For the time being, Washington motorists will continue to pay the full amount of state and local car-tab fees, until opposing sides wage their next legal skirmish before the state Supreme Court.

Friday was the deadline for King County Superior Court Judge Marshall Ferguson to decide whether to allow the tax cuts mandated by Initiative 976 to take effect.

He ruled in February that most of the state and municipal car-fee cuts from Initiative 976 were constitutional.

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But initiative opponents filed a paper saying it would seek an emergency injunction from the state Supreme Court to keep collecting car-tab fees, at least until justices can hear the case.

Ferguson signed an order Friday keeping the current taxes in effect until the high court rules.

Voters last fall approved I-976, a Tim Eyman-sponsored measure seeking to cut annual vehicle taxes and fees to $30.


In reaction Seattle, King County, the Association of Washington Cities, Amalgamated Transit Union and others won a temporary injunction in late November to put the initiative on hold while the court case seeking to overturn it plays out.

There isn’t a firm deadline for the high court to react, said Dan Nolte, spokesman for the city attorney’s office.

Car-tab taxes that might be repealed include Seattle’s $60 fee that funds more-frequent bus service, free ORCA fare cards for students and some van shuttles; several smaller city fees of $20 or more that pay for projects such as street repaving; and state weight fees supporting such projects as ferry terminals, paratransit for disabled residents and walk-bike trails.

Sound Transit’s car-tab taxes are not in jeopardy. Those taxes are tied to repaying bonds the agency sold to finance light-rail and bus rapid transit projects approved by voters in the Sound Transit 3 measure.