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Sunnyside Sun: Six year transportation plan needs funding

Nine projects totaling $15 million, were earmarked in June by council for advancement. Total money match the city needs to generate over six years is $1.5 million. The types of projects prioritized include general upgrades, resurfacing, gutters, storm drains, ADA ramps, safety upgrades sidewalk improvements and more. […] Council discussed councilmatic fundraising but deferred this type of decisions due to an upcoming statewide Initiative 976 on the ballot this November.

— Deb Brumley

The Herald of Everett: Another big ballot battle is brewing on the cost of car tabs

If approved on the Nov. 5 general election ballot, and if it withstands an almost certain legal challenge, it would siphon off millions of dollars flowing into accounts used each year to buy buses, expand transit service, repave streets, maintain ferries, build roads, fix bridges and run the Washington State Patrol. And it could force Sound Transit to delay or discard elements of its voter-approved ST3 expansion which is supposed to bring light rail service to Everett, Tacoma and Eastside cities in the next 20 years.

— Jerry Cornfield

The Columbian (Letter): Good streets cost money

Having lived over twenty-one years in “Pothole USA,” just south of us, I vehemently oppose reducing this tax. Most of us react reflexively to decreasing any taxes without thinking about how most of the money is actually spent. This money provides this state with remarkable roads, highways, repaving, repair of potholes, etc.

— Harriet G. Anani

Seattle Times: Tim Eyman’s initiative to cut car-tab taxes would cost billions in transportation funding, state says

A fall ballot measure to cut car-tab costs across Washington state would blow a $4 billion hole in local and state transportation funding over the next six years, a new report says. Local governments could lose about $2.3 billion and the state could lose about $1.9 billion over the next six years if Initiative 976 is passed, according to the fiscal impact statement released by the state Office of Financial Management this week.

— Heidi Groover

Shoreline Area News: Notes from the Shoreline City Council meeting held July 22nd, 2019

If passed by the voters in November, I-976 will significantly disrupt funding of roadway and sidewalk preservation projects and reduce funds for new transportation projects in the City as well as regionally.

— Pam Cross

The Columbian: Car-tab revenue drives summer road work in Battle Ground

Summer street maintenance and preservation projects are underway using proceeds from the city’s $20 vehicle licensing fee.The fee, part of the Battle Ground Transportation Benefit District, generated about $280,000 that will be used on street projects this year. Projects include crack sealing, chip sealing and microsurfacing to prevent water from penetrating pavements.

— Staff report

Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber: WSF officials host meeting on Vashon

At least two people inquired about modeling and data analysis, with one woman asking about artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Government Relations Director John Vezina responded, saying that Tim Eyman has another measure on the ballot this November, which would return car tabs to $30 and hurt transportation funding. “As you talk about AI and other things, there is no money for us to invest in that. We are at bare bones just trying to keep our system running,” he said, noting that again this summer, because of funding limitations, WSF will have only one relief vessel.

— Susan Riemer

The Herald of Everett (Editorial): Keep Everett’s light-rail link on track

The ST3 project faces an existential challenge later this year in Initiative 976, Tim Eyman’s latest attempt to deliver $30 car tabs. In doing so, however, the initiative would slash revenue for transportation funding, in particular one funding source for ST3, wiping out $7 billion to complete the regional light rail system that voters have approved. Voters, Franklin said, need to know that the the light rail investment that they already are paying into will eventually benefit them, that “ST3 is worth fighting for.” Losing that revenue, Somers said, more than delaying light rail’s arrival in Everett, could mean it might never arrive here.

— Editorial Board

Seattle Transit Blog: NO on Initiative 976

Sound Transit would suffer a revenue loss of about 12%, threatening many of the projects just approved in 2016. Transit agencies across the state would lose an important source of funding. Most notably, this would cripple Seattle’s Transportation Benefit District, which funds an increment of bus service within the city. Finally, Amtrak Cascades draws much of its funding from license fees. I-976 is a setback for all attempts to give people an alternative to sitting in traffic and polluting the air. Vote for more transit. Vote No on Initiative 976.

— Editors Martin Duke, Frank Chiachiere, and Brent White

The Herald of Everett: Cities will suffer if voters approve $30 car tabs

“From my perspective, $20 a year is a small price to pay to ensure that potholes are repaired in a timely manner, roads are being paved and preserved for longevity, snow plows are keeping the streets clear when needed, and safe sidewalks are being constructed and maintained for pedestrian safety in our community,” said Brent Kirk, city manager for Granite Falls, in an email. Car tab fees, which in 2018 brought in $77,000, account for about a third of the Granite Falls street fund, he said. “There is no other revenue option available, which is why the transportation benefit districts were created in the first place,” Kirk said.

— Lizz Giordano

Spokesman-Review (Letter): I-976 not in our interest

It seems Tim Eyman and Mike Fagan are preying on people’s inability to connect the dots between tax dollars and decent streets. At least 352,000 voters don’t understand road maintenance isn’t free. Complaints about potholes abound on the opinion page of The Spokesman-Review. Unfortunately, potholes don’t repair themselves. It takes money to transport ($) someone ($) in a truck ($), capable of hauling material ($) to repair the hole ($), which all costs, well, money. Don’t vote against your own best interest! Everybody uses the roads. Even if you never leave home and shop exclusively at Amazon, your goods are delivered by multiple vehicles which have used numerous roads.

— Steve LaCombe

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Will the latest Tim Eyman initiative gut Sound Transit ‘like a pig?’

Sound Transit is an agency that evokes fury in initiative promoter Tim Eyman. Off the ballot for several election cycles, Eyman is back with a measure that would roll back and limit motor vehicle licensing fees to $30, 20 years after voters passed a similar measure and put him in business. The latest initiative would undermine one of the three pillars underpinning Sound Transit 3, the voter-approved expansion designed to extend light rail service north to Everett, south to Tacoma, east to Redmond and Issaquah, and also to Burien, West Seattle and Ballard. It would cost, by Sound Transit estimate, $6.95 billion. Eyman doesn’t dispute the figure.

— Joel Connelly

Reporter Newspapers: King County Struggles To Fund Roads And Bridges; program is underfunded by roughly $250 million annually

Funding for roads and bridges in King County has been dwindling for years, and despite warnings as far back as 2014, money for capital investments in unincorporated areas is still set to run out within the next six years. The scope of the problem has been well documented in various studies, including the 2017 annual bridges report released last August. The county owns or maintains 182 bridges that range in age from 10 to 100 years old, with the median age being 65 — or 15 years older than their typical useful lifespan.

— Aaron Kunkler

Crosscut: Tim Eyman’s latest initiative would undo local transportation choices

We cannot, with integrity, complain about the transportation options in our region and simultaneously defund the projects meant to correct the problems. We cannot say we want people to have a livable wage in our region, and insist on deleting their salaries from our coffers.

— Lola E. Peters

KING5: Initiative would take a nearly $7 billion bite out of Sound Transit’s revenue

The initiative by Tim Eyman would drive a ‘significant amount of tax revenue’ away from projects and services, a statement from the agency reads. That includes building out the 116-mile light rail system that will eventually stretch from Tacoma to Everett and east to Redmond, Kirkland, and Issaquah. It would also impact plans for more rapid transit bus service, and expansion of the Sounder service.

— Kipp Robertson

The Urbanist: Tim Eyman Is Back with Another Anti-Transportation Initiative, and It’s Going to the Ballot

Eyman’s initiative misrepresents the truth of transportation and administrative costs. In fact, the initiative does not even remove state statute that allows the Washington State Department of Licensing to continue collecting additional fees, such as ensuring the cost of plate reflection is covered. The obsession with a $30 flat rate car tab obfuscates the increasing processing costs and basic maintenance, repair, and expansion of transportation facilities across the state. After all, the gas tax is limited in scope and itself falls short of covering the laundry list of transportation investments that state and local governments must make. Voters would be wise to make sure this initiative ends up in the dust bin of history instead of law.

— Stephen Fesler

The Spokesman-Review: Eyman-Fagan initiative would eliminate many vehicle license fees, including Spokane’s

If I-976 passes, the city of Spokane would lose about $2.5 million a year earmarked for fixing residential streets., said Marlene Feist, city spokeswoman. That’s more than half of the $4.5 million the city spends on fixing residential roads. Arterial streets are funded separately. “Over time, it would continue to degrade residential areas,” Feist said. “It could be more potholes. It could be more cracking.” The city owns 1,449 miles of residential and non-arterial lane miles and 758 arterial lane miles; however, arterial lanes draw more than 90 percent of the total traffic in Spokane. Spokane City Councilman Breean Beggs said he opposes the initiative. He said that fixing potholes and road repairs are in the top five requests from surveys of citizens, and taking money away from those initiatives likely would be ill-received.

— Jim Camden and Will Campbell