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Car-tab relief proposal up for discussion in House

Democrats hope a fix for soaring car-tabs will fly through a Democrat-controlled House and Senate.

A measure aimed at providing relief to drivers with sticker shock at the soaring cost of car-tab fees will be discussed in the Democrat-controlled state House on Wednesday.

HB 2201 introduced last session by Rep. Mike Pellicciotti, D-Federal Way, would update the state depreciation schedule and give drivers a more fair market value on their vehicle. The bill would also give refunds or credits to vehicle owners covering the difference between the old and new formulas.

"They should have done this in the first place," said Judy Clibborn, D- Mercer Island.

Clibborn chairs the House Transportation Committee and says HB 2201 should soar through the Democrat-controlled House and Senate this session.

"This gives people the ability to say, 'Well at least it's fair,'" she said. "We weren't going to 'stick it' to Sound Transit and undo all of the projects people are waiting for. This is just common sense."

The bill will not be up for a vote Wednesday.

Under voter approved Sound Transit 3, car-tab fees soared by about $80 last year for a vehicle valued at $10,000. The ST3 plan includes the expansion of light rail and bus service throughout the region.

Related: Sound Transit deceived lawmakers and public, Republican-led probe finds

Sound Transit says the measure threatens plans to deliver light rail, commuter rail, and bus rapid transit projects on the schedule promised to voters.

"Any reduction of…revenues should be accompanied by offsetting measure to ensure that our transit expansion program remains whole," said Geoff Patrick, spokesman for Sound Transit.

Patrick estimates the fiscal impact of HB 2201 through 2041 are estimated at $780 million in losses.

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