Sound Transit has a rich of history of using its public tax dollars in strange ways – from throwing million-dollar parties, to giving away private email addresses to political allies, to conducting campaign-style polls.
Of course, to Sound Transit bureaucrats, using tax dollars for non-transit activities is not strange – it’s just good politics.
And if you opened got your mail yesterday (or maybe today), you may have noticed a flashy campaign-style flyer from Sound Transit promoting the idea that you should vote to raise your taxes by $54 billion – for Sound Transit.
And, you paid for that flyer.
The 8-page, 4-color mailer went to the “Current Resident” at my address, as “residents” across the Sound Transit taxing district in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties received the mailer. After all, according to the cover of the flyer, “state law” requires that Sound Transit send this propaganda out to “each registered voter in the Sound Transit District”.
It is very convenient for Sound Transit (ST) to use our tax dollars to advance its tax-raising effort, just in time to coincide with the start of the official campaign’s advertising about Proposition 1. And you can learn a bit about what the light rail cheerleaders are worried about by taking a close look at the piece.
Most telling, because the flyer is supposed to be factual, there are no claims that passing Proposition 1 will reduce traffic congestion. As Shift has reported in the past, that ‘s because even ST officials admit that building more light rail won’t actually reduce congestion, primarily because the majority of people who ride the trains used to ride buses.
Second, there is little mention about how long it will take to build the very expensive train system that ST wants. The fact that it will be decades before the majority of new light rail lines are finished – some taking until at least 2041 – is glossed over with the claim that “major projects (are) completed every five to seven years”.
Finally, the exorbitant cost of Proposition 1 – $53.8 billion – is buried on page 5 of the flyer. While there are fancy charts and graphics on every page of the campaign piece, the most important piece of information to taxpayers – how much money will be taken out of their wallets – is as hidden as could be.
Sound Transit makes several false claims in the flyer – such as “taxes stay local”, when in fact the second downtown Seattle tunnel taps the tax dollars from the rest of the region to cover it costs – but the misrepresentations are too numerous to cover in one article.
The flyer is required by state law. They use generic “Resident” because it saves taxpayers money (something you guys would probably like) and prevents wasted copies that have incorrect names.
Also, reducing congestion should not be the main goal of this package. It should be to speed up trips for current and future transit riders, free up bus hour capacity, and encourage good development that doesn’t require further car use. If it manages to stall congestion growth, that’s a bonus.
“If it manages to stall congestion growth, that’s a bonus.”
Have you read, about 1% of people commuting will use the light rail? It won’t even stall congestion growth.
“Also, reducing congestion should not be the main goal of this package. It should be to speed up trips for current and future transit riders, free up bus hour capacity, and encourage good development that doesn’t require further car use.”
So we should spend $54 billion (conservative number as ST is always over budget) for something that won’t get done by the time most taxpayers who are paying for it are dead or retired to provide a nicer train for people who are already using it? We’re supposed to speed up usage for future users (1% of travelers) while not EVEN being able to slow down congestion? Lastly we can encourage “good” development without spending $54 billion on an inflexible system that benefits only landowners and users near the rail station. I’m sorry but I hear nothing from you supporting the ability to move MORE people efficiently. Most riders will use the rail by transferring from buses. Thus we’re paying $54 billion to shift users to new toy trains and produce limited growth in system capacity. Fail.
Army Vet 4444 says
The “light rail” system that requires it’s construction to be BILLIONS of dollars over budget, and even after it’s built, requires massive supplements from Taxpayers to keep it running (it’s already been figured that the sold use of the system will not be enough to even keep it running). Is a “no brainer”. WHY would ANY taxpayer want to even discuss such stupidity? I’m a tax payer, and I only get angry every time I hear there is news about this boondoggle. It’s ridiculous. WHAT DO WE HAVE TO DO, TO KILL THIS BEAST?