The phrase,'Unsound Transit', was coined by the Wall Street Journal to describe Seattle where,"Light Rail Madness eats billions that could otherwise be devoted to truly efficient transportation technologies." The Puget Sound's traffic congestion is a growing cancer on the region's prosperity. This website, captures news and expert opinion about ways to address the crisis. This is not a blog, but a knowledge base, which collects the best articles and presents them in a searchable format. My goal is to arm residents with knowledge so they can champion fact-based, rather than emotional, solutions.


Saturday, September 1, 2007

State Treasurer Backs Prop 1

State treasurer backs measure for roads, transit
By Mike Lindblom

Seattle Times transportation reporter

State Treasurer Mike Murphy, who criticized Seattle's monorail financing in 2005, is endorsing Proposition 1, a larger measure to fund roads and transit.

Some history: The now-defunct Seattle Monorail Project, facing shortages in its car-tab tax, released a 50-year, $11.4 billion plan, including "junk bonds," to fund a $2.1 billion line. Murphy condemned the high-interest financing.

Under Proposition 1, Sound Transit would sell some 30-year bonds as late as 2027, when 50 miles of light-rail lines would be done.

Murphy said Sound Transit has stronger revenue streams than the monorail, and would not rely nearly as much on debt. And Sound Transit anticipates surpluses by the 2030s. Therefore, Murphy said, a long timetable doesn't worry him.

"Absolutely not. That's called long-term planning, and also a recognition of what their expectations are for revenue sources, and their ability to take on those projects only when they have the cash to support them," he said Tuesday.

Mark Baerwaldt, treasurer for one of the opposition campaigns, replied: "When he says they [Sound Transit] have conservative numbers — all they have is a tax stream they've totally abused." Officials in 1996 promised rail from the University District to SeaTac by last year, but costs soared and completion remains years off.

Backers estimate the Proposition 1 "Roads & Transit" package at $18 billion in 2006 dollars. Opposition ads claim it costs $157 billion, which Murphy called "bogus." Among other things, it assumes inflation plus enormous cost overruns over 50 years.

Murphy praised the Nov. 6 measure for including $1.1 billion for a new $4.4 billion Highway 520 bridge.

"Do you want something to happen or not? If you do, vote yes," he said. "If you don't, vote no."

On Monday, Gov. Christine Gregoire said she supports the plan, which will be on the ballot in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, because it includes funding for vulnerable bridges. King County Executive Ron Sims last week said he would vote no, arguing the plan would not reduce congestion or global warming.

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