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What is Sound Transit?

Sound Transit is one of multiple transit agencies taxing citizens in King, Pierce and Snohomish County in Western Washington, the home of Seattle.

Sound Transit collects money from taxpayers to build and run light rail, and then pays other transit agencies to run commuter (express) buses and commuter trains. Most of the money Sound Transit collects is devoted to light rail construction, the focus of www.SoundTransitRevealed.com.

Why I Created this Website ?

While preparing to a attend a taping of a Town Hall on Puget Sound traffic congestion I was searching the Sound Transit website for information on their latest ST3 request for $15 billion (which has since increased to $35 billion in 2014$) to support further Light Rail spending I came across the following statement; Sound Transit is the agency responsible for between county transportation in Pierce, King, and Snohomish Counties.

"Sound Transit continues to build a track record of delivering major capitol projects on schedule under budget."

Being a mass transit enthusiast, I knew that the initial light rail construction Seattle voters approved had doubled in cost and still wasn't finished 10 years after the promised 2006 completion date. This deception and difficulties I faced locating basic cost benefit data convinced me that Puget Sound voters needed easy to understand information regarding Sound Transit spending and alternatives.

Since I love riding, researching, and talking about the performance of public transit systems, creating a facts and data based website devoted to revealing Sound Transit Light Rail performance seemed like an ideal way to serve my community.

Who Am I?

My name is Mark Ahlers and I am a retired Technical Fellow (scientist/engineer) for the Boeing company and a transit researcher and fact checker for smartertransit.org.

Growing up across the street from the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and Northwestern Commuter Rail train tracks I developed a love of trains at an early age. My family lacked a car so I learned the value an efficient public transportation system and what matters to the riding public. I also suffered car sickness so I hated cars from a young age.

Early in my university career I considered focusing on transportation engineering, having been inspired by the San Diego trolley. Cost driven city leaders were building their light rail system at less then 1/10th the cost of a heavy rail system at the time, (using an abandoned freight rail line), which initiated a light rail building boom.

While I never became a transportation planner, my interest in public transportation remains. I've tracked the public transit industry for the past 30 years and even traveled worldwide to experience the operations of award winning public transit systems.

Contact Me

If you have any comments or suggestions feel free to contact me at: