Senate committee agrees to investigate allegations against Sound Transit

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Monday evening, state Sen. Mike Padden, who oversees the Senate Law and Justice Committee, wrote a letter saying he would schedule hearings to look into allegations that Sound Transit may have deceived voters in its ST3 campaign.

Read his letter here.

This comes after two lawmakers in Olympia last week accused the transit agency of deceiving the voters and the legislature.

Senators Steve O'Ban and Dino Rossi are calling for an investigation into whether Sound Transit engaged in a "systematic effort to confuse and misrepresent the impact and cost of the ST3 authorization to legislators and the public."

O'Ban and Rossi asked either the Law and Justice Committee or the Transportation Committee to hold a hearing to investigate Sound Transit's communications with the legislature and possible "improper participation" in the election.

Rossi’s office told KIRO 7 Monday night that the committee may schedule hearings and look into public records received from the Department of Licensing and Sound Transit. If lawmakers determine that the agency did anything wrong, they may penalize Sound Transit or even call for a re-vote of ST3.

They say the agency may have engaged in a systematic effort to confuse and misrepresent the impact and cost of ST3.

One of the biggest complaints that prompted a lot of discussion in Olympia this session is Sound Transit's use of inflated car values to calculate car tab fees.

"Even Sound Transit's staunchest defenders are now expressing shock over how they're pricing car-tab taxes and their overall funding authorization," said O'Ban.

But an even bigger concern, for some, is the way Sound Transit is able to get funding authorization, without legislative scrutiny.

In a letter to the chairs of those two committees, Senator Rossi wrote, "Even House Democrats don't buy Sound Transit's shell game … There are legitimate questions about the bait and switch pulled on both the legislators and the public. We deserve to know the truth."

Sound Transit says the claims of deception have no validity.