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‘Why are we voting?’ Pierce Co. residents speak out against lawsuits challenging $30 car tabs

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PIERCE COUNTY - Pierce County resident Jerry Hughes has been getting around in same ride for the last 20 years.

“I cannot replace it. I don’t have any money on reserves,” Hughes said.

Hughes says he is a veteran living on disability after getting injured on the job.

It’s been a struggle to pay his car tabs for his 1998 Ford Explorer. The fee more than doubled to pay for ST3’s light rail expansion.

“Today is the 7. I am already broke. You want to talk about poverty, the only thing that’s keeping us from being homeless is this place that I live at has cheap rent,” Hughes said.

Hughes is among the majority of Pierce County voters who said yes to the $30 dollar car initiative or I-976. As of Thursday afternoon, 67% of Pierce County voters approved of I-976.

But the majority of King County voters worried about transportation impacts voted against I-976.

On Thursday Mayor Jenny Durkan called the impacts catastrophic, saying it would cut $24 million from the city’s transportation programs including cuts to 100,000 hours of bus service.

“It is very convenient to have bus routes running, especially downtown,” Seattle commuter Claudia said.

With the stakes so high, the city of Seattle and King County announced they will sue over I-976.

“We respect the right of voters in other communities to decide what is best for their communities, but the state should not override the will of Seattle voters,” Mayor Durkan said.

Some Pierce County residents on Thursday refuted Durkan’s logic.

“Not sure why we would have to subsidize a project that severely impacts Seattle if that’s the case,” Daniel Sparkman said.

“I am willing to do my part, absolutely, but some things are just a little extreme,” Danika Evans said.

Evans says her last car tab for her 2016 Kia was close to $700.

“I think they can allocate the money for different things. They can do a better job of managing the money of where it goes,” Evans said.

For Hughes, the car tab issue is affecting his family’s livelihood. He says a lawsuit fighting the outcome of voters statewide is a blatant disregard for the democratic process.

“People are wondering then, why are we voting for things that we want if you are just going to get away with it?" Hughes said.

As of early Thursday afternoon, only 4 counties rejected I-976 and they are King, Whatcom, Jefferson and Thurston counties.

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