LOCAL NEWS

Despite rejection from Pierce County, ST3 is passing

Nov 9, 2016, 9:50 AM | Updated: Nov 10, 2016, 6:30 am
Sound Transit, ST3, election...
The ST3 measure that would expanded light rail throughout three counties is passing. (Sound Transit)
(Sound Transit)

Update The Sound Transit ballot measure that will expand light rail throughout King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties over the next several decades will likely pass, according to the latest ballot count. In fact, The Seattle Times is reporting it already has, despite Pierce County voters rejecting the measure by 56 percent.

Though it will takes years to see the benefits, taxpayers will have to start paying for it starting next year.

In January, sales tax will go up half-a-percent, car tabs will more than triple, and property taxes will jump over $300 per year in the Sound Transit district.

ST3 has 55 percent approval among counted ballots.

King County Executive Dow Constantine, who is the Sound Transit chairperson, told KIRO Radio that the percentage is a “very strong number” and said “we are very confident but we’re going to wait to see all the votes counted.”

Election race list

Constantine said the vote shows people have embraced light rail as an alternative to sitting in traffic.

“They know we need to build a high-capacity transit system to deal with the transportation challenges we have now and those that will come with another million people living in this region,” he said.

Constantine said he was happy with the voter output, and was confident that the 10-point advantage would hold up even as ballots continue to be counted.

“We always knew that Pierce County would be a little bit of a problem as we’ve had some difficult votes there in the past but the strong, strong numbers from King County and also the positive result from Snohomish far more than offset that,” he said. “I am particularly grateful that my constituents in King County are approving this by more than a 58 and a half margin. They know full well that we can’t keep doing the same thing we’ve been doing and expect a different result. We have to build an alternative to sitting in traffic.”

Assuming the vote passes, he says the next step will be working to build “on the foundation of this agency that is delivering projects ahead of schedule and under budget. Making sure we can maintain that same discipline, that same accountability as we expand to create more transit more quickly.”

On the ground, the first priorities will be the light-rail extensions all they way to downtown Redmond and Federal Way, and bus rapid transit all along I-405 and State Route 522, Constantine said.

“We are going to work hard to get those projects out there early and get people moving again,” Constantine said.

The planning and permitting will also be key.

“Any time we can save there means delivering a transit system sooner,” Constantine said. “The sooner we deliver it, the more value people get out of it. And if you saw the traffic this morning, you know we don’t have any time to lose.”

He said he was grateful to people of the region for embracing this task.

“We have tried for decades to build a transit system that would serve the needs of a growing population and a growing economy and it would have been less expensive to do it 50 years ago, but we didn’t,” he said. “Really, there was no time like the present so folks understood that, they stepped up and they did something difficult. They voted to tax themselves to build infrastructure that will serve this region for decades, generations really, to come.”

Between Pierce, King and Snohomish Counties, there was 55 percent approval, and 44 percent against the measure by 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

The $54 billion Sound Transit 3 (ST3) measure is failing in Pierce County with 56 percent rejecting it. However, it is passing with 58 percent approval in King County and 52 percent approval in Snohomish County.

The overall plan isn’t expected to be complete until the early 2040s. Once complete, a rider could potentially get from Dupont to Everett without the need for a car. The Sound Transit proposal would extend light rail’s reach, including cities east of Seattle, such as Bellevue and Redmond, and to Seattle’s more westerly neighborhoods.

The measure was hotly contested by many, including by People for Smarter Transit. Former King County Council member Maggie Fimia told KIRO 7 that the measure is “a waste of taxpayer dollars” and it takes away from transit service.

The anti-ST3 group argued that Sound Transit spent millions on advertising and marketing to gain approval of the light rail effort. The counter-argument is that even $20 million over 10 years wasn’t too much.

It was reported that local tech giants were also pumping money into the effort.

Well before the election, it was reported that, unlike what Sound Transit said, the light rail project was nowhere near on time or under budget. The Seattle Times reported that the first corridor cost $4.95 billion, well over the promised $1.67 billion.

The agency also came under fire for improperly giving the email addresses of more than 170,000 customers to a political campaign promoting an expansion of mass transit.

If the measure passes, it will cost the “typical adult” an additional $169 per year — or roughly $14 per month.

Local News

(KIRO 7)...
KIRO 7 News Staff

35 Marysville teachers receive layoff notices after voters reject levy extensions

Thirty-five teachers in the Marysville School District received layoff notices last week, after voters rejected levy measures that would have funded 14-18% of the district’s overall budget.
1 day ago
...
Gwen Baumgardner

Car thefts are on the rise in the region

In Seattle, there have been 2,075 vehicle thefts already this year. Seattle police reported that approximately 86% of stolen cars are recovered.
2 days ago
Kirkland, WA (Getty Images)...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Tax hikes to join booming property values in East King County

Property values in select cities in East King County have skyrocketed, leading King County Assessor John Wilson to warn homeowners about noticeable increases in property taxes.
2 days ago
Pike Place...
MyNorthwest Staff

Enraged Pike Place motorist pleads not guilty to assault with a motor vehicle charges

A man arrested for an assault stemming from a Pike Place incident pleads not guilty in King County Superior Court.
3 days ago
tukwila...
KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

Prolific Seattle-area smash-and-grab ATM thieves formerly arrested for murder

60 robberies involving trucks driving into local stores to steal ATMs and cash registers may be solved with the arrest of two men at a Tukwila motel Friday morning.
3 days ago
schools...
Dalton Day

Rival to First Student exposes Seattle Schools’ fumbled bidding war

First Student's competition has accused Seattle Public Schools of “arbitrarily and improperly” awarding a district contract to First Student.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Despite rejection from Pierce County, ST3 is passing