LOCAL NEWS

Sound Transit missing out on millions by ignoring trucks

Oct 26, 2017, 12:28 PM | Updated: 12:29 pm
(AP Photo/LM Otero)...
(AP Photo/LM Otero)
(AP Photo/LM Otero)

Sound Transit is missing out on an estimated $6.2 million in additional revenue from car-tab fees.

A weight standard created before Sound Transit began taxing residents living within its district exempts owners of 6,000-pound trucks from the annual tax for the agency, The Seattle Times reports.

What that means is truck owners have avoided the 1.1 percent tax that is used to pay for light rail, commuter trains, and Sound Transit’s bus service. And it isn’t a small number who aren’t paying the same as owners of smaller vehicles. The Times reports there are 31,692 passenger trucks within Sound Transit’s taxing district that stretches from Everett down past Tacoma and east to Sammamish and Issaquah.

Based on the inflated formula Sound Transit is using to value vehicles, The Times reports the agency could be making up to $6 million or more in addition to the $232 million in car-tab fees it expects to rake in. The value schedule the agency uses was inherited from the Legislature; it goes as far back as 1990 and has been found to overvalue vehicles.

A spokesperson for Sound Transit told the Times the agency would not try to tax the currently-exempt pickups.

Meanwhile, the debate over car-tab fees for the rest of those in the agency’s taxing district continues.

A misleading report was released by a pair of Republican senators over an investigation into Sound Transit. The report claimed the Senate Law and Justice Committee came to the conclusion that Sound Transit misled voters prior to the approval of the $54 billion tax package.

“The report certainly makes it sound like it’s a report of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, but it’s not,” Democratic State Senator Jamie Pedersen said.

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Sound Transit missing out on millions by ignoring trucks