Santa Clara County Vehicle Registration Fee


Senate Bill 83 (Hancock), signed into law in 2009, authorized countywide transportation agencies such as the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) to implement a Vehicle Registration Fee (VRF) of up to $10 on motor vehicles registered within the county to pay for transportation programs and projects. The county’s voters approved a VRF on November 2, 2010. Senate Bill 83 requires that the revenue collected be used on programs and projects bearing a relationship or benefit to the owners of motor vehicles paying the fee.

VRF programs and projects must be consistent with the regional transportation plan, and SB83 requires the VTA Board to make a specified finding of fact in that regard. The statute also requires the Board to develop an expenditure plan that specifies the types of programs and projects that are eligible for VRF funding. The expenditure plan confirms that VRF revenue is spent on transportation-related programs and projects that have a direct relationship or benefit to the persons who pay the fee.

The majority of VRF revenues, 80%, are allocated to the Local Road Improvement and Repair Program. Under this program, the funds are returned directly to Santa Clara County jurisdictions using a formula based on each city or town's population and Santa Clara County’s road and expressway mileage. Funds may be used for the following project types:

  1. Pavement Rehabilitation/Reconstruction.
  2. Traffic Control Signals, Traveler Information & Safety Devices.
  3. Curb & Gutter Rehabilitation/Reconstruction.
  4. Roadway-Related Facilities to Improve Safety.
  5. Automobile-Related Environmental Mitigation including Roadway Sweeping & Litter Control.


An additional 15% of the VRF revenue is reserved for the Countywide Program. These funds may be used for the following purposes:

  1. Intelligent Transportation System Technologies (including traffic control signals, safety and traveler information systems).
  2. Countywide Environmental Mitigation related to pollution caused by autos and trucks.
  3. Matching funds for Federal/State/Regional transportation grants applied to any roadway transportation project included in the adopted Valley Transportation Plan.


Funds may be used for all expenses relating to administration, planning, design, construction, as well as procurement and operation of a Complete Streets System.

Up to the remaining 5% of the VRF revenue is reserved for program administration. Unused administration funds, or any leftover funds from under-budget projects, return to the Countywide Program for future use.

Santa Clara County residents who would like to recommend a project for VRF funding should contact their local jurisdiction’s public works or transportation department. For general questions, or to obtain an annual report providing specific information regarding use of VRF funds, email Bill Hough at