How Tim Eyman's I-976 will affect the Moses Lake area
Updated: Nov 10, 2019
- Moses Lake, WA
Tim Eyman’s Initiativeiative 976 was passed by the people of Washington by 52.93% 969,579 votes. The initiative was opposed by 47.07% of those who are eligible to vote ranging in at 862,210 of those who were registered that voted.
The Initiative is aimed to reduce the car tab fee to a cap fee of $30. However, Tim Eyman’s Initiative will cut $60 million in funding to 150 major Washington towns and cities on both sides the cascades along with cutting Washington State Patrol’s budget ($15 million a year at risk). The fee cut comes from the reduced fee set in place in each Washington town and city. In Moses Lake and Wenatchee the fee is the state average at $20 with Spokane at $20 and Seattle at $80.
The new initiative will put Moses Lake's budget at risk to pay for road construction, maintenance and local transit service. On April, 27th of 2019 a 17in pipe on E 5th Ave ruptured requiring the City of ML to pass an emergency resolution to fix the pipe. The resolution allowed the city to waive the formal bidding process. The city approved a contract with Pegram Construction, based out of Othello, WA to complete the about $113,500 project.
The Initiative will cut the state’s funding by $6 billion. The budget cut doesn’t only affect Western Washington’s large scale transportation network but as well as Central Washington’s.
In Moses Lake, I-976 will cut $14.5 million from the Port of Mose Lake’s future railroad improvements, and $6 million from transportation units that help assist in the transportation of veterans, people who have a disability, and senior citizens.
The Initiative will also reduce $6 million from the Grant Transit Authority. Local funding for street and traffic maintenance such as pavement repairs, crack sealing, lane striping, street lighting, signals, and pedestrian improvements such as crosswalks, ADA ramp work, and sidewalk repairs will also be affecting the small towns that need it most, Royal City and Soap Lake.
Wednesday afternoon Gov. Jay Inslee directed the state Department of Transportation to postpone projects that were not yet underway.
“I have also asked other state agencies that receive transportation funding, including the Washington State Patrol and Department of Licensing, to defer non-essential spending as we review impacts,” Inslee said in a news release.
In Seattle alone, city officials expect to lose at least $32 million annually in car-tab taxes that help pay for a range of services, including local bus lines and road maintenance.
“We have to be realistic … we may not have the monies that we’d hoped to have to continue our important transportation investments and simple maintenance,” Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw said at a budget committee meeting Wednesday morning.
I-976 will also eliminate local car-tab fees that pay for transportation needs in 61 other cities, including Everett, Tacoma, and Spokane. Some officials were already looking for ways to try to overturn the Initiative through the courts.
By midday Wednesday, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced he was asking the county prosecuting attorney
“to prepare a lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of I-976,” according to a news release.
“We are not going to abandon the notion of building a functioning transit and transportation system just because of one initiative,” Constantine said. “We are going to find the way, and we are going to use legislative and legal paths to get there.”
Seattle, too, intends to sue. Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes plan to hold a press conference Thursday to announce a lawsuit that will seek to block the Initiative.
Jay Inslee’s full press releas.
“It is clear that the majority of voters objected to current car tab levels. It is also clear that this vote means there will be adverse impacts on our state transportation system. I believe Washingtonians recognize the need to support a safe and reliable transportation system which includes buses, light rail, and ferries and is essential to support our robust economy, ease congestion and fight climate change. Accordingly, in response to the will of the people, I am taking immediate action. I have directed the Washington State Department of Transportation to postpone projects not yet underway. I have also asked other state agencies that receive transportation funding, including the Washington State Patrol and Department of Licensing, to defer non-essential spending as we review impacts. I will work with legislators, agency leadership and stakeholders on how best to respond to the impacts of this initiative. I remain committed to finding solutions to meet Washington’s growing and urgent transportation needs.”