Sound Transit released its plan today for sucking up all available transportation tax dollars decades, a scheme called Sound Transit 3 (ST3). The plan carries a whopping $50 billion price tag for construction, trains, overhead and operations over a 25-year timeline.
ST3 also includes $27 billion in new taxes through 2041. That’s in addition to the taxes voters approved with the unfulfilled promises contained in ST1 (1996) and ST2 (2008).
This time around, Sound Transit promises to deliver “108 miles of light rail, along with significant expansion of bus rapid transit and other bus service, as well as addition of Sounder rail service from Lakewood to DuPont.”
In order to pay for the project, the ST3 scam hits taxpayers in a variety of ways – it hikes the sales tax by 0.5 percent, raises the motor vehicle excise tax by 0.8 percent, and increases the property tax by $0.25 per $1,000 of value. The Seattle Times reports:
“The new taxes, estimated at $27 billion cumulatively in 2017-41, would be nearly $400 a year for an average household for the Sound Transit 3 package of light rail, commuter trains, buses and Tacoma streetcar extensions. That would not include Sound Transit taxes already approved by voters.”
That’s right – $400 a year for every taxpayer for trains used by a miniscule percentage of the population.
But, that’s not all. As if predicting their future incompetence, the liberals running Sound Transit made sure to add a “no sunset” clause in ST3. The taxes would continue indefinitely “so long as they go to build and operate voter approved service.”
In other words, Sound Transit could take as long it wants and spend as much as it wants to complete this plans pie -in-the-sky promises. Taxpayers’ hard earned dollars would continue to flow in.
King County Executive Dow Constantine (also the Sound Transit board chair) said of ST3 at the plan’s unveiling, “This region has debated whether to have mass transit for more years than most people in this room have been alive. That debate is over. Light rail is here.”
Constantine’s comments are unbelievably out-of-touch. Contrary to what he seems to believe, the “debate” is not over. You see, Sound Transit has failed to address a very important question:
Why, given all the broken promises, should taxpayers trust Sound Transit to keep its promises and spend their dollars responsibility, on time and on budget?
The obvious answer is that Sound Transit has not done anything to earn, retain, or deserve the public’s trust. Time and time again, the agency has violated voters’ trust.
The fact that Sound Transit is even asking voters for thus tremendous tax increase that does not ever end is shameful and outrageous.