Don’t defund ST3

EHB 2201, a bill that is currently being considered in the state House, would rejigger the evaluation process for car tabs, and cost Sound Transit about $2 billion.

Although the Legislature has long thought that Sound Transit should be able to absorb the costs, recent developments in the building process suggest that such defunding may delay long planned expansions out to South King and Pierce counties. This is an objectively bad thing to do, since transit-focused development and transit availability is one of the best strategies for fighting climate change and income inequality. Transit means that commuters don’t have to spend hours in traffic, that living without the expense of a car is possible, and that car-related emissions, the highest source of carbon emissions in the state (and increasingly, the U.S.) will decrease dramatically.

If you’ve followed local Auburn politics at all, you might be wondering why you should care. Specifically, the ST3 issue and its costs were used as a club in the mayoral election, and we were consistently reminded that Auburn did not vote for ST3. I think there are strong reasons to favor it.

According to American Community Survey data, seven percent of commuters in Auburn use transit to commute. Transit has also had a revitalizing effect on the downtown, as it provides a central space for communities to gather and create an urban core. Finally, transit makes Auburn attractive to people moving to Washington state. I should know, because I moved to Auburn from New York City, and one of the main reasons was because it had available and easy-to-use transit, and transit to Seattle is an important part of what’s fueling the current population growth in Auburn.

I’m asking you to call your state senators and representatives to keep ST3, or if the car tabs need to be reevaluated, to at least replace the revenue streams. And I’m also writing this to appeal to all the representatives of Auburn in Legislative Districts 31 and 47, but especially to Pat Sullivan, the House Majority Leader: don’t defund Sound Transit.

– Nathan Schumer

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