TODD HERMAN

Sound Transit board selection will be poison to group’s efforts

Aug 7, 2016, 12:29 AM
light rail Seattle, ST3, Pierce County, Sound Transit...
The Legislature came one step closer to forcing Sound Transit to lower car tab fees. (KIRO Radio)
(KIRO Radio)

Having the Sound Transit board select who gets to write opposition language to the proposed ST3 property tax levy is like allowing sports teams to select their own referees, an opponent of the $54-billion-measure says.

“It’s OK if the referees were fair,” Maggie Fimia told AM 770 KTTH’s Todd Herman. However, Fimia says these “referees” have selected someone they know will be poison to their anti-ST3 efforts.

That person Fimia is referring to is Tim Eyman, the conservative activist who advocates for smaller government and is known for numerous tax-limiting initiatives.

The Sound Transit Board voted to have Eyman help write the statement opposing the levy for the fall voters’ pamphlet. Due to a state law, the board was required to choose three people from each of the three counties Sound Transit operates in to write the statements.

Fimia, who is a member of the nonprofit Smarter Transit, says the organization knew who they wanted to write the opposition statements. The organization heard Eyman was interested, and specifically asked him not to put his name in the hat. That is because Smarter Transit believes that when more liberal voters see Eyman’s name on the ballot, they will vote for the opposite of what he is promoting.

Smarter Transit argues that the ST3 proposal, which would significantly extend the reach of light rail, would not help traffic congestion.

“It’s not going to have any effect on congestion,” Fimia said. “In 1996 I helped get ST1 passed and they promised it would reduce traffic congestion…”

Fimia argues that the cost per rider for the project isn’t worth it either, and it would make more sense to pump money into the area’s bus service.

“You could provide ten times the bus service,” she said.

She also says the levy on property tax puts things such as schools and fire districts at risk.

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Sound Transit board selection will be poison to group’s efforts