Tech giants are pumping big money into Sound Transit 3 campaign

Sep 28, 2016, 10:28 AM | Updated: Sep 29, 2016, 5:23 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)

The folks who are pumping money into the Sound Transit 3 campaign include the who’s who of local tech giants.

Amazon, Expedia, Vulcan, and Costco have each donated $100,000. Microsoft has given $300,000.

Overall, state records show Mass Transit Now has raised $2.4 million, KIRO 7 reports. On the other hand, the No on ST3 campaign has raised less than $11,000.

The $53.8-billion package that will be on the November ballot would allow Sound Transit to expand its light rail and bus rapid transit throughout three counties. It would also cost the “typical adult” an additional $169 per year — or roughly $14 per month.

Related: Contested ballot measure gains support from the Eastside

Bellevue City Council member Kevin Wallace, the one member of the council to vote “no” on supporting the tax package, says voters need to understand where the money is coming from.

“People ought to recognize that there’s a lot of money going into this campaign from people that expect to make a profit from the transportation projects that are proposed by it,” Wallace said. “The big companies … I think they are so desperate for transportation solutions they will fund just about anything.”

Irene Plenefisch, Microsoft’s government affairs director, said the company isn’t planning on investing more in the package right now.

“But we are very supportive of the campaign and hope it will be successful in November,” she said.

Proponents of alternative forms of transportation have argued that benefits outweigh the costs to taxpayers. Seattle Subway, an activist organization, went so far as to compare the cost of ST3 to taxpayers to a subscription to The Seattle Times.

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Tech giants are pumping big money into Sound Transit 3 campaign