If Sound Transit’s $54 billion scheme seems rushed, it’s because that fits with the liberals’ transportation agenda for our region. Consider that when the transit agency first introduced the idea of Sound Transit 3 (ST3), the public was told it would cost $15 billion.
That quickly changed, as bureaucrats figured out they could avoid voter scrutiny for a long time if they just grabbed more tax dollars now. Thus, the ST3 version that appeared earlier this year carried a staggering price tag of $50 billion.
But, that also quickly changed, as not enough people were being bought off with their own pet projects with that money. So, the latest version of the scheme rings in at a whopping $54 billion.
To say the least, the changing price tag is concerning — it indicates that the agency does not have a clear grasp of the transportation challenges our region faces. Considering how Sound Transit proposes to pay for the plan, the rushed nature of it all is unacceptable. As the Seattle Times’ editorial board recently put it:
“ST3’s permanent taxes mean the region might pay forever. It would also take forever, figuratively, to reap the benefits…
“A blank check raises accountability questions. Sound Transit should be subject to voter oversight periodically. Limited funds also impose spending discipline.”
Sound Transit officials have rushed into compiling and pushing ST3 without considering other options or allowing the public time to consider better ideas– again, that’s not acceptable.
ST3 would cost the average King County homeowner about $20,000 over 25 years. For a system that, by its supporters’ own admission, will only increase transit ridership from 3% of daily trips today to 4% in 2040.
That’s $54 billion for a 1% increase in transit’s share of our transportation system!
At that incredible cost, voters have a right to more deeply review what an untrustworthy bureaucratic agency is proposing. The Seattle Times:
“Voters should be given more time to consider alternatives, such as a smaller, more incremental plan. More important, taxpayers need a clearer explanation of what they’ll be paying altogether — something not easily pieced together from Sound Transit’s public documents…
“Slow down. A November ballot measure is too soon. Sure, the agency has provided much promotional fanfare around the Christmas list of expansion and new services. But there has been little discussion of other options for investing tens of billions in the region.”
The Seattle Times’ editorial board urged Sound Transit to tap the brakes on their plan and take the time to consider other options/alternative plans. Unfortunately, we don’t expect officials to heed that sound advice.
Sound Transit officials do not understand the value of a dollar — the way the transit agency throws around taxpayers’ hard-earned money on items like a million-dollar party proves that fact. So, asking voters for a whopping $54 billion in order to spend it on a plan they haven’t sufficiently analyzed is not an issue for Sound Transit officials.
It’s all just more proof that Sound Transit cannot be trusted.