Background & Why I Created this Site


My name is Mark Ahlers and I am a Technical Fellow (scientist/engineer)  for a major 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.

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.

Why I created www.SoundTransitRevealed.com

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 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.

I hope that you will find the information on www.SoundTransitRevealed.com interesting, and that you will consider it when it comes time to vote on the ST3 tax increase in the upcoming November election.

    

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