A group calling itself Citizens Against Raising Car Tabs is urging voters to reject a proposed $60 increase in vehicle licensing fees for City of Seattle residents.
City councilmembers voted last month to put the proposed increase on the Nov. 8 ballot. They say part of the increase will go to fund transit projects.
Opponents of the fee say it is a regressive tax, and the city will spend it on nonessentials like trolleys and bike lanes while the city's aging road and infrastructure continue to deteriorate.
According to the Seattle Transportation Benefit District, which is governed by the Seattle City Council, the fee would go toward street maintenance including "26 major pavement preservation projects each year" and "38 major spot repairs."
It would also pay for better crosswalks and signals for pedestrians and improvements designed for kids and "casual bicyclists who avoid riding today because of concerns about safety."
The fee would also reserve "$20 (plus possibility of bonding authority) for High-Capacity Transit investments, once city has demonstrated need, completed planning and is eligible for matching dollars from federal or private funds."
The fee proposal also touts faster, more reliable transit, but it does not say how this is accomplished.
That doesn't satisfy Gene Hoglund, a retired union machinist who believes too much money will be spent studying streetcars at the expense of working people.
"Many of the people who have cars and trucks for a job, can't ride a bus. They have to pay these extra little taxes just to keep their jobs," he said.
The fee's burden falls mostly on those who are already struggling, he added.
"It's a heavy tax on the middle class, fixed income," Hoglund said. "The rich, they don't have any problem with a $60 tax."