New ferry money could come from extra tab fee

The state House of Representatives wants to set aside $50 million to spend on the construction of a new 144-car ferry.

The money is included in the House supplemental budget for transportation, which passed by a large margin Mar. 4. However, approval of the money is contingent on passage of another bill now in the Senate.

House Bill 1129 aims to fund a third 144-car ferry by charging a service fee on all vehicles registered in Washington.

Dubbed the “peanut butter cup bill” during last year’s session, the bill combines what primary sponsor Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Mount Vernon, describes as two good things that go well together. It includes money for new ferries and makes tab service fees the same for private businesses and public offices.

The Department of Licensing contracts with a number of private businesses to offer title registration services, but these business must charge a $5 fee. The bill proposes that public offices do the same, in addition to a $12 fee applied to title transactions.

Morris said that this bill would “level the playing field,” charging drivers the same amount whether they renew or purchase tabs at a private business or at a government office.


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