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I-976 blows $478 million hole in state transportation budget

The Senate Transportation Committee is discussing how to balance their current two-year budget and find out which projects will have to be cut due to I-976.

OLYMPIA, Wash — The chair of the Senate Transportation Committee doesn’t know which project will be cut because of the passage of Initiative 976, but said everyone in the state will likely be impacted.

“People will feel it,” said Committee Chair Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens.

Stevens said the initiative, which calls for a $30 cap on annual car tab fees eliminates $478 million from the state’s current two-year budget.

A ten-year projection by the state suggests Washington will lose $3.5 billion in transportation funding under the initiative.

Dozens of cities relied on additional car tab fees to fund local projects.

Those fees are eliminated under the initiative.

Hobbs said funding for safety-related road projects would likely continue, but he said everything from road expansion projects to the elimination of transit routes for disabled commuters will likely be cut.

RELATED: State outlines changes to car tab fees after I-976 approval

Hobbs has a 19-year-old  son with special needs and uses public transportation.

“I'm going to be cutting these very same programs that he might need to have dignity. This initiative took away dignity of those folks," said Hobbs.

Wednesday marked the first time transportation committee members publicly discussed the initiative and its possible impacts.

Hobbs said despite a lawsuit filed by the city of Seattle and others to overturn, or at least delay implementation of the initiative, he is focusing on prioritizing cuts.

Hobbs, who campaigned against the initiative, told fellow committee members their jobs are to balance the budget and that they are now “burdened with a complex problem.”

Sound Transit’s board meets on Thursday to discuss the potential impacts of I-976.

RELATED: Injunction filed in effort to block I-976 from taking effect

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