State senators claim Sound Transit misled public about ST3 project impact and cost

Two state senators are calling for an independent investigation, claiming Sound Transit misled the public about the cost of the ST3 project, which has led to skyrocketing car tab fees. (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE - Two state senators claim Sound Transit misled the public about the cost of the ST3 project.

This comes as more and more drivers are upset about their skyrocketing car tab fees.

“Last year, we paid $200 this year $400,” said driver Hai Pham, as he renewed his car tabs at Georgetown License on Friday.

Pham paid twice as much this year for his new car tabs.

“I don't know why. I’m very surprised. I don't know why we have to pay so much for license tab,” said Pham.

Now, State Senators Steve O'Ban and Dino Rossi are calling for a special investigation in to Sound Transit saying in a statement: "We are concerned about whether sound transit is engaged in a systematic effort to confuse and misrepresent the impact and cost of the Sound Transit authorization to legislators and the public."

RELATED | Read full statement from Sen. Steve O'Ban and Sen. Dino Rossi

The lawmakers allege that Sound Transit's method to calculate car tab fees is outdated. It uses manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) rates which can amount to significantly higher fees.

They also claim that Sound Transit misled the legislature on the fee calculation and amount of money needed for expansion, while pushing legislation for the project in 2015.

"There are legitimate questions about the bait and switch pulled on both the legislators and the public. We deserve to know the truth," said Sen. Rossi (R- Sammamish).

Sound Transit responded to the claims saying in a statement on Friday saying in part: "Sound Transit's interactions with the legislature and all of the extensive public materials related to the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure included clear and accurate information."

RELATED | Read full statement from Sound Transit

The statement went on to say: "There is no validity to any of the claims made by the senators. Sound Transit is committed to delivering voter-approved projects and is busy doing so."

“I've got a personalized plates. I've always paid more for my car tabs,” said driver Greg Mierz.

Unlike other drivers, Mierz doesn't have problem with the higher car tab fees.

“Nothing is free. If we want public transportation, we have to pay for it some way,” said Mierz.

The state legislature is reviewing multiple measures right now aimed at reducing car tab fees.

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