Washington State Supreme Court rules I-976 is unconstitutional

  • Thu Oct 22nd, 2020 10:10am
  • News

On Oct. 15, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of Initiative 976 (I-976 “$30 car tabs”) and struck down the initiative because it contained multiple subjects and a misleading ballot title.

AWC is part of a broad coalition of plaintiffs in the case filed in November 2019. “We are pleased with the Court’s clarification of the constitutional issues,” noted AWC CEO Peter King.

The Court agreed with the plaintiff coalition’s arguments that the initiative violated the state constitution’s provisions related to single subject and subject in title (article II, section 19) and struck down the initiative in its entirety. The decision follows oral arguments held remotely before the Court on June 30. The Court, in its decision, reaffirmed long-standing precedent that initiatives be drafted clearly and legally so voters can make informed decisions.

This decision frees up approximately $60 million in annual funding for cities that established car tab fee-based transportation benefit districts (TBDs).

Despite this action by the Court on the constitutional questions, it is clear that city funding options for transportation needs are inadequate. For the 2021 legislative session, AWC’s recently adopted priorities include supporting a new transportation revenue package with an emphasis on maintenance/preservation funding that provides an equitable level of local funding while improving local revenue options for cities.