About this blog

My name is Bill Hirt and I'm a candidate to be a Representative from the 48th district in the Washington State legislature. My candidacy stems from concern the legislature is not properly overseeing the WSDOT and Sound Transit East Link light rail program. I believe East Link will be a disaster for the entire eastside. ST will spend 5-6 billion on a transportation project that will increase, not decrease cross-lake congestion, violates federal environmental laws, devastates a beautiful part of residential Bellevue, creates havoc in Bellevue's central business district, and does absolutely nothing to alleviate congestion on 1-90 and 405. The only winners with East Link are the Associated Builders and Contractors of Western Washington and their labor unions.

This blog is an attempt to get more public awareness of these concerns. Many of the articles are from 3 years of failed efforts to persuade the Bellevue City Council, King County Council, east side legislators, media, and other organizations to stop this debacle. I have no illusions about being elected. My hope is voters from throughout the east side will read of my candidacy and visit this Web site. If they don't find them persuasive I know at least I tried.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

License Tab Fees – Another Seattle Times Failure

The March 3rd Seattle Times editorial and their Feb 27th “Traffic Lab” article “Sound Transit uses inflated car values to collect higher tab fees” is another example of the paper not recognizing the impact of Sound Transit and WSDOT actions until after the fact.   A competent newspaper would have alerted voters prior to the ST3 vote about Sound Transit’s inflated car values in combination with the 0.8% increase to 1.1% of their “car value” on tab fees.

Sound Transits decision to be the only state agency to not “charge a car-tab tax based on a car’s value for simplicity’s sake” typifies their arrogance.   Sound Transit claims they’ve already sold bonds requiring they continue to use the inflated values despite earlier claims they didn’t need ST3 funding until 2019.   It’s another example of Sound Transit issuing bonds, not because they need the money, but to protect their license tab revenue.

The Times “Traffic Lab” article allowed Sound Transit’s totally spurious claim that less than 20% of commuters would have cars worth more than the $25,000 needed to justify the $200 increase.   Typical of Sound Transit, they made no attempt to correct their own Expert Review Panel (ERP) conclusion the owner of the area’s “median car value” of $5333 would pay only $47 in increased tab fees.  Using Sound Transit valuations one would have to be driving a 10-year old $25,000 Toyota to qualify for their "median car value" tab fees.

Equally absurd Sound Transit used property values from the entire Snohomish, King and Pierce county area to establish a median market value of $360,776 to compute “median” ST3 property taxes.  Surely "median property values" for those forced to pay for ST3 will be far higher.  While the Times urged property owners to do their own calculations, the fact they even gave credence to Sound Transit’s $169 per adult claim is “regrettable”.

Again, the Seattle Times failure to inform voters about the real costs of license tab fees prior to the vote obviously contributed to ST3 approval.  However, the costs associated with increased fees “pale in comparison” to the “costs” for Times failure to acknowledge that the vast majority of ST3 $54 billion, spent on a light rail spine routed through the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, will never provide the capacity to significantly reduce congestion on I-5 and I-90.  Also, that WSDOT plans to “manage congestion” along I-405 with HOT lanes will increase congestion for the vast majority of commuters forced to use GP lanes.

As a result, Seattle's standing as a "World Class City: for Congestion" is only going to "increase".

No comments:

Post a Comment