Sound Transit victorious in court, but not for what you think

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
Sound Transit
Following first coronavirus death officials in King County, Wash., making sure train cars are sanitized.
Sound Transit

Sound Transit scored a victory in court on Feb. 13, but Initiative 976 is still in play.

The Washington Supreme Court voted in favor of vehicle registration fees that were increased as a result of the Sound Transit 3 expansion project.

Voters approved the fee increase back in 2016, but seven people sued Sound Transit over the measure. The Sound Transit 3 expansion project calls for 62 miles of light rail that will reach Everett, Wash., Tacoma, Wash., Kirkland, Wash., Redmond, Wash., and Seattle. The total cost is $54 billion. By a 7-2 verdict, the Washington Supreme Court said the move to use the motor vehicle excise tax to pay for the project was constitutional. The group was seeking a refund of millions of dollars that were collected for the S3 project, and lawyers representing the seven people said the law authorizing the car fees was not clear and the increase was illegal because of the way Sound Transit was valuing the cars.

A King County Superior Court judge is hearing arguments to see if Initiative 976 is constitutional. Initiative 976 was approved by voters last November and puts a $30 cap on car tab fees. The case will most likely be handed to the Washington Supreme Court.

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