Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Despite my efforts to make your voices heard on Wednesday night, very little of Sound Transit 3 has been changed.
During Wednesday night's floor debate to adopt the House transportation budget, five amendments were offered by House Republicans that would have significantly reduced or removed the crushing weight ST3 has placed on Pierce County families.
One amendment would have given cities and counties the ability to opt out of ST3, if they choose. One would have required the Regional Transit Authority to use Kelley Blue Book when assessing your car's value, rather than the inflated Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). Another amendment would have removed Pierce County from ST3 altogether, considering the measure was overwhelmingly rejected here last November.
I've been hearing from you for months now about the skyrocketing costs of your car tabs and the drastic increases in sales and property taxes. I agree with you that these taxes are overreaching and harmful to working families. I've shared your stories and urged the other representatives to adopt these critical amendments.
Despite my efforts, one amendments was rejected by a party-line vote and four amendments were refused consideration and did not receive a vote.
To say I'm disappointed is an understatement.
Immediately before consideration of the House transportation budget, Democrats adopted House Bill 2201 in an effort to silence ST3 opponents. It would lower car tabs by creating a motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) credit to make up the difference between the vehicle valuation schedule under current law and the one Sound Transit uses from the 1990s. This bill has very little substance and does not go far enough in addressing the challenges working families are facing.
My resolve will not be shaken. There are still avenues for us to reduce fees and increase accountability.
On March 8, I joined 13 of my colleagues in a letter sent to the Speaker of the House requesting consideration of three bills that would substantially improve the conditions of ST3. I will continue to request public hearings on these bills.
As for the House budget that was passed Wednesday night, it is important to remember this is not the final budget. Although it is a good transportation package that provides necessary funding for our roads, bridges and public safety, it ignores the flaws of ST3.
The Senate, like the House, has their own transportation budget proposal. Over the coming week, I look forward to negotiating the details between the budgets and continuing to advocate for the much-needed reform of Sound Transit 3.
Please continue calling and emailing me your stories. By hearing directly from you, I can continue to relay the urgency of ST3 reform.