Transportation Back on Track

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Traffic at Chkalov and Mill Plain in Vancouver, WA

One way arrowsFifty-three percent of Washington voters recently passed I-976, a bill that reduced registration fees for most vehicles to just $30 statewide. As a result, several large city, county and state transportation infrastructure projects are expected to be put on hold while governments consider where to find funding.

In addition, smaller local projects to improve crosswalks, install Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ramps, repair pavement, fill potholes and fix street lighting have been removed from the calendar pending implementation of the new law.

In all, the Vancouver, Battle Ground, Ridgefield, and Washougal transportation benefit districts are expected to lose more than $5.2 million per year when the new law takes effect.

But a temporary stay as been granted.

On November 26, 2019, a King County court granted an injunction prohibiting I-976 from going into effect. In doing so, the court held that “If the collection of vehicle license fees and taxes stops on December 5, 2019, there will be no way to retroactively collect those revenues if, at the conclusion of this case, the Court concludes that 1-976 is unconstitutional.”

On the other hand, if the court concludes I-976 was properly passed, the state could always issue refunds of license fees in excess of $30.

The balance of harms, therefore, weighed in favor of prohibiting I-976 from going into effect while the court considers the legal issues.

As a result of this injunction, transportation infrastructure projects in your neighborhood should be placed back on the calendar.

Horenstein Law Group recommends that our readers contact their city, county and state elected officials and transportation offices to ensure previously-approved street, road, crosswalk and bicycle infrastructure changes continue as planned.

Let’s work together to improve the safety and quality of our community.