Get the Facts - Mass Transit Now

Get the Facts
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Nearly a million people are moving to our region in the next few decades. We can either plan for growth or be totally overwhelmed by it.

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Light rail has the capacity to move 16,000 people per hour. A single general purpose freeway lane can move just 2,000 cars per hour.

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When fully built out, the transit system will divert 793,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

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For every $1 we invest in public transportation, we receive $4 in economic return.16 Employers in our region know that mass transit is essential to attract employees and keep our region’s economy moving.

FAQs

When will it get built?

The entire transit system will be completed by 2040, and Sound Transit will complete most projects much sooner. With Proposition 1, Sound Transit will be opening a new station or project every few years. When the Draft Plan was released in March, the resounding feedback from the public was “these projects need to be built faster and open sooner.” Sound Transit listened and worked hard to speed up the timelines by addressing opportunities from financing, planning, and construction and in the final plan they were able to shave off 3-to-5 years from most projects.

How much does it cost?

As a region, the typical taxpayer will invest $14 more per month (or roughly $169 per year), to build out a complete regional transit system that connects the entire region, from Tacoma to Everett, Seattle to Redmond, Ballard to West Seattle, Kirkland to Issaquah, and communities between.17

The commitment from taxpayers is through a progressive motor vehicle excise tax, property tax, and sales tax, which will leverage new federal grants, bonding, fares, and additional sources to invest $53.8 billion (year of expenditure dollars), over 25 years in our region’s future.

Upon completion of the projects and repayment of the bonds, the taxes will be rolled back.

What are the environmental impacts of Sound Transit Proposition 1?

Sound Transit Proposition 1 is the single most important investment to fight climate change on the ballot this year. By voting Yes on Sound Transit Proposition 1, we can protect our air and water quality and fight climate change.

As our region grows, the people choosing transit instead of their cars are helping to reduce green house gas emissions. The number of passengers taking Sound Transit last year put us on pace to save nearly 139,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. This is equal to saving 15.6 million gallons of gas or 113,614 acres of forest.

With the completion of Sound Transit Proposition 1, by 2040 the entire Sound Transit system will save an estimated 793,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.6

Will Sound Transit be a good steward of our tax dollars?

Sound Transit is among the most transparent and accountable agencies in the country. Sound Transit recently received its 22nd clean annual audit, conducted by an independent outside auditor, of how the agency manages and spends federal funds. No material weaknesses were found since these audits began in 1994. Sound Transit consistently completes its complex projects on-time and under-budget.

The two most recent projects are exemplary: the Capitol Hill and UW light rail stations opened in early 2016, six months ahead of schedule and $200 million under budget; and the Angle Lake light rail station opens in mid-September, four years ahead of schedule and $40 million under budget.

It’s no secret that Sound Transit had a rocky start.18. When the agency was first approved by voters in 1996, the agency over committed to projects it would not be able to fully fund.  Since the early 2000’s, under the new leadership of Joni Earl, Sound Transit altered its funding and financial projections and has had a strong track record of delivering projects on time and under budget.

How was Sound Transit Proposition 1 developed?

Sound Transit spent more than 3-1/2 years of discussion leading to the Sound Transit

Board’s final vote on June 23rd, 2016 to send the plan to voters for approval this November.  This process included four rounds of formal public involvement, most recently nearly 40,000 people provided feedback to the plan.


Sources

1 Sound Transit 3 Plan, Appendix D: Social, Economic and Environmental Impacts; Integration with Regional Land Use; Transit-Oriented Development (Page D-4)
2Sound Transit 3 Plan, Appendix D: Social, Economic and Environmental Impacts; Integration with Regional Land Use; Transit-Oriented Development (Page D-2)
3 WSDOT Gray Notebook
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5 Sound Transit 3 Plan, Appendix C – Benefits, Costs, Revenues, Capacity and Reliability (Page C-4)
6 Sound Transit 3 Plan, Appendix D: Social, Economic and Environmental Impacts; Integration with Regional Land Use; Transit-Oriented Development (Page D-6)
7 Bouchard, Mikayla. “Transportation Emerges as Crucial to Escaping Poverty.” New York Times May 7th, 2015
8 Sound Transit 3 Plan, Appendix C – Benefits, Costs, Revenues, Capacity and Reliability (Page C-4)
9 Sound Transit 3 Plan, Appendix C – Benefits, Costs, Revenues, Capacity and Reliability (Page C-4)
10 Sound Transit 3 Plan, Appendix D: Social, Economic and Environmental Impacts; Integration with Regional Land Use; Transit-Oriented Development (Page D-9)
11 WSDOT Financial Plan Expert Review Panel
12 PSRC Population Forecasts
13 Sound Transit 3 Plan, Appendix C – Benefits, Costs, Revenues, Capacity and Reliability (Page C-4)
14 WSDOT Gray Notebook
15 Sound Transit 3 Plan, Appendix D: Social, Economic and Environmental Impacts; Integration with Regional Land Use; Transit-Oriented Development (Page D-6)
16 APTA Public Transportation Benefits
17 Sound Transit 3 Plan, ST3 Funding Factsheet
18 Copeland, Joe. “How Joni Earl saved light rail.” Crosscut October 18, 2015