central Richland with the Queensgate area. City officials want to begin construction by the end of 2017 with a planned opening in 2020.
The majority of the bridge’s cost was included in the state’s 2015 transportation package. The city collected funds from other sources, but still needs to sell bonds to cover the remaining costs.
Officials plan to use the remaining balance to supplement the city’s streets repair budget. The city maintains 260 miles of public streets, and spends about $1.2 million for street maintenance.
Richland joined the list of about 90 transportation benefit districts across the state about a month ago. Prosser, Othello, Walla Walla and Grandview established districts previously.
The city committed to setting its fee at $20 a year and ending it after 20 years when the bonds are paid.