Fuck fuck fuck fuck fucking FUCK Tim Eyman, his stable of pajama shirts, and his $30 car tab initiative, which appears poised to pass despite dire warnings about what this will mean for Washington infrastructure and The Stranger's express instructions to fill out that NO bubble on your ballot. WHAT THE FUCK, GUYS? WE TOLD YOU NOT TO VOTE FOR I-976 AND YOU DID IT ANYWAY. THIS IS NOT HOW THIS THING WORKS!
Of all the disappointing results last night (the SECB is weeping into our morning beer right now), this one will be the biggest disaster for Washington residents.
The ballot, for some goddamn reason, didn't mention this, but $30 car tabs will defund transit projects across the state, from Spokane, where this will cost the city an estimated $2.3 billion by 2025, to the Puget Sound, where SoundTransit may have to start digging through the bus seats for quarters to keep transit moving. This is, of course, exactly what sentient hemorrhoid and noted transit-hater Tim Eyman wants. And he is fucking crowing about this. Here's his victory speech from last night (compliments of the Seattle Times) where somehow the guy in the bright red COPS shirt with a kitten(???) and an American flag on it is actually wearing the least fugly outfit at the party.
"The fact that we forced the other side to spend $5 million and exposed themselves [as] pigs at the trough, that they had that much money to tell people to vote no, it's a tremendous victory to be able to smoke these people out," Eyman said over giggles from his comrades. Note to Tim: You're better at swiping office chairs than mixing metaphors, so maybe stick with that.
As for what happens next, it's up in the air. According to a tweet from Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez, this puts a $35 million hole in SDOT's budget, and that money will need to be reallocated from somewhere. SoundTransit will have to figure out how to make up for the shortfall as well: Locally, voters want transit and are willing to pay for it (ST3 was approved by nearly 10 points in 2016), but statewide, it appears they'd rather have $30 tabs than functioning infrastructure.
"At the next meeting of the full Sound Transit Board on Nov. 21 we will begin the process of responding to I-976," said SoundTransit Board Chair John Marchione said in a statement. "The Board will hear presentations from the agency’s finance staff as well as our general counsel. The Board will consider Sound Transit’s obligations to taxpayers who want their motor vehicle excise taxes reduced, as well as how to realize voters’ earlier direction to dramatically expand high capacity transit throughout the Puget Sound region.”
There will likely be legal challenges as well, and cities, towns, and the state will start choosing what transit projects to maintain and what to shutter. Some will likely turn to other funding sources—increasing tolls, taxes, and bills across the state—but congestion, especially in the Seattle area, will likely get even worse if bus, light rail, and other transit projects come to a halt. And it's not just transit riders who will get fucked: Enjoy driving on safe bridges and pothole-free roads? Too bad! Tim Eyman finally got his wish, and the rest of us will pay the price.