State Auditor Brian Sonntag will take an independent look at how effectively Sound Transit is keeping its promises to the public, his staff confirmed on Thursday.

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State Auditor Brian Sonntag will take an independent look at how effectively Sound Transit is keeping its promises to the public, his staff confirmed on Thursday.

The performance audit falls under Initiative 900, a Tim Eyman measure voters passed in 2005. A contractor will be chosen this month to conduct the inquiry, and results will be published this summer.

Sonntag has long intended to examine Sound Transit, said spokeswoman Mindy Chambers. He also has received a request to conduct an audit from Mike Ennis, transportation analyst for the conservative Washington Policy Center.

One controversy is over ridership statistics. Sound Transit predicts its light-rail and Sounder commuter trains combined will handle 310,000 rider trips a day by 2030. But the Puget Sound Regional Council predicts 164,400 weekday trips by 2040 despite an anticipated population increase of more than 1 million in the central Puget Sound region.

Current rail use is 38,400 boardings per weekday, but Seattle’s 2-year-old light rail is just a starter line. More riders are expected as the system grows.

Sound Transit spokesman Geoff Patrick says his agency is more than ready to undergo the audit. “Our ridership models have been thoroughly reviewed by the federal government,” he said.

Construction is proceeding on the $1.9 billion light-rail tunnel from Westlake Center to Capitol Hill and the University of Washington, and the transit board has approved a two-mile addition to the line south of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport — both to open in 2016.

The agency has withdrawn its pledge to build Link light rail all the way to Federal Way, a piece of the $18 billion “Sound Transit 2” plan voters passed in 2008. The transit agency blames a 31 percent drop in tax revenue in South King County.

Federal Way Mayor Skip Priest said Thursday he’s glad to hear of the audit. For the roughly $13.5 million a year — primarily from sales tax — flowing from his constituents to regional transit, Priest says, he could add one park or boost police coverage every year instead of paying to not get rail.

Ennis charges that “Sound Transit promises one thing to voters and delivers something very different, once they get the tax authority.”

The audit will also look at whether the agency heeds advice from its Citizen Oversight Panel, and whether projects are being delivered on budget.

Mike Lindblom: 206-515-5631 or mlindblom@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @mikelindblom.