Popular: Sound Transit 3’s big win celebrated

Tuesday’s national election results were a prime example of how, sometimes, it’s not as important how many votes you get but how you get them. But the hugely important decision faced by Puget Sound voters on the future of the region’s transportation system ended up a celebration of the popular vote. The campaign to deliver a combined “YES” on Sound Transit 3 vote across King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties celebrated its victory Thursday.

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-10-21-52-amHere is the statement from Abigail Doerr, campaign manager for Mass Transit Now:

Today, I am honored to officially declare that Sound Transit Proposition 1 has passed with majority support from voters in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties.

With this landmark vote in favor of regional mass transit we’ve turned the page on our tumultuous transportation past, and begun a new chapter that will redefine our future.

Proposition 1 finally gives us the full-scale public transportation system we have always needed. It will benefit all of us, as well as our children and grandchildren by improving the environment, our region’s economy, and the quality of life of people in the Puget Sound for generations to come.

On behalf of the entire Mass Transit Now campaign and our coalition partners, I extend my sincere gratitude to everyone who supported Proposition 1 with their time, treasure and votes.

Prop 1 passed despite failing to our south in Pierce County. You can see by the tallies, with King County’s strong support, the more far flung “NO” voters didn’t have a chance:

ST3 will dramatically expand light rail in the region. The $53.8 billion package will extend light rail lines to Redmond by 2024, Ballard by 2035, and West Seattle by 2030. Extensions into Everett and Tacoma will come in the following years. The expanded system will require a second downtown tunnel.

Here is Sound Transit’s description of ST3 elements near downtown:

Seattle – Downtown/S. Lk. Union

A second subway through downtown Seattle would connect light rail riders from downtown Seattle to South Lake Union and Seattle Center with fast, reliable service continuing on to Ballard.

Downtown and South Lake Union access would expand with increased connections to the 116-mile regional light rail system reaching major job and housing centers in more destinations, including:

  • Everett via Paine Field Industrial Center
  • Tacoma
  • Sea-Tac Airport*
  • West Seattle
  • Kirkland
  • Bellevue*
  • Redmond
  • Issaquah

*already funded

The ST3 Plan would also:

  • Provide contributions to Madison Street Bus Rapid Transit and to RapidRide C and D line improvements to speed service to Ballard and West Seattle while light rail is under construction.

  • Increase Sounder south commuter rail capacity by extending platforms and serving trains up to 10 cars in length, carrying approximately 40 percent more passengers.

  • Add two new Sounder south commuter rail stops to serve Joint Base Lewis-McChord and DuPont, both with parking.

  • Add pedestrian and bike path improvements to easily connect residents to light rail and Sounder stations.

The $54 billion package will be funded and constructed over the course of more than 20 years, with roughly $27 billion in new regional taxes — composed of property, sales, and motor vehicle excise taxes — and the rest coming from a combination of federal grants, bonds, and existing Sound Transit tax revenue from Sound Move and ST2. Sound Transit estimated that ST3 will cost $200 annually for individual adults and $390 annually for families within the regional taxing district. Combined with an existing $303 a year for earlier phases of Sound Transit, the new ST3 boosted total will be $629 annual for a median household at $77,000 income.

In the meantime, the ST2-powered EastLink project is picking up steam including plans for the new Central District light rail station expected to open in 2023.

Sound Transit has announced that the Seattle-side line of light rail will be known as the Red Line while Eastside extensions will be known as the Blue Line.

Capitol Hill Station opened after six years of demolition and construction in the spring of 2015 as part of the $1.9 billion, 3.1-mile U-Link extension connecting downtown to Husky Stadium via Broadway. Ridership on the light rail line has surged even as the economic impact on the neighborhood has been more difficult to gauge.

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13 thoughts on “Popular: Sound Transit 3’s big win celebrated

  1. Far too expensive. This money should have gone to local school districts instead. Now in addition to this outlandish expense, we’ll also have a separate but equally painful increase in property taxes so we can fun schools adequately.

    People complain that Seattle is not affordable and then pass levy after levy increasing costs to live here. There’s no sign of any relief for middle income home owners struggling to pay their bills amid every increasing property taxes.

    • Seattle voters clearly disagree.

      This is a longterm investment in keeping Seattle a great place to live. The longer we wait to invest in infrastructure like this, whether at the local or national level, the greater price we all end up paying.

      Thanks to ST3, how many people will be able to give up having a car, paying for cabs, or simply increase the amount of time they have in their day thanks to this? Do you think NYC would go back if they could and scrap their subway for slightly lower taxes? Would London? Would Chicago? I doubt it.

    • Seattle is “a great place to live”? 15% of the working population are making tech salaries and driving up the cost of living beyond what the rest of the population can afford or should be expected to pay. You can’t run or sustain a major city under those conditions. People of color are being displaced out of neighborhoods they historically had a family and social framework, Capitol Hill considers business diversity endless new bars and a couple of dry cleaners and calls that success, Chinese investors are starting to buy up property which will drive up all prices further, AirBnB results in housing being taken off the rental market. Now we will have an extremely expensive and lengthy major transit project that will destroy Shoreline, just to name one community. The great screwing over of Seattle by developers, tech, and hipsters will not result in much in the way of livability for many real people.

    • Seattle voters are majority renters. The majority of renters are of the false assumption that increasing property taxes is “free”. After all they don’t own any property, so why not increase property taxes to pay for anything that might benefit them. The don’t see the correlation between higher rents each year and the increase in property taxes. The simply blame it on greedy landlords or something else equally silly.

      As far as slightly lower is concerned, there is nothing slight about 25 thousand dollars in taxes per household. I’d rather fully fund our schools like we are constitutionally required to.

      Also, now that the Republicans fully control the government, the chance if this getting any Federal funding at all is minimal. The entire cost will be be coming out of our pockets so the $1000 a year to Sound Transit will probably in all likelihood double.

    • Oh please, renters pay property tax through rent. But unlike property owners, renters don’t get all the tax giveaways and government handouts for being a “homeowner”.

      If you have a problem with education money take that up with our worthless state legislature. There are additional important issues to address in our society.

    • We pass “levy after levy” because we have no income tax option. If we did then the proverbial middle-class seattle family wouldn’t pay as much as the much vilified techie. But, that isn’t the world we live in, so we pass these measures instead.

    • That’s exactly what disappoints me so much about this regional transit plan – it is stretched out across such a large area that it will enable very few people to sell their cars. It will be good for commuters, especially suburban commuters, but it simply doesn’t offer a dense enough urban network that very many people will be able to depend on it exclusively.

      Oh well, we’re committed to it now, and that means our generation can’t afford to build an *actual* Seattle Subway. We’ll just have to keep driving and keep emitting CO2 most of the time, use transit for whatever minority of our trips it happens to serve, and hope the next generation manages to do better.

    • @mike

      “As far as slightly lower is concerned, there is nothing slight about 25 thousand dollars in taxes per household.”

      huh, that’s funny because up above in the post it states, “Combined with an existing $303 a year for earlier phases of Sound Transit, the new ST3 boosted total will be $629 annual for a median household at $77,000 income.”

      so where are you getting $25K in taxes per household? even with all the other property taxes that we pay, nobody’s paying $25K in property taxes unless their property values are in the billions of dollars.

      as a homeowner, i supported prop 1 and think it’s a much needed addition to our transit infrastructure.

    • Amen, Mike. I’m going to have to move out of my house & move to a tiny apartment in the sticks somewhere because I can’t afford the property taxes anymore. The upside is that I can rent out my house for thousands of dollars & buy down my debt. Renters are screwed with how much the market will allow me to charge for rent.

    • Zeebleeoop, I believe Mike is probably talking about what it will cost homeowners over the life of the project, which is something like 20 years. And as far as I know he is right that this will cost something like $25,000…..not only in property taxes, but also with the increased sales tax and car tab fee.

  2. Passage of this boondoggle is proof again that liberalism is a mental disorder, in fact it’s terminal. What a waste of money getting railroaded by idiots who supported with their feelings than with their heads which are clearly empty and now subjects the taxpayers to extortion for no net reduction in traffic congestion.