• Two business groups share opposing views on light rail expansion

    By: Graham Johnson

    Updated:

    SEATTLE - Two chambers of commerce have very different takes on the $54 billion Sound Transit 3 measure in November, that would extend light rail in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.            

    The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce supports ST3, and this week the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce announced it will oppose it.

    "We have a lot of people stuck in traffic," said Seattle Metro Chamber CEO Maud Daudon.            

    Daudon said that traffic makes businesses hesitate to move here or expand with new jobs.

    When the chamber ranked similar sized metro areas worldwide, it found Seattle was last in transportation.         

    Daudon said her board, which represents 2,300 businesses around the region, voted unanimously to support ST3.

    "We think it's the best investment going and we're all in," Daudon said.

    The Bellevue Chamber of Commerce announced this week it will oppose ST3.

    "We felt the return on the investment wasn't there for what taxpayers would have to pay out over the next twenty plus years," said board chair Tanya Fraioli.

    The Bellevue Chamber says there are too many unanswered questions about the costs many years in the future, and there's not enough immediate solutions for improving traffic in Bellevue and elsewhere.

    "I think the long term thinking is appropriate but you have to have short term results," Fraioli said.

    Fraioli said the Bellevue Chamber would not be raising money for the "no" campaign.

    Daudon said the Seattle Metro Chamber has a $1 million fundraising goal for the "yes" campaign.

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