With post-Great Recession sales tax revenues coming in far below projections, the once promised light-rail extension south to 272nd Street in Federal Way is now unlikely to happen anytime soon. And by "soon," I mean in the next few decades.
And if commuters down in South King County are pissed off at this news, they should thank Rob McKenna and the "sub-area equity" provision he foisted on Sound Transit in his efforts to muck up the works.
Last year, Sound Transit officials learned the recession and slow economic recovery had drained $3.9 billion from the agency's 15-year financial plan. South King County has been slowest to recover, with tax revenue having dropped 30 percent.
Sound Transit's policy of sub-area equity assures that taxes imposed on one subarea, like south King County, support projects and operations that directly benefit that area.
"The subarea equity policy where we divide taxing districts into subareas and then have to invest the revenues raised in that area is a terrible way to build a regional system," Patterson said. "Because essentially what happens is what you're seeing here — the poorer areas, and the socially and economically challenged areas end up not connected to regional transit."
Of course, that's not how "sub-area equity" was originally billed. No, McKenna and other backers pushed it as a way to protect the rest of the Sound Transit taxing district from evil/greedy Seattle, which otherwise would have presumably sucked in all their tax dollars to build transit here. How's that working out for you, Federal Way? Be sure to appropriately thank Mr. McKenna for his head-up-ass transit balkanization policy when he runs for governor in 2012.