The Seattle NHL team has announced that every ticket holder will get a free bus, light rail, and monorail pass to get to and from the game.
The NHL says they are including it in the price of the tickets, but what it is, is a subsidy from us. Remember that NHL Seattle’s director of transportation is former Seattle City Councilmember Rob Johnson, who was known for his dishonesty in his years on the council.
What is particularly infuriating about this is that what kept getting repeated throughout the whole process of the NHL coming to Seattle was that it was entirely a privately-funded endeavor, and the private group building the arena would be responsible for any overruns. The only thing the taxpayers would be on the hook for was infrastructure improvements around the stadium itself. Now we’re finding out that they’re handing out free transit passes.
Unless it is a dollar-for-dollar return to the taxpayers, then this is a tax giveaway, and we were lied to when NHL came to Seattle. They need to prove to us that every penny of the cost for the mass transit subsidy is included in the ticket prices so you and I are not subsidizing NHL fans’ bus and train rides.
We broke a story last year that the Local Improvement District tax from the Seattle waterfront would be coming to Queen Anne to pay for improvements around the NHL stadium. Many of the people in the waterfront LID region are elderly residents on a fixed income who bought their condos decades ago, when prices were far lower — they don’t have enough money to pay taxes on its current value.
I predicted when the LID tax was first discussed for the waterfront that this would spread throughout Seattle and the region, and indeed, now there are talks in the Seattle City Council that they want to do the same to the residents of Lower Queen Anne and Magnolia.
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