This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.

As if reading our mind, the Times’ Mike Lindblom starts using finance charges in an article about ST2:

The ballot measure, to become final in May, calls for $23 billion in transit extensions and $14 billion in highway projects through 2028 and additional bond payments for years afterward. Omitting finance costs and inflation, the transit spending totals $10 billion, the road plan $9 billion.

Lindblom has been alternately using the higher number and not using it.

Elsewhere at the Times, they never use finance charges. For example, when referring to median housing price in King County, Times reporters don’t include financing charges. They list the median housing price as $434,000, though a home that sells for that much could easily cost the buyer almost $900,000 with a traditional 30-year mortgage.

It’s a fine line, and I imagine journalists take it from both sides no matter what they do. Of course you want to give people all the information they need to make a decision, but numbers can easily be manipulated to make something sound better (or worse) than it actually is.

To reiterate, Sound Transit has a very good bond rating and therefor is able to borrow money at a very competitive rate. This contrasts with the defunct Seattle Monorail Project, which, for various reasons, would have spent $11B on a $2B project.