Washington State House Democrats


Reform, Rebates, and Relief for Shockingly High ST3 Car Tab Fees

Rep. John Lovick (D-Mill Creek, center) on the floor of the House of Representatives with Rep. Mike Pellicciotti, Rep. Krstine Reeves, Transportation Chair Rep. Judy Clibborn (seated), Rep. Shelley Kloba and Rep. Christine Kilduff.

OLYMPIA—After constituents received higher than expected fees for registration and renewal for vehicles, Rep. Christine Kilduff (D—University Place) worked with a group of legislators to formulate a plan. That plan includes five bills from lawmakers representing Snohomish, King, and Pierce counties and aims to provide transit agency reform, possible rebates for low-income constituents, and relief from future fees that some feel over-value vehicles.

Kilduff’s legislation (HB 2151) brings reform to transit agencies applying for a State Regional Mobility Grant. The bill directs transit agencies to improve coordination with Sound Transit and other agencies and show measurable progress as they integrate service with Sound Transit. She also co-sponsored the legislation below:

  • HB 2147, sponsored by Rep. Mike Pellicciotti (D—Federal Way), addresses the “MVET schedule” by charging future bonds using the 2006 MVET vehicle valuation schedule, which first reduces the value of a vehicle from the MSRP by 15% and then applies a deprecation schedule that more quickly depreciates vehicles.  This would result in less of an MVET cost to taxpayers than is currently being billed by Sound Transit.
  • HB 2148, sponsored by Rep. Kristine Reeves (D—Federal Way), allows Sound Transit to develop a rebate of up to 40% of MVET charged for low-income vehicle owners and a similar rebate of up to 40% on the property tax assessed for low-income homeowners.
  • HB 2149, sponsored by Rep. John Lovick (D—Mill Creek), requires the Department of Licensing to include with annual vehicle renewal and registration information on the budget and status of Sound Transit projects being funded by car tab fees. The statement would include links to information and websites where vehicle owners can learn more and greatly improves accountability directly to the taxpayer.
  • HB 2150, sponsored by Rep. Shelley Kloba (D—Kirkland), requires a similar taxpayer accountability statement to property taxpayers by directing county auditors to provide information on Sound Transit project status and whether it is on budget or not.

“Government has to work together and when it doesn’t, it’s the residents who have to pay. Whether it’s high costs or inefficient service, the lack of coordination in our transit agencies is a part of this problem,” said Kilduff. “We must have greater accountability through reform and strong relief for future car tab fees.”

Rep. Judy Clibborn (D—Mercer Island), chair of the House Transportation Committee, is reviewing the committee schedule to include a work session on Sound Transit to discuss these and other issues and ideas to address the public’s concerns.