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.