SEATTLE — The budget deal is essentially done in Olympia, but there’s still unfinished business with only a few days left in the final special session.
The session ends July 28, but the promise of a car tab fee rollback has gone silent.
So what happened?
Voters approved Sound Transit 3 in November and its decades-long, multi-billion dollar expansion. And like it or not, we're paying it.
“I think there was some sticker shock,” said Ricardo Gotla of the pro-ST3 group Transportation Choices.
He said it's not surprising that people don't like seeing tabs go up, but the goal is to ease traffic woes - and make expensive new cars pay for it.
A half-dozen bills were proposed and pushed in Olympia after tab fees hit mailboxes.
Opponents say Sound Transit was deliberately vague about costs, and the bills aim to help rebate customers over time and reign in the agency.
Lawmakers are in their third special session, and still no bill has been sent to Gov. Jay Inslee.
“I do think it was predominantly posturing,” Gotla said.
Sponsors for the more controversial bills were not available because of the holiday, but the loss of funding would set back Sound Transit's light rail expansion by years.
It has already been blasted by even some supporters as taking too long to complete.
Gotla says it's the price of progress: A hit today instead of supporting bills to cripple the future.
“It fundamentally undermines the entire voter-approved package. It puts about a $12 billion hole into Sound Transit 3,” he said of one of the proposals.
Inslee's office said Monday it is not confident supporters can get the votes in time as the focus now is on the capital budget and other funding priorities.