As leaders in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, we represent 3.5 million people. And we share an interest in making sure that all of those people, and a million more to come, can get where they need to go. With Proposition 1, we have the plan. Now we need your vote.
WE hear it all the time: Somebody’s got to do something about traffic. Gridlock is stealing time from our families and money from our pocketbooks. And with each new person — about 236 every day — congestion on our roads and highways gets worse and worse.
For more than three years, commuters, community members and transportation experts participated in an intense conversation about how to move the greatest number of people — especially with increased backups on roads and highways.
And we have the solution: Proposition 1.
Proposition 1 would add 62 new miles of light rail with 37 new stations, completing a network that would span 116 miles.
And by expanding Sounder commuter rail, Proposition 1 would allow for 40 percent more passengers to travel from Lakewood, Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner, Auburn, Kent and Tukwila.
Proposition 1 would create bus rapid transit on Interstate 405 and Highway 522, add express buses and improve parking, bicycle and pedestrian access to stations.
This is the comprehensive system our region has needed for 40 years. And light rail is key because it carries more people, more reliably. When completed, Proposition 1 would connect Everett, Tacoma, Ballard, West Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland and Issaquah. Twenty hours of service each day, with a train every three to six minutes at peak times.
We know our transportation future includes cars, buses, car-shares and autonomous vehicles. But nothing — not new highway lanes, not self-driving cars — can move the number of people, nor move them as reliably, as light rail.
Proposition 1 wouldn’t make our highways traffic-free. With a million more of us living here over the next three decades, nothing will.
But Proposition 1 would give you options to avoid getting stuck. Just ask the 100,000-plus riders who took light rail on Sept. 30 to the Huskies’ or Mariners’ games. No panicky apprehension about missing kickoff or the first pitch. No circling the neighborhood in search of parking. No staring at brake lights all the way home.
Have you seen the faces of the tens of thousands more people who are leaving the car at home since light rail opened to Capitol Hill and at the University of Washington? Relaxed. Free from the stress of fighting traffic. Free from the worry of being late to work or late getting home to the kids or grandkids.
And light rail does more than change commutes. It provides access to jobs and education. It encourages new investments in housing so people can live in vibrant neighborhoods linked by transit. It creates family-wage jobs. It provides an alternative to the automobile, our region’s single largest source of climate pollution. It improves our quality of life.
The cost of Proposition 1 is $53.8 billion in year-of-expenditure dollars. It would increase the sales tax by 0.5 percent, license tabs by 0.8 percent and property tax by 25 cents for each $1,000 of assessed value.
For the average adult, that’s $14 per month. (You can find the Sound Transit calculator here.)
Opponents say the investments aren’t worth it. They throw around a lot of numbers and then claim the measure doesn’t pencil out.
But remember, these folks always say, “Not this time, not this plan.”
It’s true. Sometimes light rail or express bus isn’t right for a trip to the dry cleaner or day care. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need it. High-capacity systems are intended to move the most people quickly and predictably, especially at rush hour, to key destinations, including job centers like Costco, Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing.
So it’s no surprise that those companies and many others support Proposition 1, along with environmental, labor and community groups. City councils including Bellevue’s, Issaquah’s, Redmond’s, Shoreline’s, Auburn’s, Tukwila’s, Kenmore’s and Tacoma’s have endorsed Proposition 1. This measure truly represents our entire region coming together around a common option to avoid gridlock and a stifled economy.
Proposition 1 is an investment in our future. The benefits would begin as soon as the service expands and would continue long past the system’s completion.
A Citizen Oversight Panel, our local elected officials and state, federal and private-sector auditors would oversee construction and operations.
As leaders in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, we represent 3.5 million people. And we share an interest in making sure that all of those people, and a million more to come, can get where they need to go.
With Proposition 1, we have the plan. We have the capability. All we need is your vote.