Mielke urges higher vehicle fees to fund road projects

first_imgHere’s how badly the county needs money for future road projects: Clark County Commissioner Tom Mielke, a conservative Republican who owns nine cars, supports increasing vehicle licensing fees. Mielke said Tuesday that increasing licensing fees would take the burden off developers from having to pay as much in traffic-impact fees. He quickly added that he would like to balance a fee hike with reducing property tax rates so homeowners would not pay as much for roads, either.He said he’s encouraging county staffers to figure out a specific proposal.“I don’t know how to do it,” Mielke said.His fellow Republican, Commissioner Marc Boldt, said he supports increasing licensing fees on the condition property taxes were lowered.They both feel all drivers, and not just property owners and developers, should shoulder more of the burden of paying for roads.By state law, commissioners could raise the $43 annual vehicle licensing fee by $20 without putting it to a public vote.If voters so approved, the fee could be raised by as much as $100.Commissioner Steve Stuart, a Democrat, would be the board’s lone “no” vote. He said the county needs to work with existing funds, ranking projects on a need-based scale that favors safety and attracting business development.If businesses come, Stuart said, so will additional revenues for roads.As of now there’s no formal proposal to increase licensing fees, but Mielke, who made the suggestion at a May 26 work session on road projects, has been talking about it for a year, said Pete Capell, director of the county’s public works department. The Vancouver City Council has also talked, during budget retreats, about increasing vehicle licensing fees and is expected to seriously consider the idea this year.last_img