Sound Transit 3: Vote No

Sammamish voters should Vote No on the $54 billion plan for Sound Transit 3. This is a $27 billion tax plan over 25 years.

For this, Sammamish gets degraded bus service and prospectively a new park-and-ride on the North End. The average Sammamish household will pay an estimated $1,100 a year in Sound Transit taxes. With about 20,000 households, this is $550 million over the 25 years. For a park-and-ride. And worse service.

Even more notable–and alarming: no project outlined in ST3 is guaranteed. Not a single one. Voters could approve the $27bn in new taxes and none of these projects is a sure bet. This is why The Comment says the park-and-ride for Sammamish is only “prospective.”

One thing that is not prospective but which is guaranteed: if ST3 passes, citizens in its taxing district, including Sammamish, will have no say at all in future tax packages. ST3 takes away voter approval for future taxes and puts it squarely in an unelected board appointed by elected politicians. Unlike the tax packages for ST1 and ST2, there is no sunset for ST3 taxes.

This is a bad deal in so many ways.

The Comment’s position on ST3 is well known to long-time readers of this column, so this recommendation comes as no surprise.

Regional vs Sammamish

A few readers opposed The Comment’s position in the name of regionalism. So let’s talk about that.

On a regional basis, ST3 has many flaws.

  • The rail to nowhere: Issaquah to South Kirkland via downtown Bellevue. If commuters want to take the rail to Seattle, they have to go to the Bellevue transit center to connect, then back south to I-90 and then to Seattle. They have to wait until 2014 for this round-about way to do so. Express bus service direct to Seattle is degraded, as buses are rerouted to Bellevue to feed the train. The Kirkland branch doesn’t go to downtown but to some obscure place in South Kirkland.
  • Renton who? Renton, the home of Boeing’s 737 factory, doesn’t get a rail line. Neither does downtown Renton. It’s still all bus service, despite past promises.
  • Boeing who? The north line to Everett, by 2038 or something like that, doesn’t go to the Boeing plant. It follows I-5 and stops at the Boeing freeway, where connecting buses take employees to the plant. Boeing is only the largest employer in Puget Sound. But workers get the shaft to Renton and to Everett. No wonder people think government doesn’t know what it is doing.

These are just three of the glaring flaws in ST3 on a regional basis. For Sammamish, it’s worse.

Vote No on ST3.

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