The passage of I-976 will have devastating impacts to the transportation landscape throughout our state, including significant funding hits to many transit agencies and jurisdictions through the elimination of grant programs and other funding sources critical to transportation improvement projects.
Despite this unfortunate news for public transit broadly in our state, we want to assure our community that Ben Franklin Transit is positioned to weather its impacts. Over the past several years, we have worked diligently to expand service at a financially sustainable level and shore up our operating and capital reserve accounts in a manner that protects the services we offer this community from cycles of funding uncertainty such as this.
Because of this effort, our current service levels will not be affected by the passage of I-976. While we await word from the state on current planned grants, we are looking into how we’ll mitigate its impacts to our long-term capital program. Additionally, we will continue diligent cost containment efforts across all facets of our operations.
We will share information as we learn more and work through our plans to move forward. In the meantime, please be assured that our community can continue counting on Ben Franklin Transit to provide critical public transportation services to those who need and want to access them.
I-976 was designed to:
- Limit annual license fees for vehicles weighing under 10,000 pounds at $30 except voter-approved charges
- Base vehicle taxes on the Kelley Blue Book value rather than 85% of the manufacturer’s base suggested retail price
- Repeal local Transportation Benefit District fees
- Repeal the $150 fee on electric vehicles
- Repeal authorization for certain Regional Transit Authorities (such as Sound Transit) to impose motor vehicle excise taxes
- Limit certain taxes and fees related to transportation.
The Washington Office of Financial Management estimated that passage of I-976 would result in a revenue loss to the state of $1.9 billion and a loss to local governments of $2.3 billion over the next six years following the measure’s implementation. The Fiscal Impact Statement can be found here.