Expert: $30 car tabs initiative could be ‘catastrophic’ for housing market

Oct 8, 2019, 12:43 PM | Updated: 12:46 pm
Seattle housing, suburbs, eviction, inventory...
(Windermere Real Estate)
(Windermere Real Estate)

As the debate rages over I-976 — an initiative to reduce car tabs in Washington state to $30 per vehicle — one expert has concerns about possible downstream effects the measure would have on Washington state’s housing market.

Can Washington survive $30 car tab measure if it passes?

“I think (I-976) is terrible,” Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien. “The effects are going to be potentially catastrophic.”

Gardner’s argument centers around the effect $30 car tabs would have on transit. Opponents have estimated the $30 car tabs measure would wipe out over $4 billion total in state, regional, and local transportation funding over the next decade. Officials also forecast being forced to delay or cancel various transportation projects.

If that happens, Gardner warns it could significantly affect the way people approach the home-buying process, both in Western Washington and across the state.

“Where we talk about price of homes, the further you are away, the cheaper it becomes,” said Gardner. “You still have to get to your jobs, and the trouble is it’s going to cut back significantly on buses, but not just buses on our existing road system — half of our ferry system will become obsolete by 2040.”

“If (I-976) passes, it’s only going to further decrease affordability — people live closest to where they need to be,” he added.

Dave Boze: No on I-976 campaign forgets how popular $30 tabs are

In places like King County, expensive housing prices could continue to rise, as people become less willing to buy further away from where they work.

“Very disconcerting,” he noted.

On Monday, Seattle City Council passed a resolution voicing its opposition to I-976, claiming that it would torpedo nearly $20 billion needed in funding for West Seattle and Ballard light rail construction.

“Puget Sound residents have voted to tax themselves to address their own transportation needs by building light rail for traffic relief, improving safety and maintenance of the existing right-of-way, and expanding bus access,” it reads.


Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross

car tabs, Orting...
Dave Ross

Ross: Did you vote for I-976 car tab cuts in 2019? Wish granted

While a vaccine mandate cost the ferry system 7% of its staff, let’s remember this is happening in a state that was ready to impose bigger cuts two years ago.
19 hours ago
Dave Ross

Ross: May we live long and prosper with our vaccine choices

Talk show host Dennis Praeger decided to put it all on the line to prove he’s right about vaccines.
2 days ago
Flu vaccine...
MyNorthwest Staff

A new ‘universal’ flu-COVID shot on the horizon, says local MD

Mercer Island’s Dr. Gordon Cohen discusses how future iterations of the COVID mRNA vaccine could also treat seasonal flu.
3 days ago
Crypto power plant...
Dave Ross

Ross: The troubling downside behind megawatts of crypto-power

Power plants feeding Bitcoin miners will create jobs, but they’ll do it by pumping CO2 into the air in service of creating more of the currency.
3 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: The real reason people don’t want to return to work

The extra unemployment benefits were cut off in September and most states elected not to continue them. Yet, millions of workers are still holding out.
6 days ago
Shatner, space...
Dave Ross

Ross: Shatner’s emotional response over trip to space exactly what we needed to hear

Space travel is a trip that every billionaire who thinks he’s a master of the universe needs to take as soon as possible.
7 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.

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.
Expert: $30 car tabs initiative could be ‘catastrophic’ for housing market