Transportation Back on Track

Transportation Back On Track

By:  Maren Calvert

Fifty-three percent (53%) 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 projected to stop while the governments consider where to find funding.  In addition, smaller local projects to improve crosswalks, install 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 District(s) are expected to lose more than $5.2 million per year when the new law takes effect. 

But a temporary stay as been granted. 

Last week, a court in King County granted an injunction prohibiting I-976 from going into effect.  In doing so, the Court held:  “If the collection of [$30] vehicle license fees and taxes stops on December 5, 2019 [as planned], there will be no way to retroactively collect those revenues if, at the conclusion of this case, the Court concludes that I-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 calendar.  HLG recommends 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.   

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