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How to help fight for transit and local transportation funding by defeating I-976

photoshop of the security footage showing Tim Eyman stealing a chair from Office Depot, except a light rail train has replaced the chair.
Don’t let Tim Eyman steal light rail, too! See the original footage.

Washington’s most famous Office Depot chair thief also wants to take our voter-approved transit and local transportation funding. We must defeat I-976.

Basically, Tim Eyman’s initiative would preempt local governments and agencies in places where voters have approved using vehicle license fees as a way to help fund everything from Sound Transit light rail expansion to basic bus service and street improvements in communities all over the state, including Seattle.

Getting a NO vote on I-976 is pretty much as important as passing Sound Transit 3 in 2016 or Seattle’s Metro-route-saving 2014 vote, both of which voters passed with comfortable margins. But those were local efforts, and we don’t really know how the entire concept of vehicle license fees will fare statewide.

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That’s why Transportation Choices Coalition is leading an effort to fight the initiative and urge a NO vote. And they could use your help.

Details from TCC:

The threat isn’t new, but it is very, very real. Tim Eyman’s I-976 will be on ballots statewide this November. I-976 is Eyman’s 18th initiative that will appear on a ballot, and due to a tough political environment, we have a major fight on our hands. 

This initiative would limit all car tab fees across Washington State to $30, as well as reduce a host of other vehicle licensing and weight fees. Though this may sound appealing to voters at first blush, its impacts to our entire transportation system would be devastating. This initiative would cut funding to life-saving transit services, leave potholes unfilled, delay major projects from the Connecting Washington package, and blow a $20 billion hole in Sound Transit’s regional light rail budget — and these are only a few of the impacts.

Coalition members, transit supporters, friends: It’s time to turn the volume up. We need all hands on deck to support the No on I-976 campaign. 

We have a lot of work to do before ballots drop mid-October. Here are ways to help:

  1. Endorse the No on I-976 campaign
  2. Make a donation — we can win this, but we need significant resources
  3. Educate your audience; we have additional materials to share in person and on social media
  4. Volunteer, and get others involved in field operations
  5. Tell stories and amplify how the impacts of I-976 would hurt your organization/cause/constituents and everyone in Washington
  6. Like/follow the No Campaign on Facebook/Twitter and share widely

If you have other interests or resources to contribute to the campaign, get in touch! We will make sure you are plugged in. 

TCC will be doing all of the above, and more, to ensure people in Washington keep the transit services they need, and to make sure our hard-fought transportation projects stay on track. Will you join us? 

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2 responses to “How to help fight for transit and local transportation funding by defeating I-976”

  1. asdf2

    I could not resist pulling up some electoral numbers to see how I-976 would fare based on some grossly simplified assumptions based on how people voted in the 2016 presidential election and ST3. Here are the raw numbers, copied from Wikipedia:

    (A)Sound Transit 3 – yes: 717,116
    (B)Sound Transit 3 – no: 609,608

    (C)Hillary Clinton: 1,742,718
    (D)Donald Trump: 1,221,747
    (E)Gary Johnson: 160,879

    (King/Pierce/Snohomish counties only):
    (F)Hillary Clinton: 1,083,309
    (G)Donald Trump: 494,990
    Gary Johnson: (no data on Wikipedia; I’ll assume 0 for the purposes of these calculations, since I’m already fudging so much)

    I then made the following assumptions (which, yes, are grossly simplified):
    – Every yes voter on ST3 voted for Hillary Clinton, and will vote no on I-976
    – Every no voter on ST3 will vote yes on I-976
    – Every Trump voter, statewide, will vote yes on I-976
    – Of the presidential votes in King/Pierce/Snohomish who did not vote at all on ST3, 60% went for Trump (I have no data to back this one up, I’m just guesstimating, given that the rural, most conservative parts of the three counties are outside of the ST district).
    – The electorate for I-976 is the same as the 2016 presidential race (yes, I know, this is wrong, but it allows me to calculate something using numbers I can readily pull off of Wikipedia).
    – For simplicity, I am ignoring votes for Gary Johnson, write-ins, etc.

    Given all of the above assumptions, we can now start crunching some numbers and estimate what percentage of Clinton voters *outside* of the ST district would need to vote “no” on I-976 in order to make the measure fail:

    (H) # total votes (st3): A + B = 1,326,724
    (I) # total votes (president, king/pierce/snohomish): F + G = 1,578,299
    (J) # estimated votes in King/Pierce/Snohomish, but outside ST district: I – H = 251,575
    (K): # estimated Clinton votes in King/Pierce/Snohomish, but outside ST district: .4 * J = 100,630
    (L): # estimated Clinton votes in King/Pierce/Snohomish, but outside ST district: .6 * J = 150,945
    (M): # estimated Clinton votes in ST district: F – K = 982,679
    (N): # estimated Trump votes in ST district: D – L = 344,045
    (O): # estimated Clinton votes, outside ST district, statewide: C – M = 760,039
    (P): # estimated Trump votes, outside ST district, statewide: D – N = 877,702

    Letting y = the percentage of Clinton voters outside the ST district who vote “no” on I-976 and assuming the rest vote yes, we have:

    # estimated yes votes for I-976: B + P + (1-y)*O = 1,487,310 + (1-y)*760,039
    # estimated no votes for I-976: A + y * O = 717,116 + y * 760,039

    Setting y to 100% (which is not realistic, but doing so for the sake of argument), we get:

    # estimated yes votes for I-976: 1,487,310
    # estimated no votes for I-976: 1,477,155

    Which results in I-976 passing by about 10,000 votes, or 0.33%.

    And, if we set “y” to be less than 100% or count Gary Johnson votes in the “yes I-976” column, or if the off-year electorate is more conservative than in a presidential year, it gets worse.

    Hopefully, Tim Eyman’s name is toxic enough that more people will vote against it, or fewer voting for than what my back-of-the-envelope numbers suggest. But, the bottom line is that if Tim Eyman is indeed able to forge a coalition of Trump voters, plus the subset of Clinton voters who opposed Sound Transit, assuming my math is accurate, that is indeed enough (barely) for Tim Eyman to win.

  2. […] single most important vote on this ballot is NO on I-976. Tim Eyman’s deceptively simple initiative is sure to get a lot of votes because it basically […]

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