Ethics is not a partisan issue. The following letter was presented to the chairs of the Senate Law and Justice Committee and the Senate Transportation Committee as an action to begin an investigation into the egregious violations and alleged violations by Sound Transit.
Some of the allegations include:
– an unconstitutional representation of the expected cost of ST3 to the legislature when they were seeking approval to put it on the ballot, (sought approval for $16 billion then changed it to $54 billion);
– performing activities to promote a ballot proposition which is illegal for a public agency. (Note that while they were only exposed for using the email addresses of ORCA card holders, they also used the email addresses of RideshareOnline members. I know this because I use unique email addresses exclusively for both and I received their propaganda at both accounts.)
– Spending $7.8 million on marketing, lobbying, communications and neighborhood outreach, including over $850,000 for the rail station opening parties to promote ST3.
– knowingly drafting an unconstitutional bill to use a car tax fee schedule that used highly inflated values to get more tax money.
All of this falls in line with the narrative made by Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff in his brazen statement to Eastside mayors in a transportation summit: “You are leaving money on the table.” (video) This was a reference to how much higher the price could be charged for the toll lanes and flaunting how his organization has even started charging for parking in park & rides. He appears to have a personal goal to generate as much money as can be squeezed from us, without regard to making economically, ecologically, and socially sound decisions. Spending other people’s money is addictive.
Before you try to dismiss me as anti-transit, understand that I have been a longtime ORCA and RideshareOnline user. I worked in downtown Seattle for several years and NEVER drove to work, not even for the job interview. I commuted by bike and/or bus exclusively. I have been a strong advocate for bike commuting and have been featured in the Greater Redmond Transportation Management Association newsletter as well as by the City of Issaquah. I have been a team captain many times for Bike to Work Month (Bike Everywhere). From the first summer I moved here 17 years ago, I have carpooled and/or biked to work on the Eastside as much as possible. I have been a member of the Sierra Club for over 23 years. I am a Cascade Bicycle Club member and I am also an active member of the LD1 Democrats.
To my cycling friends, know that Sound Transit is about to squeeze 4 lanes onto the I-90 bridge decks and tunnels which will put cars and trucks within about 1′ of the wall by the bike path on the bridge. Nothing stirs the adrenaline like having a big rig blast by within a couple feet of your head at 65 mph, tossing road spray and gravel at you.
To my environmentalist friends, know that those carpool lanes planned for the new bridge will also be out of federal compliance for lane configurations of HOV lanes. FHWA guidelines call for a 4′ buffer between HOV lanes and GPL lanes. (Which is why ALL of our HOV lanes are slow. WSDOT built them improperly.)
To anyone who drives or has coworkers, friends, or loved ones who drive across the I-90 bridge, the resulting 10.5 foot wide lanes are going to make the bridge slow and dangerous.
For everyone: we have been victims of an organization that is singularly driven to grow an empire rather than provide the best, most efficient, adaptable, environmentally friendly, cost-effective mass transit alternatives.