Sound Transit says $30 car tab measure would jeopardize light rail expansion

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TACOMA, Wash. — Efforts to lower car tabs may have stalled in the Legislature but now an aggressive ballot initiative is underway to cut tab fees.

In Pierce County, the number of signatures  kept growing on Wednesday.

Tim Eyman is back at it — his push for $30 car tabs isn’t new. What is new is people like Paul Davis, who now support it because of buyer’s remorse.

“I didn’t expect my car tabs to double,” Davis said.

Davis voted yes to approve Sound Transit 3, a ballot measure last November. Now, he wants a do-over.

Some voters say they are willing to flip-flop, even if it jeopardizes the $54 billion expansion of light rail through King, Snohomish and Pierce counties.

“I am on a fixed income, I am retired, I can’t afford double tabs,” Davis said.

Eyman has to get 300,000 signatures by December to get the measure on a statewide ballot in November 2018.

“The reason why this initiative has taken off like a rocket is because people want to stick it to Sound Transit,” Eyman said.

Sound Transit says they stand to lose more than $8 billion if voters choose $30 flat car tabs statewide.

That means light rail expansion would be delayed or parts of it canceled.

“Tim Eyman is trying to bring Washington backwards. Sound Transit brought Washington and Puget Sound region forward into the future,”  said Ricardo Gotla, policy director of the Transportation Choices Coalition, which supports ST3 and says the region needs to invest in long-term traffic solutions now, not later.

“We have to move more people more quickly, more reliably, more affordably, and that's what Sound Transit gets us,” Gotla said.

Eyman is asking: At what cost?

“Now that you know how obnoxiously high your car tabs are, is it fair?" Eyman asked.

If voters approve Eyman’s ballot measure, it would go into effect in December 2018.