OLYMPIA…The Supreme Court notified Sen. Steve O’Ban that it has accepted an amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief filed by O’Ban and Sen. Mike Padden in a class-action lawsuit against Sound Transit.


The brief adds to the information that will be considered by the Court in Black v. Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority, which contends that Sound Transit has been unconstitutionally overcharging taxpayers in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties since the passage of ST3 in 2016.


O’Ban, R-Pierce County, and Padden, R-Spokane Valley, led a 2017 Senate investigation into Sound Transit and how it acquired its $54-billion taxing authority. As a result of the investigation, O’Ban has repeatedly sponsored legislation to restructure the valuation system for car-tab fees and to hold Sound Transit accountable for the inflated fees that are based on Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price of a vehicles and not actual cash value.


The brief argues that the statue authorizing Sound Transit to seek additional motor-vehicle excise taxes violated Article II, section 37 of the state Constitution. It also notes that Sound Transit could come back to the Legislature with a lawful and fairer approach to determining vehicle values and tab fees.


“I’m pleased that the Court accepted the brief,” said O’Ban, whose constituents rejected the ST3 project but are being hit hard by inflated car-tab fees. “The unconstitutional nature of the ST3 revenue scheme needs to be fixed. Taxpayers need car-tab relief. Sound Transit should be held accountable for its actions. And public trust needs to be restored.”