• Why you should ask about that 'TBD' charge on car tabs

    By: KIRO 7 News Staff

    Updated:

    It's no secret that the high car tab fees in Washington are a point of contention for drivers. 

    Voters approved hiking car tab fees to pay for part of the $54 billion Sound Transit 3 package in 2016, but few people anticipated the sticker shock when renewals hit mailboxes.

    The gripe is that cars are taxed on a state depreciation scale based on manufacturer’s suggested retail price, which is usually far higher than a car's real value. The state House passed a bill in January that could bring relief, but it has currently hit a bump in the road as lawmakers in the Senate disagree on funding holes it could create. 

    Meanwhile, one Twitter user is questioning a "TBD" charge. 

    TBD stands for Transportation Benefit District, which is related to public transit funding.

    That $80 fee is four times the standard $20 transportation benefit district fees drivers pay in every other city. It's your right to ask about why it's higher, so we took your questions to city leaders. 

    It comes from Prop One in 2014. Seattle voters decided drivers should pay an extra $60, or $45 million a year, for the expansion of transit service in Seattle. It bought a $1.2 million electric bus. The extra money in Seattle also pays for something called low-income transportation equity, which will pay for the mayor's plan to pay for Orca cards for every student in Seattle.


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