On what can only be described as a destabilizing, contradictory night, Puget Sound said Yes to ST3 just as the country elected Donald Trump. At the subdued victory party at The Crocodile, Dow Constantine did his best to sieze the moment, successfully rallying the crowd and thanking them for a vote of visionary generational impact. Mayor Murray followed Dow, and he was clearly rattled by Trump’s apparent victory. Speaking to the crowd’s unease at the national results, Murray promised that “we will wake up the same city tomorrow” and that “Seattle will not turn its back on Muslims, immigrants, etc.”
Once the results for ST3 came in, there was little suspense. Pierce County rejected ST3 45%-55% in early returns, Snohomish County approved it 51.5%-48.5%, and King County (East, South, and North subareas combined) approved it 58%-42%. The aggregate tally for the first ballot drop was 55%-45, a lead of over 75,000 votes. ST3 will pass.
— Yonah Freemark (@yfreemark) November 9, 2016
Other transit measures across the country did well too, with Los Angeles Measure M slightly leading in its supermajority-required vote, with 68% in favor. But Trump’s victory cast not only a psychological (existential?) shadow over the evening’s festivities, but also a fiscal one. With a Republican sweep in both houses of Congress accompanying a Trump Presidency, federal funding programs and formulas are likely to change over the next four years, and very likely in a way that favors rural roads over urban transit.
But while the wind was taken out of many of our sails, ST3’s victory has enormous impact for Puget Sound. We now have the authority to build high-capacity transit region wide, and 20 years to fight every step of the way to make ST3 projects more urban, housing more abundant and affordable, and access less vehicular. We look forward to being there every step of the way.