With the election fast approaching and ST3 on the ballot, it would be nice to see a local analysis of the ST3 initiative as it applies to Southeast King County residents, particularly East Hill, but the entire Kent/Auburn/Maple Valley area would be sufficient.
The city of Kent is now the sixth largest city in the state surpassing the cities of Everett, Renton and Federal Way with the vast majority of those residents living east of the State Route 167 corridor. The Sound Transit proposal continues to regionalize the benefits of ST3 as the Federal Way/Kent/Renton region, but the reality is that transit solutions proposed are only effective for residents west of 167 – and particular, the I-5 corridor.
The ST3 proposal, from my analysis, seems to largely ignore residents east of 167. Based on ST3 own cost calculator, ST3 would cost my family nearly $700 a year. Why should residents in Southeast King County vote yes on ST3? From my personal analysis, I can’t see any reason we should, and I don’t think I have ever voted against a transit initiative in previous elections.
If my analysis is accurate, why does Sound Transit continue to use the Federal Way/Kent/Renton as a single region in its planning? They really need to divide the region more appropriately into an east and west component to properly represent its population. Given that most of the population growth in the region is now east of 167, this will be become even more critical going forward. When you consider ST3 is Sound Transits vision for the next quarter century, the plan becomes shocking inept for our region.
And finally, the most critical piece here is the fact that the state’s sixth largest government continues to roll over and play dead on the issue. The city of Kent needs to learn to use its newfound power as a major player, shaping the Puget Sound’s – and to a lesser extent, the state’s – long-term vision.
– Arin Strom