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Investing Sense


In massive lie, Sound Transit now tries to fleece federal government

(File, Associated Press)

It’s hard to imagine, but Sound Transit is complaining they don’t have enough tax dollars.

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Despite taking $54 billion from Washington taxpayers by purposefully miscalculating the value of our cars in ST3, they’re after $1.17 billion in federal funding for their ST2 Lynnwood light rail project which is already $500 million over-budget.

“Voters in this region stood up and voted to tax themselves to provide a path out of crippling congestion,” Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff said in one whopper of a lie. “For that, they should be rewarded at the federal level, not punished.”

For Rogoff’s lie — and his agency’s inability to be stewards of our tax dollars — he should be punished. I actually use and enjoy light rail, but this agency has a horrific track record.

Firstly, ST2 nor ST3 would reduce the crippling congestion. According to Mike Lindblom of The Seattle Times on ST3, “Even if the network outperforms official estimates of 700,000 daily passengers, that’s a fraction of 19 million regional trips by 2040.”

Indeed, advocates who pushed ST3 also noted it wouldn’t stop the traffic.

“We’re building additional capacity to give people options to get out of traffic. With 1 million people coming, I don’t know how anybody can realistically say we have a way to reduce congestion,” Shefali Ranganathan, executive director of the Transportation Choices Coalition, told the Times.

I’m sure Rogoff would dispute that he lied; he was technically just being misleading because he can say voters were dumb enough to believe ST2 or ST3 would get them out of congestion when Sound Transit knew it wouldn’t impact traffic at all. But I’m not giving him kudos for being misleading to get out of being called a liar. Will he claim ST2 was about congestion reduction and ST3 was about options? Please. He’s dishonest and it’s disgusting.

But secondly, why would the federal government want to give Sound Transit $1.17 billion when this particular project is already over-budget by $500 million? It’ll even miss it’s project opening by at least 6-months. It makes no sense for the Trump administration to throw money at an agency so incapable of handling money responsibly. This is hardly the first time they’ve been dramatically over-budget.

How about before we ask for money we’re not owed, we spend what we have wisely? Time and time again, Sound Transit has proven to be incapable.

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