CHOKEPOINTS

Sound Transit attorneys have ‘doubts’ that settlement would be legal

Jul 24, 2018, 2:22 PM | Updated: Jul 25, 2018, 10:37 am
car-tab fees, car-tab bills, ST3 lawsuit...
(File, MyNorthwest)
(File, MyNorthwest)

Update Wednesday AM: Sound Transit responds

Sound Transit responded to a proposed deal. Agency spokesperson Geoff Patrick sent the following statement:

“The proposed settlement is related to a lawsuit that challenges Sound Transit’s ability to collect the MVET under the same vehicle depreciation schedule that has been in place for two decades, under legislation that was extensively debated. We are confident in the validity of the law and our attorneys are responding to the lawsuit.

“While the settlement offer will be reviewed, our attorneys have significant doubts the settlement would be legal since neither of the parties have the ability to unilaterally declare a law unconstitutional. Moreover, the Sound Transit Board cannot unilaterally reduce tax collections required to implement voter-approved projects. The adjustment proposed by the plaintiffs would significantly reduce MVET funding and could delay or eliminate transit alternatives. ”

Original story:

Sound Transit’s ability to use an out-dated and over-valued calculation for your car tabs remains under attack in court as the ST3 lawsuit proceeds. But lawyers offered the agency a deal Tuesday.

A class-action lawsuit was filed in Pierce County last month that argued that the taxing authority in voter-approved Sound Transit 3 (ST3) is unconstitutional because it did not tell legislators or the public how the car tab fees would be calculated. That calculation is based on a 1996 valuation system that was eventually repealed and replaced in 2006.

ST3 lawsuit deal

The plaintiffs want the car tabs thrown out and drivers refunded, putting billions of dollars worth of ST3 funding in jeopardy. Under the deal, lawyers want Sound Transit to adopt the newer, more car-owner friendly 2006 valuation, and repay the difference in tabs. According to Joel Ard of Immix Law Group, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, says this difference could amount to hundreds of dollars per car owner.

RELATED: Tim Eyman explains latest fight for $30 car tabs

“They’ve collected over $400 million in car tabs from March or so of last year through July of this year pursuant to that ST3 levy,” Ard told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “And as far as we’re concerned, the way it’s written, all of that is unconstitutional.”

Sound Transit has said it must use the older valuations because it issues bonds attached to them.

“If Sound Transit won’t compromise, we are in fact confident that we’re right and that we’re going to win this,” Ard said.

Still, Ard said that he would rather find a mutually beneficial agreement that will satisfy both sides and include “a lot of prompt relief for taxpayers who every year walk in and see that car tab bill, and at the same time, [for] folks who count on and believe in the light rail … that can stay in place, albeit at a lower levy rate.”

“There are supporters as well as opponents of Sound Transit in the area, they did get a lot of support for this levy and building these things, and compromise is an appropriate way to resolve litigation,” he stated.

Dori Monson on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dori monsonTune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

Dori Monson Show

Chokepoints

wood plank, sr 169...
Chris Sullivan

WSDOT archaeologist solves mystery of structure under Maple Valley Highway

The Maple Valley Highway finally reopened to all traffic Wednesday after an unexpected discovery pushed a weekend culvert project out three days.
5 days ago
WSDOT...
Chris Sullivan

WSDOT accounts for 21% of state employees fired over vaccine mandate

Of 1,887 state employees that lost their jobs over the vaccine mandate, the largest group was from the Washington State Department of Transportation.
7 days ago
Maple Valley Highway...
Chris Sullivan

King County crews find mystery structure under Maple Valley Highway

You never know what you'll find when you dig in this corner of the country. Road crews found that out this weekend when fixing a culvert under Highway 169.
7 days ago
Climate Pledge Arena...
Chris Sullivan

Getting to Climate Pledge Arena 101: Prepare to ditch the car

The old ways of getting to the arena in downtown Seattle have intentionally been made more difficult so that public transit is a more palatable option.
12 days ago
I-5, bumps...
Chris Sullivan

Why there are bumps along I-5 through downtown Seattle (and when they’ll go away)

When KIRO Radio's Dave Ross asks you to update something for him, you do it. So what's with those annoying bumps on I-5 SB out of downtown Seattle?
14 days ago
I-90, grooves...
Chris Sullivan

Why are portions of I-90 near Snoqualmie Pass so ‘groovy’?

Another question from Chris Sullivan's recent driving: What's with the horizontal grooves on portions of I-90, east of Snoqualmie Pass?
19 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Sound Transit attorneys have ‘doubts’ that settlement would be legal