I presented the following to the Bellevue City Council at their 2/08/16 meeting during the “Communications” portion prior to official Study Session Items. After viewing the video of the ensuing Sound Transit ST3 financial presentation I was “less than satisfied” with both the council’s questions and the ST response. For example they never asked why they needed the ST3 funds in 2017. It also wasn't clear to me how Prop 1 extensions would be affected without ST3 funding or the impact of ST3 rejection. I’ll leave it to others to view the video to make their own conclusions.
I’m here tonight because your agenda included a Sound Transit presentation on an item of particular interest, ST3 financing. My understanding is this fall they intend to ask voters for an additional billion dollars a year beginning in 2017 for at least 15 years. The added funding doubles the $997.9 million they anticipated from all revenue sources in their 2016 budget.
The additional funds are purportedly needed to fund extensions beyond what voters approved in 2008 with Prop 1. Yet those extensions won’t be completed until 2023 raising the question as to why the rush. Ask them tonight.
The most likely reason is ST needs additional money to complete Prop 1 extensions. Last year they raised $1.3 billion via a loan and an additional $600 million issuing bonds. Paying off the loan and the interest on the bond will cost them close to $75 million annually.
Prior to issuing the bonds they indicated they would need an additional $6.6B by 2023 to complete the extensions. Presumably the ST3 funding is intended to cover those expenses. If so, that raises an even more important question. What if voters reject ST3? Do they have a plan B for getting the billion dollars a year (and the $50 million needed annually to pay off in 45 years) for the next 6 years or do they intend to scale back Prop 1? Could any changes involve East Link?
Tonight is a perfect opportunity to ask ST for answers. Insist they respond before they begin disrupting our city constructing their tunnel. Since I don’t hear very well I hope I can look forward to seeing you do so and watching their response either on TV or video.