I’m still shocked by what I heard at the Regional Transportation Summit hosted by City of Issaquah on Tuesday. Fortunately I captured it all on video for you to watch for yourself.
Peter Rogoff, CEO of Sound Transit and paid $300,000/year effectively said “unlike the other politicians in the room, I can say this because I am not an elected official so I don’t have to answer to taxpayers.” He then went on to say 2 person carpools are getting in the way of operations of his buses. (already proven false in our expose‘)
Mr Rogoff also stated:
“[Regarding] the excess money that is now sitting in the I-405 pot from..um.. the tolling regime. And while, you know there is a lot of heat, light, and noise..um..and politics around that whole tolling exercise, it did point out one thing and that is that there is a universe of users that are ready to pay more. And maybe as difficult as it is politically, we need..you really want to address some of these challenges, we need to recognize that there is..um..there is money being left on the table for those people that will pay..uh..for a solution.”
He repeats several times during the meeting: “there is money being left on the table”. He is referring to YOUR money that they have not yet taken. Mr Rogoff is stating YOU are WILLING TO PAY MORE and therefore they should be charging more for tolls. What he fails to realize is that for many people, they are paying for tolls much like they are paying their heating bill. It isn’t a choice.
Also, to speed up the ETL, it must slow down the GPL. (WSDOT refers to this as ‘congestion management’.) They are stealing time from the people in the GPL and auctioning off to people in the ETL.
Finally, just 2 weeks after getting $54 Billion ($54,000,000,000.00) for bus and rail improvements, Mr Rogoff had the cajones to say in this forum that is focused on the needs of the 10 cities in southeast King county (Bellevue, Newcastle, Issaquah, Snoqualmie, North Bend, Maple Valley, Covington, Black Diamond, Renton, and Sammamish) that the money collected by the #405ETL could be used for building better Bus Rapid Transit. His comments did not appear to sit well with the 10 mayors in the room who already stated their number one short term and long term transportation problems were locations like the 2-lane Issaquah-Hobart Rd. The 405ETL are nowhere near these cities. And one mayor, Rich Crispo made that point very clear.
This is what you get when you give a small group of people (Sound Transit Board), who are NOT elected by constituents, the authority to decide what to build and unlimited taxing authority to fund it. As the saying goes: “Spending other people’s money is addictive”. Clearly Mr Rogoff is addicted to spending our money. Not just the $7 million/DAY for the next 20 years on ST3, but also the relatively puny $10 million/year being collected by the Express Toll Lane system. A system that has been riddled with design problems, billing problems, social problems, and performance problems.
Mr. Rogoff is not alone in thinking of using tolling to get more of your money. Puget Sound Regional Council has tolling on all major highways in their 2040 plan.
The recording of the entire meeting will be posted here as soon as I have it uploaded.