$30 vehicle tab fees could be on the November ballot this year

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OLYMPIA- It’s Tim Eyman’s latest battle over taxes.

Eyman turned in about 352,000 signatures on Thursday to the Secretary of State trying to get I-976 on the ballot this November.

Eyman claims voters in Pierce, Snohomish and King counties were misled about how expensive car tabs would get to pay for light rail expansion.

“Now that you know how obnoxiously expensive your car tabs are do you think this is fair,” asked Eyman.

He says voters deserve a do-over and a chance to clinch $30 tabs statewide.

“Eyman’s I-976 is not a solution it’s a wrecking ball,” Andrew Villeneuve with Northwest Progressive Institute said.

Opponents say Eyman’s initiative will jeopardize light rail expansion underway in portions of Western Washington.

“These communities will be mired in traffic congestion for decades with no alternatives to crowded roads,” Villeneuve said.

In a span of a year, tab fees collected in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties have already raised $329 million for light rail expansion.

Opponents claim Eyman’s initiative will hurt more than just light rail.

“We are talking about losing the lion’s share of funding not only for Amtrak Cascades and freight mobility and statewide rail programs,” Villeneuve said.

If you look at Department of Licensing’s breakdown you see that tab fees go to other things as well like state patrol and state ferries. Local districts also rely on tab fees for road resurfacing.

But Eyman says the state can restructure funding at a time when there is billions in tax surplus. When asked about light rail Eyman downplayed the issue that's because ST3, the $54 billion project, is largely paid for by sales tax not car tabs.

“We are going to  have a 9 month debate over this issue the other side is going to make their arguments we are going to make ours,” Eyman said.

It’s a debate many voters are passionate about.

“As long as they are putting it in the right places you will not hear me say a peep,” Seattle resident Michael Stevenson said.

“It seems like there is no limit to what they will keep adding on to the license tabs,” Snohomish County resident Paul Johnson said.

On Thursday, Sound Transit says if Eyman's initiative goes through its board may have to decide on delaying or canceling portions of ST3.





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