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Lawmakers investigating Sound Transit over ST3

Lawmakers investigating Sound Transit over ST3 (KOMO News)

A Senate committee met in Kent Tuesday to discuss whether Sound Transit misled voters and the Legislature with Sound Transit 3 (ST3), the multi-billion project approved by voters last fall.

The hearing filled the Kent City Council Chambers with construction workers and lobbyists.

Anti-tax advocate Tim Eyman was among the first to speak to the group of Democrat and Republican senators.

Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-University Place, grilled Ann McNeil, a Sound Transit lobbyist, accusing her of not being clear with fellow lawmakers.

“Isn’t it fair to say Ms. McNeil that Sound Transit really failed to accurately and clearly explain the scope of the taxing authority they were seeking from the Legislature,” O’Ban said.

McNeil told the committee the agency was not deceptive.

“We made every attempt to articulate the request the board was making to the Legislature.”

The Legislature approved a measure allowing the transit agency to put the ballot measure before voters.

Last November, more than 50 percent of the voters approved ST3, which will improve transit across the Puget Sound region, including linking light rail from Everett to Tacoma and West Seattle to Issaquah.

A big part of the controversy surrounding ST3 is the hike in car tab costs.

Many motorists were stunned when their car tab bills were hundreds, even thousands, of dollars.

The Senate committee will reconvene for another meeting next month.

Lawmakers say the issue of skyrocketing car tab rates is something they’ll pursue next session.

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