Sound Transit officials carefully select information for children's train exhibit

January 9, 2014

Two years ago, WPC’s Center for Transportation found that Sound Transit officials planned to groom kids as young as five years old to favor, and someday vote for, buses and trains. Sound Transit officials had sought contracts with consultants that had “relevant experience in the K-12 education environment to assist…in shaping an initiative to support and encourage educators to incorporate transit-related topics in student learning.”

News outlets picked up the story:

Today, Sound Transit officials are using some of the tax money they collect from Puget Sound residents to pay for a special exhibit at the Seattle Children’s Museum to influence children.

The planned Sound Transit Station exhibit features a mock light rail train and toy Sound Transit trains for kids to maneuver through the Puget Sound Region. Even Zap Gridlock, the traffic busting superhero mascot, will be on hand for the opening.

King County Executive Dow Constantine, the new Sound Transit Board Chair, says the exhibit will help promote market share and grow his agency’s budget:

“...will help inspire the next generation to ride and, we hope, continue to expand Sound Transit’s light rail network.”

In planning the exhibit, Sound Transit officials carefully omitted information that would embarrass the agency and threaten its standing with future voters.  For example, the Children’s Museum Exhibit will not include the following:

  • Sound Transit’s light rail system is shorter, billions over budget, and more than a decade late from what was promised in 1996.
  • Sound Transit officials promised a light rail system that would carry 107,000 people per weekday by 2010. Today, light rail carries about 31,650 people per weekday.
  • Sound Transit projects light rail will only carry about 1% of all daily trips by 2030.