The Snoqualmie City Council unanimously approved the city’s proposed Six Year Transportation Improvement Plan at its June 28 meeting.
The plan is a collaboration between the city and Washington State Department of Transportation. Together, the two entities identified a list of 14 items for improvement, including bridges, roads and sidewalks. High priority improvements include replacing the Kimball Creek Bridge, repaving Snoqualmie Parkway, and improving the area around State Route 202. Construction would begin in 2022 and run through 2027.
To fund the plan, the mayor’s office has proposed a 0.2% sales tax that would replace the $40 vehicle license fee beginning on April 1, 2022. The city council plans to vote on the tax at its July 12 meeting. If passed, the tax would appear on the Nov. 2 election ballot and would require 50% voter approval.
The new tax is expected to generate an additional $144,000 for the city, according to Drew Bouta, a financial analyst for the city.
“The $40 fee cannot keep up with the costs of transportation improvement,” Bouta said. “Our recurring transportation expenditures are subject to inflationary pressure over time.”
Bouta said residents would save money under the new tax, as non-Snoqualmie residents would contribute an estimated 16% of funds through purchases made in Snoqualmie.
“What the big selling point is, is that non-residents will also help pay the tax,” Councilmember Katherine Ross said. “It’s quite a bit lower expense to our residents, and includes people who do not live here.”
According to the city, if the new tax is approved, the city’s sales tax rate would increase to 8.9%. That is the same rate as Duvall, and 0.2% less than North Bend.