Last year, the citizens of Washington voted to pass Initiative 695, which significantly reduced the motor vehicle excise tax. A portion of this tax was used to support public transit and this funding source is gone. Tim Eyman is now attempting to redirect the remaining tax source that was voted by local communities to specifically support public transportation. Initiative 745 will mandate that 90 percent of taxes collected for public transportation be redirected for the construction of new roads.
Initiative 745 doesn’t make sense. Initiative 695 reduced the motor vehicle excise tax and took away money that was used for transportation projects. Now Eyman wants to take away public transportation money (through I-745) to replace the money that was lost through the reduction of the motor vehicle excise tax. It is very questionable if public transit will survive with a 90 percent reduction in tax revenue. If it doesn’t, then the taxes that were voted to specifically fund public transportation would be repealed. As such, all the money that Mr. Eyman believes will be available for road construction won’t be there. It then follows that all the roads that Mr. Eyman envisions will not be built. In the meantime, we will have forced those citizens who use public transportation into their private vehicles, thereby increasing the number of vehicles on the road. I don’t understand how this will relieve traffic congestion.
I’ve heard all the rhetoric about user fees and how only the users of public transit should pay for the service. The same argument could be made for those people who drive their vehicles on our public roadways. Anyone want to vote to put up toll booths on every street in Washington?