Roads + Transit = ‘Nonsense on Stilts’ Squared, Cubed or Worse
Few elements of the Roads + Transit package are entirely logical – since so little is in fact to be completed – but when Sound Transit’s always-devious planning process is hog tied to the Regional Transportation Investment District’s floundering, in recent years, the shot-gun wedding forced by the state Legislature, in 2006, is not merely ugly. Roads + Transit, as proposed, yields the “nonsense on stilts” derided by Sir Jeremy Bentham 200 years ago.
To start, Sound Transit builds its slick-willy financing on smoke-and-mirrors – yet again.
In order to ensure that a light-rail spine can reach no farther north than Lynnwood, and no farther south than Fife, Sound Transit is proposing a very deceptive 20-year financing plan (instead of 30 years required to fund light-rail service from Everett to Tacoma). However, Sound Transit’s latest shell game rests on floating $9.8 billion in 30-year bonds so that its thus-misleading 20-year plan allows tax collections for 30, 40 or even 50 years!
In order to avoid completing the light-rail spine from Everett to Tacoma promised to limit traffic on Interstate 5 – which MIGHT actually do something to decrease congestion as Sound Transit’s “Master Plan” has claimed for over a dozen years – that enormously expensive agency is planning to jam a light-rail spur just far enough to the east to mess up freight mobility in the pivotal Interstate 90 corridor, totally, adding huge delays for trucks delivering perishable fruit, other agricultural products and manufactured goods to the Port of Seattle from eastern Washington, but not far enough to connect with Redmond’s central business district, much less with any parts of Kirkland, Bothell, Woodinville or Issaquah.
Why would Sound Transit suggest such “nonsense on stilts” for its second “ST2” phase – now – after its first “Sound Move” stage turned out to be a fiasco, if not an outright fraud, costing taxpayers twice as much to fund only about half of the light-rail service promised?
The answer is simple: If Sound Transit calls its “ST2” dodge a 20-year plan, then it can identify tax costs for only two decades, sell that much-smaller number to voters, but float 30-year bonds – and, depending on when debt issues, rake in taxes for up to half a century. Stated gently, Sound Transit’s so-called “ST2” phase has a 20-year scope largely so it can intentionally scam taxpayers in 2007 – once again – precisely as it misled voters in 1996.
Sound Transit’s brazen uses of financial misrepresentation to con citizens in King County, Pierce County and Snohomish County were exposed by state Supreme Court Justice Tom Chambers as a highly “clever manipulation,” in Sane Transit v. Sound Transit, 151 Wn.2d 60, 104 (2004), and were condemned by Justice Richard Sanders’ dissent, there, forcefully stating “it is not our role to help Sound Transit railroad the voters.” But past chumping of us all fades before the utter financial irresponsibility urged by the Regional Transportation Investment District (with its “RTID” acronym most properly pronounced as “RIP-OFF”).
RTID proposes $6.7 billion for highways from $8.2 billion to be collected over 20 years in taxes and in tolls – and from $6.2 billion more in reckless borrowing! Such misuse of debt to bunch most construction, over the first few years, also needlessly drives costs up! Thus, Sound Transit’s misdeeds, and even $124 million entirely wasted on monorail, pale before RTID’s “nonsense on stilts” so squared, cubed or raised to a 4th-or-5th power!
For further information, write Box 99, Kirkland 98083, or email TruthinTaxation@aol.com.