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Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff testifies in Leg. as ‘concerned citizen’

Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. (Sound Transit live feed)

In November, despite the fact that the Aurora Bridge was apparently in horrible disrepair a week before, the people of this region overwhelmingly said they wanted $30 tabs. But people like Governor Jay Inslee and Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff have made sure your votes did not count, and $30 tabs are no closer to being implemented than before the election.

Sound Transit is now 14 years behind schedule in the first phase of light rail. They were supposed to be to the University District by 2006. They are billions over budget. They have ripped away thousands of trees along I-5. Sound Transit admitted in its own environmental impact statement that its light rail plans will do nothing to ease congestion.

Think about these stats. Would any private business be able to survive with stats like that?

To help figure out the $30 tabs dilemma, Senators Steve O’Ban (R-Tacoma) and Phil Fortunato (R-Auburn) have introduced bills to help solve the problem of expensive car tabs while still providing needed revenue for transportation infrastructure. Unfortunately, Democrats in the Legislature won’t even give these bills consideration.

Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff lets people die under his watch, still gets raise

“They’re not moving those bills because they’re all following Jay Inslee’s lead,” $30 tabs sponsor and gubernatorial candidate Tim Eyman told me. “Jay Inslee said, ‘No, I’m not going to back any of these efforts to implement the will of the people.'”

When Governor Gary Locke, a Democrat, was in the same position 20 years ago, he implemented $30 tabs because he knew it was what the voters wanted. How much disdain can Governor Inslee and the one party in control in Olympia show for all of us? The Democrats do not care that these families are hurting, which shows how out-of-touch you get when you have single-party control.

On Tuesday, at a Legislative hearing for Senate bills 6245 and 6350, Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff testified before the legislators. Do you know how Peter Rogoff was identified at the hearing? “Peter Rogoff, concerned citizen.” That is how he appeared on government channel TVW.

I was all set to rip TVW for this, but we contacted them and they were very cool about it. I really appreciate it. TVW apologized and will be correcting it in their archives, but explained that during the sign-in process for speakers, if a person leaves the field for their title blank, they are always labeled as a “concerned citizen.”

That means Peter Rogoff left it blank. He would not identify as the CEO of Sound Transit while trying to make sure the will of the voters is spit on.

“It is so duplicitous, because Sound Transit has fought every single bill down in Olympia that has done anything meaningful. … They’re the biggest bully on the playground,” Eyman said.”They will never give up a single penny.”

How does Rogoff suggest the state help you when you are hurting from car tab bills? Your family might have as much as $1,400 in car tab bills for cars that are nowhere near brand-new. You’re worried about affording that. How does Peter Rogoff respond to your financial heartache?

“There is clearly sticker shock. … How can we get motor vehicle excise tax payers to be able to pay in a more spread-out fashion in the way that they would pay off their credit card or their car insurance?” Rogoff said during testimony. “Rather than write one big check one time, which is hard to budget for as a family, how can we spread out those bills?”

Sound Transit really hears your stress over $600-per-car tabs. They acknowledge that there is sticker shock … so they’re going to “reduce” your tabs to just $50 a month.

“We’re still going to tax your $10,000 car like it’s worth $25,000; you’re still going to spend $300, $500, $800 over time, but we’re going to shaft you over a longer period of time,” Eyman said of Sound Transit’s strategy. “So you’re going to feel a lot better.”

That’s how concerned Peter Rogoff is. He’s tired of his agency taking advantage of families. Clearly, he is trying very hard to listen to the will of the people.

This is what we’re up against with one-party control.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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