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Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Something for Everyone to Hate

Posted by on March 7 at 12:24 PM

State Sen. Bill Finkbeiner (R-Woodinville) has proposed an amendment to this year’s Regional Transportation Investment District legislation that both road warriors and environmentalists regard as a poison pill. The amendment would make Sound Transit (i.e., light rail) and RTID (i.e., roads) codependent: If either failed, both would fail. “There are folks who are all for transit and against roads, and there are folks who are all for roads and against transit,” Finkbeiner explains, “and I just think it’s a poor way to operate to only do one or the other.” If Sound Transit and RTID aren’t linked together, Finkbeiner says, “the environmentalists are going to come out against RTID,” causing it to fail in Seattle. At the same time, Finkbeiner says, “a lot of people on the east side of [Lake Washington] wouldn’t support Sound Transit if it was free.

He’s right, of course: environmentalists like the Transportation Choices Coalition, Washington Conservation Voters, and FutureWise oppose RTID because it doesn’t fund transit operations, relies heavily on regressive sales tax, and forces Sound Transit onto the same ballot as RTID. They see RTID as an albatross that will drag Sound Transit down, sinking both proposals. Roads supporters like former state Sen.-turned-roads-lobbyist Jim Horn, meanwhile, view Sound Transit as a waste of money that could be better spent on roads, and see Sound Transit as an albatross that will drag RTID down… sinking both proposals.

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Look, I'm all for transit. But maybe Sound Transit just isn't up to it. Light rail was supposed to be operational this year from the U-District to Seatac Airport, and folks, we're not even close.

After last year's no vote on monorail, and yes vote on the gas tax increase, I'd say the pendulum may have swung back where people are willing to pay for regional roads. Let RTID go it alone on the ballot in 2007. The Transportation Choices Coalition, Washington Conservation Voters, and FutureWise groups should not oppose that because the money would be going to existing roads (not roads into forests or something). Then Sound Transit could go to the ballot for Phase II in 2008. We'll know then what phase I cost, and if we like the ST vision of transit. We may not. Combining the two makes zero sense.

Yes Phil - we are close. Have you seen all the construction blazing along? After some really bad shit going down a few years back Sound Transit Northlink Project is now the highest rated transit project in the country. Sound Transit is jamming and now is the chance for the next phase of regional transit which includes all 3 lines of busness (Light Rail, Sounder and express buses). One of the only projects (out of hundreds) not yet completed is Central Link. ST has their issues around this project, they worked them out, let's move on. This agency has their shit together now and we NEED to get moving on thenext phase of regional transit in the tri-county.

"Sound Transit is jamming and "
"This agency has their shit together now and "

Well that is a glowing report -- all that jamming, together shit and stuff.

Do you have any idea what Sound Transit expects it will have spent in total by the time light rail starts operating? Also, there will remain big debt to pay off at that point -- what will that amount be (in year of expenditure dollars, present value, please)?

Those spendy monkeys in Union Station can't seem to be able to talk about what the actual costs of Phase One are. Doesn't it make some sense to nail that down before talking about Phase 2?

I know, talking about what the costs are is not jamming and together shit, but it is important.

Didn't Sound Transit recently get caught falsifying test and engineering data for a light rail segment across Lake Washington?

I seem to remember something to that effect, however for some reason it went under the media radar.


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