King County Council Ready to OK Car Tab Fee

The legislation now has the support of Jane Hague and Kathy Lambert.

The King County Council is poised to approve a following the decision by Eastside representatives Jane Hague (R-District 6) and Kathly Lambert (R-District 3) to throw their support behind the measure in exchange for a set of conditions.

The added fees are intended to make up for a  in the county.

Lambert and Hague, who had previously opposed the fees, announced their changed position Friday morning. Their support gives the council the supermajority to enact the fees without voter approval. Councilmembers Larry Phillips, Bob Ferguson, Larry Gossett, Joe McDermott, and Julia Patterson had previously stated their support.

“This bipartisan agreement addresses my primary concerns and offers real reform for Metro,” Hague said in a council news release. “It’s critical that we keep people and businesses moving on the Eastside – especially during these tough economic times. This new package creates jobs and provides equity for the Eastside.”

Lambert and Hague agreed to support the fees in exchange for a set of requirements calling for Metro to operate more efficiently. These conditions, as listed in a council news release, include:

  • Developing a Transit Incentive Program to provide eight bus tickets worth up to $24 for each car tab renewal
  • Phasing out the downtown Seattle Ride Free Area in October 2012
  • Increasing the pool of funds that provides sharply discounted bus tickets to human service and homeless programs
  • Implementing right-sizing of service consistent with the Transit Strategic Plan
  • Considering routes that carry more riders due to the effects of highway tolling as candidates for added services

“We’re working together in a bipartisan fashion, unlike those in Washington, D.C.,” Lambert said in the news release. “People in these uncertain economic times need certainty that they have an alternative method such as buses to get to work. There are many systemic changes in the new package that will help meet the needs of efficiency, transparency and providing transportation.”

Metro had said it would need to cut bus service by 17 percent if the fees were not enacted. A council vote on the measure is scheduled to take place Monday.

—Information from a King County Council news release and previous Patch reports

Barbara Clark-Elliott August 12, 2011 at 09:22 PM
I am aware of many folks who have had to forego having insurance on their cars, pared down their trips to get groceries or medical care, can't afford to fix their tail light that someone bashed in when the car was parked at theor home, etc., etc. Does anyone in the "supermajority" have a clue about how much $20 means when we are all struggling to stay out of bankruptcy court or get new shoes for our kids? Not to mention any school supplies. I'm very disappointed inthe County Council for laying this new, never-ending charge onto the renewal tab purchase price.
ErinA August 12, 2011 at 10:03 PM
I am with Barbara--I am very disappointed with the County Council. Why can they not have made necessary reductions in those empty buses traveling all over King County during the day (not just in rural services but in suburban areas also) and the Ride Free Zone should never have been in place--everyone should have to pay something to ride the bus. They could also have a small increase in the bus fare. Then we could decide if the car tab increase is needed. We should be allowed to vote on it if they will not do these things first. Maybe we need a few new Council members.
Christine August 13, 2011 at 04:04 AM
I agree with Barbara and ErinA. It's unfair that car owners should foot the bill to save Metro. This increase in car tab fees should go before the voters - I object to the "supermajority" method of doing things.
Vicki August 13, 2011 at 05:03 PM
The council members knew if they didn't strong arm the straglers that opposed the increase, and it had to go before the voters, it would be voted down flat. I'm tired of paying for other peoples transportation issues. I don't see anyone coming to my rescue when the price of gas, insurance, and CAR TABS go up, no I'm just expected to squeeze out the difference because I work hard for the luxury of owning and driving a car. If you ride the bus, the ferry, the train and the fees to up, the rider, like the auto driver, is responsible for the difference, period!!!! It's socialism to force others to pay for something they don't use, just because the people using this means of transportation cry needy!!! Many of those crybabies simply don't want to work, they use the transportation system to move drugs and other unlawful activities while the honest people are out trying to make an honest living but being forced to pay for the free-loaders. Pay for your own transportation and if it goes up, pay that too...get out of my pocketbook!!! I'm going to find a way to block this unjust tax.
jdrabe August 13, 2011 at 11:39 PM
What happened to the $30 dollar car tabs we as voters approved several times in the past? I have never been able to use the bus as a means of getting to and from work. I would prefer to see a 17% reduction in bus traffic. Big, smelly loud things that slow down traffic and just stop in the middle of traffic to pick up some loser. Half the time they run around mostly empty or sit on the side of the road. They are more trouble than they are worth and the govt hacks that run them could all afford to take a major haircut. Enough! Throw these bums out and lets start over. Recall, anyone? Torches and pitchforks?


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