I guess some folks in government don’t think our taxes are high enough yet, because Sound Transit just wrapped up a series of events where it asked the public, “Where should Sound Transit Services go next?” (never mind that the jury is still out on whether it actually cares what the public has to say).
To understand the true temerity of this gesture, here’s some context: After gerrymandering the boundaries of the “Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority” in the 1990s to ensure passage of its massive tax hike, Sound Transit proceeded like an anti-Midas. Everything it touched turned to ruin, as project after project came in over-budget and/or late.
Then in 2008, a second tax package, “ST2,” was passed. Voters were promised $17.8 billion worth of new transit projects, to be paid for through a sales tax increase and a vehicle excise tax.
Now, barely 5 years later, Sound Transit admits it can no longer fund the projects it promised the public (at least not without raising taxes again). In fact, the agency now forecasts that revenue will be $4.7 billion less than what it anticipated collecting by the time ST2’s capital projects are scheduled for completion, meaning over 25 percent of the promised projects won’t get built in the timeframe promised (unless taxes are increased again). Light rail plans have been scrapped in some segments and construction will start later than planned in other segments, some components of the Sounder and Express Bus programs have been suspended, some service is starting later than planned, and Sound Transit has reduced its amount of contingencies and reserves by about $1 billion.
Today we are 5 years since the last tax increase, still 10 years from completing the light-rail centerpiece of that proposal, and already certain that there’s not enough money to fund the projects that Sound Transit had originally promised. Since the only way Sound Transit can expand service to new areas is if it raises taxes for a third time, it is a stunning display of hubris indeed that the agency is now asking, “Where should Sound Transit Services go next?”
 Sound Transit, 2012 Annual Report, at 4 (2013).
 ST2 spends 10 times more on light rail than on commuter “heavy” rail (i.e., Sounder), and 30 times more than on buses.