Committee considers Fortunato bill that would let voters cancel projects due to cost overruns

OLYMPIA… Today the Senate Transportation Committee held a public hearing on legislation that would allow voters to affirm or cancel Sound Transit projects that are more than 20 percent over budget after two years.

This is a simple bill that gives the power back to the taxpayer,” said Sen. Phil Fortunato, R-Auburn, who introduced Senate Bill 5892. “Sound Transit already builds a budget with a 20 percent cushion, which means a project would be 40 percent over budget for this law to kick in.”

It was recently reported that the Sound Transit Eastlink project, connecting Seattle and Bellevue, is already $225 million over budget. The project would extend light-rail service across the Interstate-90 floating bridge and is scheduled to be completed in 2023.

“Someone has to look out for the taxpayer,” Fortunato added, “and it certainly is not Sound Transit. We should give the citizens the opportunity to decide if they want to continue to fund an agency that has repeatedly shown it cannot deliver a project on time or on budget.”

SB 5892 joins several other pieces of legislation Fortunato has supported this session to bring accountability to Sound Transit:

  • SB 5001- Requiring the Sound Transit board to be directly elected, not appointed as members are currently.
  • SB 5851- Replaces current vehicle valuation method used by Sound Transit with Kelley Blue Book or National Automobile Dealer Association values.
  • SB 5893 – Prohibits the Department of Licensing from collecting car-tab fees on valuation made using methods other than Kelley Blue Book or the National Automobile Dealers Association.