For the city of Richland executives to vote on the $20 car tab fee to establish a “transportation benefit district” fund is unacceptable. Voting on this proposal, without considering other options, is a disservice to the citizens of Richland. I believe that funding the bridge and funding yearly road maintenance should be separate issues.
To cover costs of road maintenance, add only $5-$10 to existing licensing fees, on one vehicle per household in Richland. Businesses/companies who have more than three vehicles for serving their customers, and retailers, could contribute to the fund by paying a yearly road maintenance tax. When the road fund is depleted, then use the city’s $2 million reserve fund.
For bridge funding, consider a toll system. Transponders could be purchased (at the licensing office) which — when attached to the vehicle — quickly and digitally record vehicle information. Prepaid transponder fees would provide revenue and would remain in place until the bridge is paid off.
I think the city of Richland needs to slow down their funding phase, give the public a chance to input more realistic ideas, and explore all options for the new bridge before voting on Feb. 21.
Beth Wechensky, Richland