Sound Transit response to claims it misled the public on ST3 project

Sound Transit Director of Media Relations and Public Information Communications & External Affairs, Geoff Patrick, issued this statement on Friday, in response to claims it misled the public on the South Transit 3 project.

Sound Transit's interactions with the legislature and all of the extensive public materials related to the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure included clear and accurate information. This broadly available information included but was not limited to:

  • A detailed mailer that was sent to every registered voter household in the Sound Transit District, consistent with the requirements of RCW 81.104.140(8), clearly and fully detailed the revenues and expenditures in ST3.
  • The transparency about costs of the measure extended to an individual level with an online tax calculator that enabled people to input their personal information to get estimates of ST3 costs.
  • All of the funding and expenditures that voters authorized are comprehensively detailed in Appendix A of the Sound Transit 3 Plan.
  • This funding fact sheet was and continues to be available online, outlining in clear and simple terms the revenues associated with ST3.
  • You can also find extensive documentation of hearings, work sessions, floor debates and votes within both the House and Senate that culminated in the extensive bipartisan support that enabled ST3 to move forward.

The letter that Sen. Rossi and Sen. O'Ban linked to their news release enumerated three inaccurate assertions:

  • The senators assert the Legislature's actions adopted "unconstitutional MVET authorization language." Earlier this year they made the same complaint to the State Attorney General. Our response is that the legislative language allowing regional voters to consider the Sound Transit 3 measure was extensively debated and covered by news media and there was no aspect of the legislation that was remotely unconstitutional.
  • The legislation allowed the Sound Transit Board to decide which of the authorized taxes to submit to voters and the duration of the ballot measure. Ultimately the Board responded to public input that strongly favored extensive investments by proposing 25-year package that included $27.7 billion in new local revenues, as the above-linked information reflects, rather than the $15 billion that would have been generated through a 15-year package. Regional voters ultimately approved the 25-year measure by an 8-point margin. As was clearly and comprehensively documented, the $53.8 billion package also included other funding sources including revenues from existing taxes, federal grants and bonds.
  • The letter also makes assertion's regarding "Sound Transit's Improper Participation in Prop. 1 Election" that were reviewed by the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission with no finding of any violation, as was extensively covered by news media.

There is no validity to any of the claims made by the senators. Sound Transit is committed to delivering voter-approved projects and is busy doing so. This work not only includes our active light rail construction between Seattle and Bellevue and between the University of Washington and Northgate, but efforts now underway with newly approved investments that cumulatively will have us working on 24 projects by the end of 2017.

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