Demand That Washington State Legislators Hold Sound Transit Accountable

Click here to sign the petition

We, the undersigned and taxpayers in the Puget Sound Region, demand that our Washington State Legislature, the governing body that created Sound Transit (ST) in 1993, hold the Sound Transit agency staff and its Board accountable. We ask the Legislature to:

  1. Pause planning on all ST3 projects.
  2. Conduct an objective cost-benefit analysis of all viable ST3 alternatives.
  3. Require all Sound Transit Board members to be directly elected by voters based on district, and that those elections be publicly funded.

I, the undersigned, ask state lawmakers to take these actions to restore public trust in Sound Transit and to affirm transit and transportation outcomes voters were promised.


Voters passed ST3 in 2016 with an estimated price tag of $50 billion. The cost, which also includes massive overruns for their ST1 and ST2 projects, is now at $148 billion and counting. The car, property and sales taxes are forever taxes.

According to the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC), the federally mandated planning agency for
our region, in 2050, even with full build out of ST3, we will see:

  • Only 3% of all trips taken on Sound Transit trains.
  • A 35% increase in traffic.
  • Only a 6% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from all sources. This number does not take into account the enormous amounts of forever CO2 emissions generated to build light rail. The goal for our Region is an 80% reduction.

These numbers come from the PSRC’s  2050 Transportation Plan.  See below for links to their document.

Our Region needs a realistic and affordable plan to increase ridership, decrease single car drivers and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The federal government, Legislature and the Governor need to hold Sound Transit and PSRC accountable by halting any more ST3 planning, showing voters transit alternatives, and passing legislation to make the ST Board directly elected by district via publicly-funded campaigns.

Please sign the Petition and call your representatives in Olympia at 1-800-562-6000. You can locate your representatives at:

Note: You can choose to keep your name anonymous. Smarter Transit will not be releasing the names of signers or donors.

Smarter Transit is a non-profit organization run by volunteers.Your donation will help us print and distribute material and get our message out. Any amount is appreciated. You can donate by clicking here. 


  2. Calculation based on PSRC data in Table2 and Figure 4 in and Sound Transit ridership by its modes in
  3. PSRC’s 2050 Transportation plan, Appendix H, pg. 24
  4. PSRC’s 2050 Transportation plan, Appendix H, pg. 7

Para nuestros seguidores de habla hispana

Nosotros, los abajo firmantes y los contribuyentes de la región de Puget Sound, exigimos que nuestra Legislatura del Estado de Washington, el organismo rector que creó Sound Transit (ST) en 1993, responsabilice al personal de la agencia Sound Transit y a su Junta. Solicitamos a la Legislatura que:

  • Pausar la planificación en todos los proyectos ST3.
  • Realizar un análisis objetivo de costo-beneficio de todas las alternativas ST3 viables.
  • Requerir que todos los miembros de la Junta de Sound Transit sean elegidos directamente por los votantes según el distrito, y que esas elecciones sean financiadas con fondos públicos.
    Yo, el abajo firmante, pido a los legisladores estatales que tomen estas medidas para restaurar la confianza del público en Sound Transit y afirmar los resultados de tránsito y transporte que se prometieron a los votantes.


Los votantes aprobaron el ST3 en 2016 con un precio estimado de 50 mil millones de dólares. El costo, que también incluye enormes sobrecostos para sus proyectos ST1 y ST2, es ahora de 148 mil millones de dólares y sigue aumentando. Los impuestos sobre el automóvil, la propiedad y las ventas son impuestos para siempre.

Según el Consejo Regional de Puget Sound (PSRC), la agencia de planificación federal para en nuestra región, en 2050, incluso con la construcción completa de ST3, veremos:

  • Sólo el 3% de todos los viajes se realizan en trenes de Sound Transit.
  • Un aumento del 35% en el tráfico.
  • Sólo una reducción del 6% en las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero de todas las fuentes. Esta cifra no tiene en cuenta las enormes cantidades de emisiones permanentes de CO2 generadas para construir el tren ligero. La meta para nuestra Región es una reducción del 80%.

Nuestra Región necesita un plan realista y asequible para aumentar el número de pasajeros, disminuir los conductores de automóviles individuales y reducir las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero. El gobierno federal, la Legislatura y el Gobernador deben responsabilizar a Sound Transit y al PSRC deteniendo cualquier planificación adicional de ST3, mostrando a los votantes alternativas de transporte y aprobando legislación para que la Junta de ST sea elegida directamente por distrito a través de campañas financiadas con fondos públicos.

Firme la Petición y llame a sus representantes en Olympia al 1-800-562-6000. Puede localizar a sus representantes en:

Nota: Puede optar por mantener su nombre en el anonimato. Smarter Transit no publicará los nombres de los firmantes ni de los donantes.

Smarter Transit es una organización sin fines de lucro dirigida por voluntarios. Su donación nos ayudará a imprimir y distribuir material y difundir nuestro mensaje. Se agradece cualquier cantidad.

Puedes donar haciendo clic aquí.

Smarter Transit is an all-volunteer, pro-transit, non-partisan, non-profit citizens’ organization. Our mission is to support and advocate for accountable public transportation governance and investments that grow transit, vanpool, carpool ridership, and safe bike and walking routes throughout the Puget Sound region in the most cost-effective way.

We occasionally post articles and news of interest regarding transit and transportation issues that affect the Puget Sound Region. If there are stories that you think deserve attention, or if you have news or information that you’d like to share, please contact us!

There are better solutions and greater needs

Bus Rapid Transit and Bus Rapid Transit “lite” offer more flexibility than light rail. It carries more people more places.

Ride share programs are very cost effective and use existing infrastructure.

Safe bikeways and walkways are needed in every community.

Maintaining our existing infrastructure should be a priority.

Let’s put our money where it actually moves us forward.

What we want in the region

  • Invest in a high capacity, affordable, rapid bus system that covers the whole region within a few years instead of inflexible, expensive and limited capacity light rail lines that reach a fraction of the region after decades.
  • Finish the HOV system and commit to policies that keep it functioning at 45 mph 90 percent of the time.
  • Realize the extraordinary potential of carpool and vanpool programs.
  • Recognize that new technologies will change the way we get around making it even more critical to have the flexibility to upgrade and change as we need.
  • Maintain our existing roads and bridges and fix the choke points that lead to congestion.
  • Spend money on the simple sidewalk, safe crosswalk and bike path.  These make communities truly livable and walkable.
  • Start with the question, What’s the problem we’re trying to solve? Identify real goals and performance measures and allow objective analysis of the alternatives.
  • Put directly elected people in charge instead of unelected boards who have no accountability and often a conflict of interest.

What is Bus Rapid Transit?

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is not buses as you know them. BRT treats buses like subways but with more flexibility. BRT buses always have right of way: they don’t stop at red lights or get stuck in congestion. Loading is also much faster because riders pay before they board, stations are raised to be level with the bus floor, and buses have more and wider doors. One lane can facilitate 300 buses per hour. Light Rail can only handle 10 trains per hour and can never have more than 4 cars per train.

King County Metro’s Rapid Ride is not BRT – think of bus service on a continuum from classic slow city bus to “rail on rubber tires.” This description of BRT (bus rapid transit) contains all the elements of an ideal system. But, many things can be done to improve the speed of the buses through a corridor. KIng County Metro’s Rapid Ride is really just higher frequency – more should be done to actually make it “rapid.”

Read the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy’s “What is BRT?” for a fuller picture.

Even the former FTA Administrator advocated for expanding Bus Rapid Transit type service over expensive rail …at one time.

“Riders often want rail – but you can entice diehard rail riders onto a “special” bus, sometimes by just painting the bus a different color than the rest of the fleet. Busways are cheap. You can get a designated lane just by painting it. And with signal preemption, you can move a lot of people at very little cost compared to rail.”

– Peter Rogoff in 2010 as head of Federal Transit Administration

In November, 2015, Peter Rogoff took over as CEO of Sound Transit and is now “excited by big light rail expansion plans.”

The Source: Federal Transit Administration chief: ‘Paint is cheap, rails systems are extremely expensive’.

Read the Seattle Times article on Peter Rogoff.

Get involved

Contact your appointed and elected officials: Puget Sound Regional Council, Sound Transit Board and Washington State Legislature.

Volunteer: Smarter Transit is a non-profit organization run by all volunteers. We need help with research, writing, speaking, networking.

Share what you’ve learned with friends and on social media.

Contact Maggie Fimia or John Niles: Here

Learn more

Sound Transit Revealed Get into the numbers of light rail, BRT and SoundTransit.

Transportation Matters A blog about rails, cities and politics in the Pacific Northwest.

Key Performance Measures Our report on what the data shows for transit 2040.

Here is a summary of the Sound Transit Contracts See who contracts with Sound Transit and also how many staff they hire 

All Sound Transit contracts over $100,000 since 2007 by category

Original list of contracts from Sound Transit

Modeling has shown for decades that fixed light rail lines do not dictate where the great majority of people decide to live. It’s confirmed again in this recent study

Does Light Rail Really Encourage People to Stop Driving? No, but it does pull them off buses, if a new study of British systems is any indicator.

Have Light Rail Systems Been Worth the Investment?

Expedia moves to Seattle – An example of how businesses go where they want to go, not where the “Plans” tell them to go.
Expedia Moves to Seattle

84% of Portland’s regional trips still by car
Despite bike and transit gains, 84 percent of Portland region’s trips still by car: Metro study

Transit Riders Union concerned about a two class transit system

Hawaii struggles to keep rail project from becoming a boondoggle

Billions Spent but fewer people using public transportation in Southern California

Sound Transit Revealed: More detail about light rail and bus rapid transit

Transportation Matters – Troy Serad has a passion for transit, especially trains that make sense, does not own a car, but the most important thing is that, like Mark Ahlers, his information is based on facts and careful research.  His background is in urban planning, rail planning, accounting and cartography.

What is Bus Rapid Transit – BRT?

Great website that works with cities around the world on transportation issues including Bus Rapid Transit.

Bus Rapid Transit Institute – National data and info

CETA Archives, Coalition for Effective Transportation Alternatives
</a><a href=””></a>

Here is the link to Sound Transit 2016 Budget. Pages 15 & 22 summarizes the amount of department budgets and staff.

Contact your local elected officials:

Find Your Legislator:

About Face by Sound Transit CEO

2014 PSRC Regional Growth Centers – Where does growth really go in our Region?