Sound Transit is preparing heavy propaganda to push its latest $15 billion (to $30 billion) spending package, the so-called ST3 proposal, to the ballot this fall. The public is still waiting to hear what exactly the plan entails, as officials aren’t expected to release their decision until March.
Though plans have yet to be finalized, it is widely acknowledged that ST3 will seek to invest billions in all the usual – and inefficient – projects that the unelected Sound Transit (ST) bureaucrats prioritize. After all, that’s why these yes-men (and yes-women) got appointed to the ST board.
ST3 is expected to extend existing light rail lines, all of which were built late and over-budget (we’re still waiting for some of them). It’s also expected include completely new lines to appease Seattle voters, including a line connecting Ballard and West Seattle to downtown.
Not surprisingly, perfectly rational and reasonable projects like building parking garages and stalls for commuters are less certain. That’s because many of Seattle’s best and brightest are currently engaged in a not-so-secret war on cars.
Sound Transit officials know that they have quite a lot of work to do if they are to successfully convince voters to, once again, trust them with their hard-earned tax dollars. That’s why the transit agency launched a campaign for ST3 early, summer 2015 early.
Sound Transit will face an even harder challenge convincing voters to trust them if it caves to far-Left pressure and decides to ask voters for a $30-billion dollar plan. The lefties want to extend the originally planned 15-year package “for a more comprehensive 30-year payment plan,” because then they wouldn’t have to ask for voter approval again for a long, long time.
Perhaps the most appalling aspect of the circumstances surrounding Sound Transit—other than all the wasted time and money—is the fact that an unelected, unaccountable body of local officials governs the board. Sound Transit’s record of being late and over-budget with virtually every project has many questioning whether or not it is ethical to give a group of unelected officials taxing authority over voters.
That’s why Republican state Senator Steve O’Ban and Representative Mark Harmsworth are attempting to change the way Sound Transit is managed. The lawmakers recently proposed a measure that seeks to “increase accountability for oversight of Sound Transit given its significant taxing authority and responsibility for large infrastructure projects in the Central Puget Sound area.” The bill would do this by changing the transit agency’s appointed board to one elected by districts.
The reality is that Sound Transit officials have proven untrustworthy. They have wasted taxpayer dollars and have repeatedly broken promises made in the first two spending packages—ST1 and ST2.
If Sound Transit officials expect voters to approve another $15 billion package, much less a $30 billion package, they should publically back the bill presented by O’Ban and Harmsworth. That may grant them a degree of credibility.
But, of course, they’ll do nothing of the sort. Accountability would only hold them back from throwing good money after bad.