Letters to the Editor

Transit: Tax funding plan is unsustainable

Re: “Sound Transit sees way to speed up light rail in Tacoma,” (TNT, 5/27).

The Sound Transit 3 proposal involves additional sales, property, and motor vehicle taxes of $392 per year per household. Yet we are supposed to feel better that we can avoid even higher tax increases due to identification of $4 billion in extra capacity. Here’s a better cost avoidance idea: significantly scale back ST3 expansion to something more aligned with our area’s needs.

ST3 is unsustainable because we don’t have the population density to make it viable. Compared to other cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., or New York City, the current ST area (Snohomish, King and Pierce Counties; 3.6 million people) does not have the population base to sustain ST3 operations, even if it included Whatcom, Skagit and Thurston Counties (4.6 million people). This is evident in ST’s current fare recovery ratio (percent of operating expenses paid by passenger fares), which is among the worst in the nation (22 percent). Other transit system ratios are 50 to 75 percent.

Unless our population at least doubles and riders pay 3 to 4 times present fare costs, all affected taxpayers should resoundingly defeat this $50 billion folly when it comes voting time.