Statewide campaign against Tim Eyman's $30 car tab initiative kicks off

SEATTLE — King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan joined with labor groups and transit advocates Wednesday to help push voters to say no to Initiative 976, Tim Eyman's $30 car tab initiative that will be on the Nov. 5 ballot.

They argue that if passed, the initiative would devastate the state's transportation system by cutting funding and affecting projects already in progress, such as the Northgate light rail station.

The "No" campaign seeks to sway voters' minds beyond their wallets. Many people who were hit hard when they received car tab renewals that doubled, tripled or even quadrupled after ST3 passed in 2016 would welcome a flat, $30 fee.

But opponents of I-976 say the initiative would destroy funding for light rail, road construction and bus route expansions.

"Voters across Washington have supported transit investments and want more, better and faster options to where they need to go,"  Alex Hudson with the Transportation Choices Coalition said at a Wednesday morning news conference.

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"Every town in this state will lose the right to decide their own destiny on whether they want to pass to help them and their community on taxes and resources," Durkan said.

Eyman is an anti-tax advocate who rose to prominence 20 years ago with Initiative 695 -- also a $30 car tab initiative. It was approved by voters, but overturned by the Washington State Supreme Court.

Since then, Eyman has continued trying to get the issue on the ballot, succeeding this time. He argues the way car tabs are now calculated since ST3 caused prices to shoot up hundreds of dollars.

That topic is also the subject of a lawsuit against Sound Transit, which is now in state Supreme Court.

State officials recently announced if I-976 passed, it would cost state and local transit $4 billion in their budgets and would endanger smaller projects like road maintenance and street paving.