The congestion reduction charge is an annual $20 fee that King County residents pay when they renew a vehicle registration. It will be collected for two years, from June 1, 2012 through May 2014.
The charge helps fund Metro Transit, enabling Metro to maintain the current overall level of bus service and helping reduce traffic congestion.
The King County Council approved the charge because the poor economy has caused a shortfall in Metro’s income, and deep service cuts would have been necessary without additional funding. Like other transit agencies, Metro depends on revenue from sales tax for a large percentage of its operating funds.
When the Council approved the charge, it also directed Metro to continue making the transit system more efficient and productive. Following the Council’s directive, Metro is revising bus service and exploring alternative services, and eliminated the Ride Free Area in downtown Seattle on Sept. 29, 2012. Metro has taken many other actions to cut costs and increase revenue.