Tim Eyman has given up on Bring Back Our $30 Car Tabs, but has a new initiative called We Love Our Cars.
Tim Eyman has abandoned an initiative that would have dramatically cut new funding for light rail in Puget Sound. Sound Transit

I have some good news and some bad news.

Good news first: Tim Eyman has given up on "Bring Back Our $30 Car Tabs," the initiative he was trying to get on this November's ballot that would have blown a massive hole in Sound Transit 3.

As I've explained before, Eyman's Initiative 1421 would have slashed the vehicle excise or "car tab" tax. If the $54 billion Sound Transit 3 package passes in November, Sound Transit will rely on that tax to help fund new light rail lines to Everett, Tacoma, Ballard, and elsewhere. Cutting that tax would do serious harm to Sound Transit's plans.

This week, Eyman told the Everett Herald the initiative "never took off" and he's abandoning it. That's great news for light rail in Puget Sound.

Now, the bad news: Eyman isn't done with this idea. The Herald also reports that Eyman plans to roll the money he raised for "Bring Back Our $30 Car Tabs"—nearly $200,000—into new anti-transit initiative aimed at the 2017 ballot. The new initiative, I-869 or "We Love Our Cars", would roll back any increase in the vehicle excise passed as part of Sound Transit 3, Eyman told the Herald. The initiative would also end tolling on highways 405 and 167. Eyman will have until the end of this year to gather about 246,000 signatures, the Herald reports. His measure would then go to the state legislature and, if not adopted there, on to the 2017 ballot.

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The particular taxes Eyman's initiative would roll back will make up about a quarter of the new funding in Sound Transit 3. That's enough to build lines to both Ballard and West Seattle. In other words, just like his last initiative, Eyman's new effort would be devastating for light rail expansion in Puget Sound.

Andrew Villeneuve, professional Eyman foe and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, released a statement yesterday celebrating an "Eyman-free election this autumn."

"Time will tell if I-869 ['We Love Our Cars'] is for real or not," Villeneuve said. "Remember, Eyman printed up petitions for I-1421 too—and even made a big show of being the first to sign one in front of television cameras—but I-1421 has now been abandoned. I-869 won't make it either unless Eyman has commitments from his wealthy benefactors to fund a signature drive. The gears of his initiative factory simply cannot turn without big money."