$4.2 Billion in Washington State Transportation Funding Rescued by the Courts

The Washington Supreme Court struck down an initiative that would have cost state and local governments an estimated $4.2 billion in transportation funding.

2 minute read

October 15, 2020, 12:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Sound Transit Link Light Rail

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"[A] measure promising to cut car-tab taxes to $30 a year has been blocked by Washington state courts," reports Melissa Santos.

"[T]he state Supreme Court struck down Initiative 976, a measure Washington voters approved last November to reduce the cost of annual vehicle licensing fees," adds Santos. "The measure has been on hold for nearly a year as legal challenges worked their way through the court system." 

The state Supreme Court rejected the initiative on technicalities: because it combined more than one subject in one initiative. Eight of nine of the court's judges also said the initiative had a misleading title.

Santos provides the history of I-976, including information about its champion, anti-tax activist Tim Eyman. "One of Eyman’s main targets with the initiative was Sound Transit, which is building a regional light rail network paid for in part by higher car-tab fees. Puget Sound voters approved that transit expansion, and the increased fees, in 2016," according to Santos. This is the third setback for Eyman's anti-tax crusade in the state's courts.

More details on the expected consequences of the court's ruling is included in the source article. Heidi Groover provides additional news coverage of the court decision for The Seattle Times.

Previous Planetizen coverage of Initiative 976:

Thursday, October 15, 2020 in Crosscut

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