Vehicle License Fees

The current Seattle Transportation Benefit District (STBD) includes a $50 vehicle licensing fee (VLF) applied when you pay your car registration.

This is in addition to STBD Proposition 1, a 0.15% sales tax, which generates roughly $39 million annually over six years to fund transit service, capital projects, and transit access programs. Revenues from the fee are spent on maintaining and preserving our existing transportation system, safe streets, sidewalks, bike lanes, strong bridges.

At this time, $20 of this VLF funds maintenance and preservation, as well as safety and enhancements to our existing transportation system, and contributes about $8 million annually. The other $20 is a new VLF as of 2021.

Looking back - A case study on developing a community-informed spend plan

SDOT worked with the community to develop a spend plan for new $20 VLF approved for 2021

Meeting Climate Change Goals

In November 2020, City Council authorized an increase of the current $20 VLF to $40. After a transparent and inclusive public engagement process, SDOT submitted a spend plan for this additional funding, which would total approximately $3.6 million in the first year and $7.2 million in subsequent years. The plan prioritized safety, equity, and maintaining Seattle's streets, sidewalks and bridges.

In May 2021, City Council approved its implementation for the second half of 2021.

Aligning with our goal to build, operate, and maintain an accessible transportation system that reliably connects people, places, and goods, 75% of the VLF revenue is being dedicated to investments and projects in neighborhoods facing higher risk of displacement and lower access to opportunities. Revenue collection began July 1, 2021. Read more on the SDOT Blog. 

Responding to a City Council amendment, we also developed a list of projects that could be funded by $100 million in bonding. 

City Council passed Ordinance 126327, making $3.6 million available in 2021 to use on the $20 VLF spend plan (which is why we are implementing it this year!)

City Council also adopted Amendment 2 to the $20 VLF spend plan.  This amendment asks us to provide to Council a list of transportation projects that could be funded by $100 million of bond financing in 2022. Please see below for the list and related materials provided to Council on September 30, 2021. 


Greg Spotts, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 3800, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA, 98124-4996
Phone: (206) 684-7623

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The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is on a mission to deliver a transportation system that provides safe and affordable access to places and opportunities for everyone as we work to achieve our vision of Seattle as a thriving, equitable community powered by dependable transportation.