Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and other Sound Transit board members were in Olympia this week to demand the state Legislature grant the high-priced and low-performing transit agency the ability to grab even more taxpayer dollars. Former State Senator Murray’s testimony showed just how out-of-touch he and other car-hating ideologues are when it comes to transportation.
Under questioning from State Representative Ed Orcutt, the House Republican leader on transportation, Murray delivered what liberal Seattle blog Publicola characterized as one of “best zingers of the day” when he said that stopping at a $15 billion tax increase is not in Sound Transit’s plans:
Rep. Orcutt: “Is there going to be another proposal? Is that part of the whole plan?
Mayor Murray: We’re talking about Sound Transit 3, about the next segment of this.
Rep. Orcutt: Is there an ST4? An ST5?
Mayor Murray: I sure hope so.
Demonstrating an even more troubling disconnect from reality, Murray also claimed that the legislature should give Sound Transit the ability to grab another $15 billion, because the agency—long known for blowing past deadlines and going way over budget– is just doing what it always promised:
Rep. Ed Orcutt (R-20, Kalama): So, you currently have taxing authority, and you have pretty well used that up. So your (sic) asking for more taxing authority. How much will you be able to get done with this new taxing authority? Will you be able to get all of it done or should we expect you will be back here in 5 to 10 years asking for more taxing authority? If so, how much?
Mayor Murray: What we’re doing is not saying we haven’t gotten it done or we didn’t do it because we didn’t have enough money, what we’re doing is following the enacting legislation that told us when we finished a piece to come back and ask for the next piece.”
The problem, as Murray is undoubtedly aware, is that Sound Transit has not yet “finished” the first piece promised to voters in 1996. But, for liberal Democrats like the members of the Sound Transit board, that’s not a problem as long as they can “come back and ask for the next piece” without ever being held accountable.