The proposed Regional Proposition 1 (ST 3) is a $54 billion tax and spend proposal that would have a long lasting and huge impact on the finances of the City of Bothell and our region. ST3 is way out of the realm of reasonableness. It buys trains to Seattle at 12 times the cost of WSDOT’s $4.6 billion SR 520 Bridge Replacement Program.
The City of Bothell has a robust system for identifying transportation needs in the city. The current budget has about $11 million of annual transportation programs and projects in the Capital Investment Program (CIP). Most of that is for street improvements and maintenance for the roadways, sidewalks, bike lanes and transit ways.
Bothell has identified over $211 million of funded and unfunded transportation needs in the City included in the adopted 2017-2022 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), the current transportation ‘wish list.’ In recognition of the desire to supplement the $11 million per year CIP, the city has proposed a property tax levy for transportation in 2016. If approved by the Bothell voters in November, this levy is projected to raise $36 million over the 9 year life of the levy ($4 million per year).
Sound Transit’s ST3 proposal is a train project to satisfy politicians. Sound Transit acknowledges that ST3 will do nothing to relieve traffic congestion in Bothell or anywhere in East King County.
The Sound Transit district is divided into five sub-areas, with Bothell in both the east King and Snohomish Subareas which together are projected to generate about $19.1 billion in 25 years. There are 16 cities within the east King subarea and 8 cities plus unincorporated areas the Snohomish subarea. Based on population,
Bothell will generate about $792 million from the residents and businesses toward ST3’s gigantic tax ($32 million per year).
The chart puts these numbers into perspective.
Nearly three times the Bothell Transportation CIP budget would be sent from Bothell residents to Sound Transit for trains to Seattle, Everett, Tacoma, Redmond and Issaquah (more than 17 times the proposed Transportation Levy).
Traffic congestion is an item often mentioned as a problem in discussions of City issues. Bothell residents are stuck in traffic, and you know it.
Thus, traffic congestion is a top issue in Bothell and Sound Transit asks you to tax yourselves a huge amount to help Seattle pay for their second Downtown train tunnel to serve Ballard and West Seattle plus light rail extensions to Everett, Tacoma, Redmond and Issaquah. The light rail extensions to those cities are the epitome of foolishness for extending high capacity transit to the lowest density portions of our urban area. Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) calculates a projected 0.4 percent of the regions’ daily person trips will take light rail in 2040.
ST3 is a bad deal for Bothell and all of east King County.
Victor H. Bishop, P.E., Chair-Elect, Eastside Transportation Association