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Would you vote for $30 car tab fees?

SEATTLE – The cost of car tabs has been a big story this year.  The higher registration costs were approved by voters in November, with the passing of Sound Transit 3.  But some lawmakers and a well-known political activist have been working to lower the fees.

“I’m not driving a Tesla or a Ferrari or anything like that,” Redmond driver Jim Gold said.

That doesn’t matter.  Gold still got a big surprise.

“All of a sudden there was an extra $273 on there that wasn’t there before,” Gold said of his car tab bill.

It’s a car tab tax hike to pay for Sound Transit 3 that will eventually extend the light rail system all the way from Everett to Tacoma.

“Let’s have a do-over on all car tab taxes that have grown over the years on vehicles in the state of Washington and ask yourselves the question, do you think that’s fair?” asked political activist Tim Eyman.

Eyman doesn’t think that’s fair.  So he hopes to gather enough signatures to get Initiative 947 on the ballot in November 2018. It would lower car tab fees to $30 for any year, make, or model.

“Let’s everybody in the state have a voice,” said Eyman.

The controversial Eyman is sparking attention from both Democrats, who largely support ST3, and Republicans, who tried to stop the light rail system.

Abigail Doerr, the advocacy director for Transportation Choices Coalition, wrote, “Voters approved the measure last fall because they wanted a reliable option to get out of traffic.”

Republican state Sen. Dino Rossi says this is happening because the Legislature failed to pass a bill he sponsored with Sen. Steve O’Ban to reduce car tab fees.

“Ours would’ve resulted in $4 billion less for Sound Transit. They would’ve still had $50 billion out of their $54 billion.  Tim Eyman’s initiative, if it should gather signatures and pass, would more likely be a 97 percent cut from what Sound Transit is after,” O’Ban said.

Doerr said, “Initiative 947 is yet another Tim Eyman effort to keep us stuck in traffic. Initiative 947 will delay and cancel voter-approved transit projects.”

But Rossi argues without lawmakers intervening, initiatives like Eyman’s will only continue.

“We are about ready for a tax revolt and Sound Transit is right in the crosshairs,” said Rossi.