• Sides battle over what voters will see about Sound Transit 3

    By: Essex Porter


    SEATTLE - Sound Transit 3 promises 62 miles of new light rail, plus more bus rapid transit and Sounder Trains.

    The price tag for voters in metropolitan King, Pierce and Snohomish counties is $54 billion in new taxes.
    But in court, critics said the short description voters will see on the ballot is misleading -- because it lists the projects but doesn't explicitly say they aren't guaranteed.
    “Those particular projects that are going to be funded by that are uncertain, they may be laudable goals, they may be wonderful ideas, but they are not certain. The tax authority is certain,” Richard Stephens, representing the Eastside Transportation Association, told the court.
    Sound Transit estimates it will cost the typical adult $169 more a year in higher property, sales and vehicle license taxes.
    And the plan voters are being asked to pass deliberately gives the Sound Transit board the discretion to make changes.
    “Well, past experience tells you that when you have a 25 year plan unanticipated things happen,” Sound Transit General Counsel Desmond Brown said. “You have to give the board some ability to adapt to those changes.”
    Superior Court Judge Bill Bowman didn't order any changes on that issue.
    But he did add the word "continuing" to the phrase about independent audits so that voters won't be misled in into thinking they have to vote "yes" in order to get audits Sound Transit is already doing.
    Citizen Challenger Will Knedlik is not satisfied.
    “This ballot title is immensely misleading,” he said.

    He plans to file a new lawsuit next week because he believes Sound Transit is grossly underestimating the cost of the ST3 levy.

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