SEATTLE -- Most vehicle owners will pay more for their car tabs next year in a bill heading to the governor's desk that will save the state money on building a new ferry in Washington.
The state Department of Licensing and its agents will begin collecting a $5 service fee for vehicle registrations and a $12 fee for title transactions on Jan. 1, under the measure. The Everett Herald reports that the money specifically will pay for a new 144-vehicle Olympic-class vessel.
Two similar ferries are currently under construction by Vigor Industrial in Seattle and ferry officials and lawmakers say extending the contract instead of negotiating a new one will save money in labor and materials.
Since lawmakers were not able to pass a gas-tax-raising transportation package, legislators needed to find a way to pay for new ferries to replace the aging fleet. Some residents say having everyone pay the same fees is fair for the private businesses competing with the auditors and even for those car owners who don't use the ferries.
According to the Department of Licensing, about 37 percent of car owners currently avoid the $5 fee by renewing tabs through the county auditor's office.
Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to sign the legislation.