Car-tab initiative fallout: ‘Hunger Games-style’ budget fight or ‘rethink’ of spending priorities?

The changes would reduce funding to Sound Transit and state accounts that pay for road and highway work, special needs transportation, Washington State Ferries and more. Cities currently relying on local car-tab fees would lose money used largely for road maintenance. (Seattle Times)

Vote No on I-976: Something this Democrat and Republican can agree on

I-976 is a misleading initiative on this November’s ballot. It sounds good, but like all offers of a free lunch, it’s not free: It de-funds state and local transportation budgets so that our most needed projects and programs become at-risk for delay or cancellation. This includes Spokane’s North-South Corridor, the Barker Road project, road maintenance and pothole repair as well as numerous transit projects. (The Inlander, Opinion)

We endorse: A ‘no’ vote on I-976. Tim Eyman swings a butcher knife in $30 car tabs rerun

In Pierce County, nearly a dozen communities — as large as Tacoma and as small as Carbonado — would lose their transportation benefit district funding. TBDs, duly approved by locally elected leaders, generate needed dollars for local traffic projects.

In Tacoma, officials estimate a $3 million annual drop in TBD revenue, which equates to 80 residential blocks of street work. (The News Tribune)

Press Releases

Diverse statewide coalition kicks off fight against Tim Eyman’s anti-transportation initiative | Needed improvements to roads, bridges, overpasses, transit services, street maintenance all threatened by funding cuts imposed by I-976

Download Seattle Press Release

Download Spokane Press Release

Download Vancouver Press Release

Vote no on Eyman’s I-976. It will devastate the Tri-Cities 

The ramifications are broad, but the first thing to understand is that the cuts will force the Legislature to re-write the transportation budget with less money and ever-increasing costs. Needed projects and services will be cut, and counties across Washington will lose out on important investments, including right here in the Tri-Cities. (Tri-City Herald)

I-976’s cuts would come from local projects

The impact is larger than big road projects and transit; I-976 also eliminates the ability of communities to form transportation benefit districts (TBDs). Like ferry districts, TBDs allow local residents to raise local funds to solve local problems. Here in Kitsap County, Bremerton and Bainbridge Island both rely on TBD funding to pay for critical street maintenance and road repair. If I-976 passes, more than $1 million would be lost in these communities to fund local needs. (Kitsap Sun)

County begins to focus on Renton’s transit issues

Metro estimates it could lose $119 million over the next five years if I-976 is passed. Sound Transit could lose $20 billion through 2041, Aaron Kunkler reported in September. Renton could lose 10,000 service hours of its main route to Seattle, Route 101. (Renton Reporter)

Cities try to prepare for potential ‘massive impact’ if car-tab fees slashed by Initiative 976

I-976 would cap many vehicle license fees at $30. Electric-vehicle licensing fees would also be lowered, although a new $75 fee for hybrid and electric vehicle owners would likely remain in place. Around Puget Sound, the initiative would repeal the car-tab tax used by Sound Transit to build light rail, commuter bus and Sounder rail projects if the agency could successfully retire, defease or refinance bonds it’s sold against the tax. (Seattle Times)

Local control is a loser with Initiative 976

Whether or not you feel your car tabs cost too much, the reason residents should reject I-976 has more to do with how it would impact a local government’s planning and operation. Voter-approved fees could still be enacted under I-976, but a city’s ability to impose a $20 fee through its Transportation Benefit District — which is the case in Bremerton, Port Orchard and Bainbridge (though islanders pay $30) — would be taken away. (The Kitsap Sun)

Election 2019: Initiative 976 will harm state’s roads and highways

I-976 will hurt funding for public transportation and specifically hurt — perhaps gut — Sound Transit, which provides mass transit to King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. In 2016, voters in those counties approved rail projects that will take more than 20 years to complete. I-976 would eliminate funding and drive up construction and bonding costs. (Walla Walla Union-Bulletin)

In Our View: We can’t afford the savings I-976 would bring

Passage of I-976 would short the statewide transportation budget, including highway construction and the Washington State Patrol, by an estimated $4 billion over the next decade. In Vancouver alone, the city would lose more than half the $9 million it spends annually to carry out its street funding strategy; it also would miss out on transportation grants that require local matching funds. (The Columbian)

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. (The Herald of Everett)

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. (Sunnyside Sun)

Downtown Anacortes, Washington

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. (Letter in The Columbian)

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… (Seattle Times)

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. (Shoreline Area News)

WSF officials host meeting on Vashon

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. (Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber)

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… Losing that revenue, Somers said, more than delaying light rail’s arrival in Everett, could mean it might never arrive here. (The Herald of Everett, Editorial)

NO on Tim Eyman's I-976

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. (Seattle Transit Blog)

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. (The Columbian)

Will the latest Tim Eyman initiative gut Sound Transit ‘like a pig?’

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. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

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… Don’t vote against your own best interest! Everybody uses the roads. (Letter in the Spokesman-Review)

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… (The Herald of Everett)

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. (Reporter Newspapers)

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.” … 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. (The Spokesman-Review)

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… Voters would be wise to make sure this initiative ends up in the dust bin of history instead of law. (The Urbanist)

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. (Crosscut)

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. (KING5)