OLYMPIA — Community members that are experiencing difficulty affording their car tab fees in a lump sum may find relief from a workgroup to study alternative payment options in the Senate Transportation budget that passed off the senate floor this week.

The proposal to offer a payment plan originated in a bill proposed by Sen. T’wina Nobles (D-Fircrest).

“Community members have had to make extremely difficult decisions because they cannot afford to pay the fees all at once,” Nobles said. “At the same time, they can’t afford to not pay the fees because they don’t want to risk driving with expired tabs to get to work, the grocery store, or a medical appointment. We also cannot forget that vehicle renewal fees fund critical community investments in transportation. This workgroup will allow us to get community input and work with affected parties on a balanced approach.”

The Senate Transportation budget includes  $250,000 for a workgroup made up of community members, representatives from the Department of Licensing, county auditors and subagents, cities that impose a Transportation Benefit District fee and those that offer rebates on vehicle fees, vehicle owners who pay Sound Transit fees and vehicle owners who pay the electric vehicle fees, as well as advocates for multimodal transportation options.

The work group must engage with members of the public who are interested in new payment options, including persons from communities of color, low-income households, vulnerable populations, and displaced communities. Input from members of the public must inform the work group’s recommendations.