O’Ban’s Sound Transit bills scheduled for hearing in Senate

Senate Transportation Committee to consider proposals to lower car-tab fees,
make Sound Transit’s board accountable to voters


OLYMPIA…Two bipartisan bills addressing ongoing issues with Sound Transit, both prime-sponsored by Sen. Steve O’Ban, will be heard in the Senate Transportation Committee meeting at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26.

Senate Bill 5042 changes the vehicle valuation method used to determine car-tab fees from manufacturer’s suggested retail price to Kelley Bluebook Value, which is closer to the actual cash value of the car at the time of licensing. The goal of is to lower car-tab fees by up to 55 percent as people struggle to license their vehicles as part of the funding mechanism for the ST3 light-rail project.

“People who will never benefit from the light-rail project are having to pay car-tab fees three to five times higher than they paid before ST3,” said O’Ban, R-University Place. “Some are facing the choice of paying rent or licensing their car. Those fees should be based on a value that is more realistic than MSRP.”

Senate Bill 5220 makes the Sound Transit board subject to direction election rather than being appointed by the King County executive. Since the regional transit authority spends billions in tax dollars, O’Ban and fellow Senators on both sides of the aisle are fighting to require that those who serve on Sound Transit’s board be elected by a vote of the people.

SB 5220, which is O’Ban’s fourth effort to rein in Sound Transit’s taxing authority through taxpayer oversight, is cosponsored by fellow Pierce County Republicans Sen. Randi Becker and Sen. Hans Zeiger, but also by Sen. Palumbo and Sen. Conway, both Democrats.

“I’ve fought for this for several years and I’ve had support on the other side of the aisle. But, this is the first time I’ve had Democrat cosponsorship. It’s time for Sound Transit to answer to taxpayers.”

If the bills are passed out of committee, they could come to the Senate floor for a vote.