If you bought a Discover Pass to park on state lands, you can now use it in a second car. If you haven’t bought one, state parks officials are hoping that looser rule will convince you.
The new law, which the Legislature passed and Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law today, addresses “the No. 1 complaint” about the $30 parking pass lawmakers and Gregoire created last year, said Ilene Frisch, acting deputy director of parks.
Each car needed a separate pass. Washington State Parks thinks it’s one key reason revenue from the fees has come in at less than half of what was projected, and why Frisch says the parks agency has come up nearly $10 million short through February.
Drivers with a pass can now write in a second license plate number, and new versions of the pass will soon be sold with spots for two plate numbers.
“The Discover Pass is a great way to experience some of Washington’s most extraordinary places and this legislation makes it even easier to visit our state parks and recreation lands,” Gregoire said.
Parks officials hope it will boost revenue. Another change signed by Gregoire today will help their bottom line a bit by giving the money from fines to parks and other natural-resource agencies — though it could also give the agencies an interest in handing out more tickets.
Lawmakers are also considering diverting an extra $4 million to parks in the current budget to help make up for the shortfall.
To cope with the missed revenue, the agency is laying off employees or scaling them back to seasonal work.