O’Ban: Early returns on I-976 send strong message to Sound Transit

Nov 6, 2019

Car-tab relief legislation could have satisfied voters before they turned to initiative process


OLYMPIASen. Steve O’Ban issued the following statement regarding the early returns on Initiative-976, which lowers car-tab fees statewide to $30.

For the past three years, Sen. O’Ban, R-Pierce County, has led the effort to bring car-tab relief to the counties that were subjected to the exorbitant fees levied on behalf of the Sound Transit’s ST3 light rail project. During that time, O’Ban warned his colleagues in the Legislature that if they didn’t do their job, voters would take action through the initiative process. He predicted such a response would result in a bigger impact to state revenue than the 55-percent cut to the Sound Transit portion of car-tabs in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties that his legislation would have done.

“The early election results showing passage of I-976 send a very strong message to Sound Transit. Car-tab fees are too high. People can’t afford them and they are angry no one has been listening to their calls for relief.

“My bill would have cut the Sound Transit portion of the car-tab fees by 55 percent. I-976 will have a much larger impact since it applies statewide and cuts all car-tab fees. This could have been avoided.

“It was the legislature’s job to show leadership. I warned my colleagues in the legislature for three years that the voters would step up to lower the fees if the Legislature ignored them. And they have done exactly that.”

As of this morning, election results show that I-976 is passing by an 11-point margin statewide. Results also show the margin is even larger in Pierce County (35 points) and Snohomish County (23 points).