State budget office estimates I-976 would cost state and local governments $4 billion in lost transportation revenue.

Initiative 976 would significantly cut transportation revenues over the next six year. The Seattle Times reports,

A fall ballot measure to cut car-tab costs across Washington state would blow a $4 billion hole in local and state transportation funding over the next six years, a new report says.

Local governments could lose about $2.3 billion and the state could lose about $1.9 billion if Initiative 976 is passed, according to the fiscal impact statement released by the state Office of Financial Management this week.

Here’s the OFM summary statement:

Initiative 976 changes vehicle taxes and fees by lowering motor vehicle and light duty truck weight fees to $30; eliminating the 0.3 percent sales tax on vehicle purchases; lowering electric vehicle and snowmobile fees; modifying and reducing Sound Transit motor vehicle excise tax provisions; and removing authority for transportation benefit districts to impose a vehicle fee. Total revenue loss to the state in the next six years is $1,921,901,238. Total revenue loss to local governments in the next 6 years is $2,317,121,034. The departments of Licensing and Revenue have estimated implementation costs of $2,846,800 in the 2019—21 biennium.

ST reporter Heidi Groover writes of some of the effects, including this:

By cutting car tabs, vehicle sales taxes and other fees, the initiative would hit multiple state accounts. Among them: pots of money that fund some Washington State Patrol activities; state ferry maintenance; highway construction; county roads and bridges; and bike and pedestrian projects.

The measure also threatens projects at the local level as routine as building sidewalks, repaving streets and installing flashing yellow lights in school zones.

“This is not fancy stuff. This is redoing roads, trying to keep our roads in good shape,” said Reid Bennion, a management analyst in the Tacoma Public Works Department.

We wrote previously about the initiative. For more information on the transportation impacts, the “No on 976” web site has some specific examples.  

More later.