Eyman’s new tack to cut transportation funding

Tim Eyman has filed a whopping 126 initiatives this year,
many of which would gut transportation funding.

It’s been difficult to track which, if any, of these initiatives he would actually pursue with signature gathering, but it now appears he has settled on a strategy.

Recently, Eyman filed Initiative 869, which he calls the We Love Our Cars initiative. It eliminates several taxes and fees. It eliminates weight fees, eliminates Sound Transit’s current 0.3% car-tab tax, prevents the proposed Sound Transit 3 0.8% car-tab increase, eliminates tolls on I-405 and Highway 167, and prevents any planning for a “vehicle miles traveled" charge. While a full analysis has not been completed, it appears this initiative would cut about $3.3 billion from transportation revenues over ten years.

Eyman was running out of time (July 8 deadline) to gather signatures -- particularly for I-1421, his MVET roll-back initiative that was expected to be his primary vehicle. However, his new I-869 is an initiative to the legislature, which means he would have until Dec. 30 to gather about 250,000 signatures.

Initiatives to the Legislature, if certified, are submitted to the Legislature at its next regular session in January. Once submitted, the Legislature must take one of the following three actions:

1. The Legislature can adopt the initiative as proposed, in which case it becomes law without a vote of the people;

2. The Legislature can reject or refuse to act on the proposed initiative, in which case the initiative must be placed on the ballot at the next state general election; or

3. The Legislature can approve an alternative to the proposed initiative, in which case both the original proposal and the Legislature's alternative must be placed on the ballot at the next state general election.

The good news is that AGC and AGC’s BUILD PAC were gearing up to fight I-1421 on the November ballot because it would cut projects and funding only recently passed by the Legislature. By changing course and pursing I-869 as an initiative to the Legislature, Eyman would forego a ballot fight this fall, as the issue would be taken up in the 2017 legislative session (assuming the requisite number of signatures is gathered), and then perhaps on the 2018 ballot.

AGC will continue to monitor the situation.

If you have questions, call or email AGC’s Chief Lobbyist Jerry VanderWood, 360.352.5000.