Orting fires shot across Sound Transit’s bow waiting for car tab lawsuit

Feb 25, 2020, 6:02 AM | Updated: 9:47 am
car tabs, Orting...

While the courts figure out what to do with $30 dollar car tab measure I-976, one Pierce County town is doing what it can to give drivers some relief.

WA Supreme Court upholds ST3 in car tabs lawsuit

Orting residents overwhelmingly supported I-976, voting 65 percent in favor of $30 car tabs last November. The Orting City Council decided to honor that vote by eliminating its portion of the tab fees.

Since 2012, the city has added $20 to the tabs to pay for road maintenance. That fee is now gone. Orting Mayor Joshua Penner said this honors the voters, and it protects against whatever court decision might finally come out of this.

“We don’t want to be in a situation where we’re paying this money back,” Mayor Penner said. “We don’t want to be in a situation where we’re taking this money in and can’t utilize it for the road projects that we promised we would get done. We would rather have it in your pocket and not have it at all.”

Mayor Penner said it doesn’t make financial sense to keep collecting money that the courts might decide is unconstitutional.

“There’s just nobody that can read into that crystal ball,” he said. “In the meantime, every dollar that’s collected after January 1 when the initiative was supposed to go into effect, is potentially a dollar that has to be paid back.”

Washington driver caught using black marker to conceal expired car tabs

Some might say that this is just a small town making a political statement, but Mayor Penner said that’s not what this is about. He called it good budgeting policy, and he hopes other cities look at this move carefully and consider this option.

“Where’s the best place for this money if we know we can’t spend it,” he asked other city councils to consider. “I hope they believe the best place for the money is in their citizen’s pockets.”

Orting only has about 8,500 residents, but the $20 tab fee generated $141,000 dollars last year. Mayor Penner said the city’s roads are in good shape, and they have some reserves should they need emergency work.

“Taking the citizens of Orting’s tab fee from $20 to $0 is not going to break our bank,” the mayor said. “It’s not going to completely redefine transportation funding across the state, but it does shift the conversation away from tab fees, which I think needs to happen. Tab fees have just become unsustainable.”

Mayor Penner said Orting residents likely pay about $1,500 a year to Sound Transit. That’s more than they pay for the local schools, local fire, and local police. And he said they get no benefit for it. That’s not an equitable way to fund transportation, in his mind.

All in all, he believes the city is doing right by its citizens.


Tow truck drivers...
Chris Sullivan

Washington tow truck drivers beg state lawmakers for more protection on roads

Tow truck drivers are begging the state Legislature for more protection after a deadly year on Washington's roads.
7 days ago
Chris Sullivan

Washington State Ferries to slowly start returning normal service this week

Ferry riders have been struggling with a reduced sailing schedule for about a month now, but there could be some service improvements coming.
14 days ago
light rail...
Chris Sullivan

Light rail trains finally testing on East Link tracks

Light rail cars are running on the East Link tracks in the first phase of systems integration testing before service begins in 2023.
19 days ago
WSDOT, roads...
Chris Sullivan

WSDOT workforce shortage could mean more closed roads this winter

The vaccine mandate and a global lack of workers is expected to impact the state's ability to clear the snow from roads and keep the mountain passes open.
21 days ago
I-5 JBLM traffic...
Chris Sullivan

Improvements to I-5 through JBLM have been ‘game-changer’ for congestion

A new HOV lane on I-5 through JBLM has led to across-the-board decreases in congestion along what's historically been a problematic roadway.
26 days ago
tolls, good to go, toll rate, WSDOT...
Chris Sullivan

WSDOT stepping up its game with revamped website

This weekend, the Washington State Department of Transportation will unveil its new website, promising a much more user-friendly experience.
28 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

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.
Orting fires shot across Sound Transit’s bow waiting for car tab lawsuit