Sound Transit car tab fee injunction denied

Sound Transit car tab fee injunction denied
A Pierce County Superior Court judge has denied an injunction regarding Sound Transit’s motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) for Sound Move. Photo: freepik.com

A Pierce County Superior Court judge has denied an injunction request preventing Sound Transit from collecting any more of its motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) for the 1996 Sound Move.

The lawsuit filed by the same plaintiffs involved in a legal fight over ST3’s MVET stems from a discovery made just prior to a State Supreme Court hearing that the regional transit agency has been using a repealed 1999 vehicle depreciation schedule, instead of the 2006 scheduled authorized by the legislature and amended in 2010.

Attorneys Joel Ard and Matthew Albrecht for the plaintiffs argue that “the State presents no defense of its continued non-compliance” with state law.” Sound Transit’s response says that to switch to the 2006 schedule would severely reduce their MVET revenue and threaten their ability to pay off bonds,” and also claims that the plaintiffs’ “arguments are based on an erroneous interpretation of the various MVET valuation enactments since 1999.”

The reply adds that an injunction isn’t needed, since the plaintiffs “would simply have to wait for a monetary refund in the event they prevail.”

A similar legal argument was made by Assistant State Attorney General Dionne Padilla-Huddleston. “Plaintiffs have an available remedy for harms incurred pending litigation if they succeed on the merits of their statutory and constitutional claims.”

Sound Move is a 10-year transportation plan approved by voters in 1996 creating Sound Transit. Projects funded by the taxes authorized in Sound Move include a light rail line to Sea-Tac Airport and commuter rail from Lakewood and Everett to Seattle.

The case is now scheduled for a Dec. 12 hearing in Pierce County Superior Court.

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