• New online calculator helps determine what Sound Transit 3 will cost you

    By: Graham Johnson

    Updated:

    KING COUNTY, Wash. - Sound Transit has launched a new online calculator so people can figure out their share of a proposed $54 billion light rail expansion on the November ballot.

    The calculator was requested by a state-appointed expert review panel and included in a Sound Transit 3 website relaunch on Tuesday.

    It asks for users to input the number of adults in a household, annual income, property value, and current RTA taxes, which are found on car registration forms or can be looked up online.

    The calculator is best reachable through a search engine, as there's no mention of it on the front page of the new ST3 site.  

    From the front page, it takes a few clicks and a scroll to the bottom of a page to find it.

    "That's what governments do, they don't ever want you to know the costs, they only want to tell you all the wonderful things you'll get 25 years from now," said anti-tax initiative sponsor Tim Eyman, who co-wrote the voters pamphlet statements against ST3.

    Eyman called the calculator "totally hidden, hopelessly complicated, and completely user-unfriendly."

    Geoff Patrick of Sound Transit said there was no attempt to hide the calculator.   

    "I think it's pretty easy to find. There's one question about the costs and if you follow the link you'll see the link to the individualized cost calculator," Patrick said.            

    Sound Transit estimates the cost of ST3 for the typical adult would be $169 more per year in higher property, sales and car tab taxes.

    That estimate is based on a median over three counties where property values alone vary widely. The ballot measure would add new taxes, as well as continue current taxes passed by voters in 1996 and 2008 to build light rail.

    Sound Transit promises 62 miles of new light rail lines in King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties, as well as a couple of new bus rapid transit lines and a commuter rail extension.

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