Dori: ‘Starve the beast’ that costs homeowners $2K a year

Oct 6, 2015, 6:54 AM | Updated: 4:57 pm

Combined, the average Seattle homeowner spends an average of $2,000 per year to various road and tr...

Combined, the average Seattle homeowner spends an average of $2,000 per year to various road and transportation agencies. (AP)


While looking at his car tab renewal bill, Doug MacDonald didn’t understand where all the taxes were coming from. So, just like any good retiree, he turned to a spreadsheet to add it all up.

“They are into your wallet in every way,” former state transportation secretary Doug MacDonald said on KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show.

MacDonald released a 30-page study where he calculated how much all of the separate transportation projects in the state actually cost, finding that Seattleites pay 28 separate taxes, fees and user charges towards transportation. Combined, the average Seattle homeowner spends an average of $2,000 per year to various road and transportation agencies. He also found that four new tax plans could bump that number up to $2,800 per year. Seattle has a $930 million roads and transit levy up for vote on Nov. 3.

Related: King County property tax is getting out of control

MacDonald said there are about four separate agencies planning the future of transportation in Seattle, determining how to spend taxpayer money based on that specific agency’s agenda.

“There is no overview about how that all works together,” he said.

Officials spend too much time and money without a plan that actually asks the various entities to work together, MacDonald said. He advised voters to look at the big picture when casting votes on levies and taxes.

“People need to be a little more discriminating about what they say yes and no to because nobody is telling them what the all-in cost is,” he said. “But you get that driven way further upstream in the process than we do now. You get it driven in the planning process.”

Dori, an outspoken critic of Seattle Department of Transportation Director Scott Kubly and Mayor Ed Murray, said the city’s decision-makers haven’t made good on their promises, calling the city’s transportation “a mess.” He suggested taxpayers “starve the beast” by not giving the city any more money for the failing transportation measures. MacDonald wouldn’t bite on that idea.

“I’m not sure the only way of doing it is saying no,” he said. “I’m probably going to vote yes (in November).”

“Oh jeez,” Dori exclaimed. “I’m out of time. I’d love to rip you for what you just said.”

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