Renton Councilmember Don Persson said this week, “To be very blunt about it, for the amount of money that we’ve put into Sound Transit, and have been for 20 years, we haven’t gotten value.”
Mr. Persson couldn’t have said it better. As the Seattle Times points out, residents of Renton are “paying about $23 million in Sound Transit taxes a year and have little to show for it after two decades.” Via the Times:
“Only two ST Express bus routes pass through the city, while commuter rail is reachable in neighboring Tukwila.”
Renton isn’t the only city pumping millions into Sound Transit with little return — and the transit agency’s latest scam, ST3, isn’t going to change its Seattle-first approach. The Times:
“The full Eastside BRT corridor, stretching from Lynnwood to Burien using I-405 and Highway 518, could require $2.3 billion. Sound Transit in March proposed spending $341 million.
“A letter from six Eastside cities recommends the bigger version, plus feeder buses linking neighborhoods to I-405 stations, to provide ‘the equivalent of light rail on rubber tires.’ Freeway buses would use the new express toll lanes north of Bellevue, to be extended south of Bellevue using new state gas taxes.”
In other words, the Eastside needs more Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to better serve its growing population — but Sound Transit is only willing to use ST3 to promote its light rail obsession, not actually to solve congestion problems. The reality is that Sound Transit — and its ST3 “revisions” — are apparently deaf to Eastside concerns.
The only real “revisions” involve promising to speed up building light rail routes by adding another $4 billion in debt to an already obscenely expensive $50-billion-dollar package, and extending light rail even further to the north and to the south. For these empty promises, thre average household will pay $400 a year in taxes.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect is that BRT on 405 could be done for far less money, serve far more people, far quicker. Of course, that wouldn’t help out the hipsters in Seattle, so Sound Transit officials aren’t interested.