Edmonds voters on Tuesday night were soundly defeating Proposition 1, which would have added a $40-per-year, per-vehicle registration fee to pay for for street and sidewalk improvements through the city’s Transportation Benefit District. Shortly after the polls closed, the measure was trailing with only 29 percent approval, virtually ensuring that the measure would be defeated.
Proposition 1 would have generated about $1 million annually by increasing the local vehicle registration fee from $20 to $60 per year, per vehicle, with the money used to pay for street, sidewalk and pedestrian projects.
“I am very pleased with the results tonight from the voters on Edmonds Prop. 1,” said D.J. Wilson, Edmonds City Councilmember who chaired the campaign against the measure. “Edmonds’ voters will support smart policy and wise investments in our community. Prop. 1 didn’t meet those standards.”
Transportation Benefit Districts were created by the Washington State Legislature as an option for local governments to fund transportation improvements. The City of Edmonds formed its own district, or TBD, in 2008, with the Edmonds City Council acting as the district’s independent governing board. In 2009, the Edmonds TBD board authorized an annual $2o fee on vehicle license renewals within the City of Edmonds. On July 20, 2010, the board recommended asking voters in November whether to increase the TBD license fee by an additional $40. The Edmonds City Council voted 4-3 at its Aug. 3 meeting to put the proposal on the general election ballot.
“We would like to thank Mayor Cooper, Council President Bernheim and Councilmembers Diane Buckshnis, Adrienne Fraley- Monillas and Strom Peterson for their unwavering support for Proposition 1,” said Yes on Proposition 1 campaign chair Kristiana Johnson in a statement emailed to My Edmonds News. “In these tough economic times, people voted with their pocketbooks. It is unfortunate that they voted for short-term gains against future benefits. By saving $40 from their yearly budget, they cost the city over $1.16 million that could have been spent to improve the City’s transportation system.
“We pledge that we will continue to work with the Mayor and Council, City staff and citizen groups to develop a transportation financing plan for the City of Edmonds that is fair and equitable,” the statement said.
Now that the measure has been defeated, “there is still work to do,” Wilson said. “We continue to underfund street maintenance. We continue to underfund parks maintenance. And we continue to underfund police services in our community. So, while I am pleased this option was soundly turned back, the Council and the community must still come to terms with some basic funding challenges faced by our community in the very near term.”