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1

Sounds like they are why it does make sense. It forces compromise.

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | March 19, 2007 1:15 PM
2

We need this bill: I have seen time and again decisions made and action taken not just in Washington State as a whole, but even in King County. Why, sometimes even in Seattle. It makes my head spin.

It happens because there are still a few lingering, unreformed government agencies not subject to a veto from every possible side of an issue.

By ensuring there is nobody without veto power on every potential decision, we can stamp out these last remaining outposts of decisiveness and protect our children and grandchildren from the shock of seeing our government do things.

Bravo, I say. Bravo.

Posted by elenchos | March 19, 2007 1:19 PM
3


Sound Transit’s professionals are planning alternatives to the SOV commute. By 2009 we'll have light rail service to SeaTac - just like the voters were promised. None of the taxes have been raised. With a few exceptions, projects are coming in on time and under budget. The former administration’s problems are over, and the new administration is recognized for excellence. The legislators should not remove local control from the elected leaders on the agency’s board. We can build on the region’s mass transit successes with ST2!

Posted by we_need_real_transit | March 19, 2007 1:30 PM
4

I have not read the bill, and I cannot comment on its contents outside of what has been written here.

I will agree with Murray that one super agency made up of district representatives each with veto power makes far better sense than our current multiagencied composition who are all competing for funds and political power..Sound Transit, who Josh just reported, is behaving in a way that demonstrates this problem.

I'd like to read the contents of the bill, but this is an idea I can support.

--- Jensen


Posted by Jensen Interceptor | March 19, 2007 1:52 PM
5

Wtf, everyone gets a veto? Yeah, the League of Nations is obviously the model to follow. That worked out so well for getting stuff done.

Posted by gfish | March 19, 2007 2:02 PM
6

I'm not sure about the specifics of Murray's bill, but some kind of uber agency is exactly what was recommended by the Governor's review committee. I happen to agree with that recommendation but would like to discuss the "articles" of representation.

For instance, in Murray's bill there would be elected representatives from each of the various districts as well as one appointed from each district. I'd like to hear more on the make-up of this council and how the "electeds" get there. Basically, I'd like more citizen representation but this sounds like whoever ran would basically be running for a county-wide seat. How easy is that to do?

Posted by chas Redmond | March 19, 2007 2:11 PM
7

Mmmm... an elected transportation board... just like in Denver. ECB loved their efforts with regards to transportation... just check out this piece:

http://thestranger.com/blog/2006/12/dispatch_from_denver

That board in Denver is an ELECTED regional transportation board. They're building piles of light rail according to ECB, and I might as well quote her directly:

"Here, in a city pretty much no one would regard as cutting-edge (the girls are still wearing tube-tops; the guys still favor large wire-framed Dick Cheney glasses), light rail has managed to take thousands of cars off the road. Surveys found that nearly 50% of light rail riders switched to transit from cars, and that more than 25% of commuters to the city center get there by transit. Light rail ridership here has been 60 percent higher than projections."

So putting my old college logic class to work Josh, if it's worked there and other places, why not here? Where's The Stranger's consistency on this part of the issue? Good for Denver, bad for Seattle? Tearing down the viaduct is perfect everywhere else but here... but when it comes to integrated transportation planning that works elsewhere, we go our own way? A bit strange.

I'm with Murray on this one.

Posted by Dave Coffman | March 19, 2007 3:26 PM
8


This is from the same cabal in the legislature that created the Monorail Authority. That’s the kind of "accountable government" you get with an elected board.

Anybody who follows these issues knows THE LEGISLATURE IS THE PROBLEM. They have no idea what they're doing. The Senate Transportation chair is a hair dresser by trade. Ed Murray, who proposed this wacky governance reform bill - he’s also the guy who created the monorail authority. These people are paid $35k per year - and it shows.

Governance 'reform' is being proposed and supported by people who are trying to kill light rail - plain and simple. It's their last ditch effort, since all other scheming has failed.

Posted by Buzz | March 19, 2007 3:51 PM
9

Dave Coffman:

Denver puts road and transit improvements on the ballot separately. Our RTC would not. Our current RTID/ST model is closer to the Denver RTC's model, just with different people making each decision.

Elected? Six of the fourteen RTC members would be appointed. Remember, Sound Transit's board is made up mostly of directly elected officials.

Posted by Ben Schiendelman | March 19, 2007 4:15 PM
10

The only members of ST remotely directly elected are the county execs. Ron Sims appoints the majority of the ST board. Board members can be voted out of office but Ron in King County decides who replaces them.

The legislature didn't create the monorail authority. It was created by a vote of the people of Seattle. The RTA was created in the same way but the vote was by most of three counties.

ST will be at least 10 years late in delivering the first voted on segment and will be about 200 to 250% over budget.

Posted by Sherwin | March 19, 2007 4:57 PM
11

I support regionalization in principle, but this bill is exactly the sort of half-assed solution that moves us in the wrong direction.

A regional transportation agency needs to have authority over land use planning, or have a regional counterpart with that authority, ala TriMet and Metro in Oregon. I don't see PSRC exerting much authority over anyone. Without this link, transportation planning is perpetually in the back seat to poorly planned development.

Further, this bill does nothing to address integrating transit agencies. Part of the reason Denver is successful is that one agency operates all regional transit services. At the very least, we should be looking towards integrating KCMETRO and ST. Not to mention Everett Transit and CT. This will never happen without direction from Olympia, since the obvious redundancies are the agency executives.

If those goals were part of the mandate of this new board, I would support it even though I am suspicious the districts will overrepresent exurban areas.

Posted by Some Jerk | March 19, 2007 4:59 PM
12

Dave Coffman called out @42 and 43 on ECB's Friday post here:

http://www.thestranger.com/blog/2007/03/connellys_latest_blather

Posted by Buzzed | March 19, 2007 5:00 PM
13

I've been a supporter of Sound Move and Sound Transit since 1995, even through the darks in 2000 and 2001. But, I think ST is just fighting this bill to guard its turf, which is also why they're all about the joint RTID/ST2 ballot these days. That joint ballot is a disaster in the making. It's loaded up with crappy road projects like cross-base highway and the all other lard while failing to fully fund broken infrastructure like 520. This along with a sizable license tab and .1% sales tax for roads, on top of the .5% for ST2, the voters are going to send this thing down in flames in November.

We need to come out that failure with a new paradigm that brings accountability to transportation decision-making, takes it away from Olympia and brings it closer to the Puget Sound voters who overwhelmingly support high capacity transit over roads as the way to build new capacity. That's what Ed Murray is trying to do with his bill, although that bill certainly needs some fixes, including the League of Nations-style consensus requirement.

BTW, the Denver analogy is an apt one. I think it was in 2000 when their agency had to tie in a lot of highway expansion to get voter approval to expand light rail. But, in 2004, they went to voters with a package that was exclusively transit. Lots of transit - six new light rail and commuter rail lines (119 miles of it!!!), plus lots of new bus service. Our voters are where Denver's were in 2004 (not 2000), but the powers that be under the existing paradigm are holding us back.

Posted by Bill LaBorde | March 19, 2007 5:05 PM
14

I've been a supporter of Sound Move and Sound Transit since 1995, even through the darks in 2000 and 2001. But, I think ST is just fighting this bill to guard its turf, which is also why they're all about the joint RTID/ST2 ballot these days. That joint ballot is a disaster in the making. It's loaded up with crappy road projects like cross-base highway and the all other lard while failing to fully fund broken infrastructure like 520. This along with a sizable license tab and .1% sales tax for roads, on top of the .5% for ST2, the voters are going to send this thing down in flames in November.

We need to come out that failure with a new paradigm that brings accountability to transportation decision-making, takes it away from Olympia and brings it closer to the Puget Sound voters who overwhelmingly support high capacity transit over roads as the way to build new capacity. That's what Ed Murray is trying to do with his bill, although that bill certainly needs some fixes, including the League of Nations-style consensus requirement.

BTW, the Denver analogy is an apt one. I think it was in 2000 when their agency had to tie in a lot of highway expansion to get voter approval to expand light rail. But, in 2004, they went to voters with a package that was exclusively transit. Lots of transit - six new light rail and commuter rail lines (119 miles of it!!!), plus lots of new bus service. It passed overwhelmingly. Our voters are where Denver's were in 2004 (not 2000), but the powers that be under the existing paradigm are holding us back.

Posted by Bill LaBorde | March 19, 2007 5:05 PM
15

"ST will be at least 10 years late in delivering the first voted on segment and will be about 200 to 250% over budget. "

Fascinating how sour grape-eating monorail die-hards are still able to distort other agencies' facts and figures the same way they distorted their own project's figures years ago.

Time to move on, friend.

Posted by Buzzed | March 19, 2007 5:12 PM
16

In a perfect world a super agency would make sense.

But we don't live in a perfect world.

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 19, 2007 5:20 PM
17

As bad as the SMP did, they did deliver a $1.61B fixed price contract for a 14 mile system - they didn't face up to the revenue shortage and the solution of a 40-50 year finance plan was not well conceived. Had the financing been provided for, there wouldn't been an issue.

The current best guess for ST Link is somewhere near a $5B cost for a $1.67B voted on budget - and that doesn't count finance or operating costs. If stating facts are sour grapes so be it, Buzz.


Posted by Sherwin | March 19, 2007 5:36 PM
18

"That joint ballot is a disaster in the making. It's loaded up with crappy road projects like cross-base highway and the all other lard while failing to fully fund broken infrastructure like 520."

Bill: first off, the two legislators behind your goverance "reform" effort were also the same two legislators who tied those "crappy roads projects" to the transit package, and prevented a transit-only measure from going to the ballot last year. Tell us why we're supposed to follow their "vision" now.

Second, 520 is also viewed as a "crappy road project" by many greens who oppose any expansion because of the huge environmental impacts. Do you just pick and choose which road projects are good, and which ones are "crappy," Bill LaBorde?

You should also know that Pierce voters (or a Pierce Regional Transportation Commissioner with veto power, for that matter) will not send their tax dollars into King County to pay for 520. Why is the Cross-Base highway on the regional roads project list? Because Pierce voters WANT THE PROJECT BUILT. See how that works?

Pierce and Snohomish voters also don't tend to take much advice from Seattle greens. Just wait until anti-transit Kitsap County is thrown into the mix. Should do wonders for making this big plan of yours work, Bill.

And how will several years of re-arranging the furniture get light rail built any faster?

John Stanton doesn't want light rail on I-90. Joel Connelly doesn't want light rail anywhere. Both want to shift money from transit to roads. How is it that a green like Bill LaBorde would be cheerleading this effort?

Bill: are you representing your organization (WashPIRG) or just yourself on this issue?

Posted by Buzzed | March 19, 2007 5:38 PM
19

Don't believe me about Cross-Base highway Seattle greens have seized upon? I didn't believe it myself. But then I saw the polling:

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/accountability/PublicOpinion/Documents/SurveyAugust2006.pdf

Scroll down to question #68. I see 80-20 support for the "hated" cross-base highway in Pierce County.

Part of compromise is understanding we live in a diverse region, with diverse needs. While I subscribe to the Seattle approach to transportation and land use, I also realize others may have a different perspective. Which is why the guy living in Lakewood might just vote for light rail, even though he hates light rail, because he sees a vital local project right there on the project list. That guy is not going to vote that way if there's some green running some non-profit in Seattle who's telling him HIS project is the problem, and he won't be seeing it on some project list he's being asked to pay for.

In many ways the voters are way ahead of the politicians on this. Politicians have come up with yet another "solution" by giving outlying areas veto power on this new transportation board, thus holding any other member's regionally significant or environmentally sound project hostage for their own pet project, no matter how bad or unpopular that pet project might be.

And in the end, the legislature will still be able to meddle with whatever project list the regional body comes up with: if one legislator is mad about a billion dollar light rail station which isn't going to be built their district, or another wants to shift money from one highway project to another - those legislators will still be able to over-ride this regional body which is now being crafted to over-ride local and regional decision-making. Try saying that in one breath!

Posted by Buzzed | March 19, 2007 6:11 PM
20

"This along with a sizable license tab and .1% sales tax for roads, on top of the .5% for ST2, the voters are going to send this thing down in flames in November. "

Yeah, those wishing to grind their own axes in 2005 said the same thing about I-912 passing. The figure they kept tossing around was 70% support for the roll-back. In fact, Joel Connelly was one of those people. It's called a self-fulfilling prophecy, and it's a proven tactic used by sophists on the right all the time.

So this new regional agency will have a full 1% sales tax authority for roads, and you say .1% is too much? How do you come up with that conclusion?

And Bill, how do you figure your pet peeve roads projects in Pierce County are just going to go away, when the majority of the new transportation commissioners (bought and paid for by business and special interests, not grassroots dreamers sitting in their non-profit offices) will be representing districts carefully drawn to marginalize Seattle greens as possible?

Tell us how that works.

Posted by Buzzed | March 19, 2007 6:28 PM
21

BUZZED Wrote:
"Fascinating how sour grape-eating monorail die-hards are still able to distort other agencies'..."

Really? Sound Transit isn't 10 years behind and $1.4 Billion Dollars over budget? Buzzed, please do me and the rest of us a favor and confirm this
is not the case. While you are at it, will you also inform us which individuals were Sound Transist board members who allowed this to occur? In particular, those in charge of finance?

Lastly, please confirm to us what it will be the total cost to the taxpayers to have Sound Transit complete its planned buildout of it Phase 1, or should I say, Phase 1A.

Thanks, Buzzed. You're a real pal!

---Jensen

Posted by Jensen Interceptor | March 19, 2007 8:23 PM
22

Jensen. Do you want light rail to Northgate, the airport, Bellevue and beyond or not? Most people in this region do. If you agree, can you propose a cheaper, faster way to build it?

If you can, I will give you Joni Earl's direct line. Just let me know ok.

And Bill, stop being Ed Murray's cheerleader dressed in green. Think for yourself or at least for your organization.

Rob McKenna couldn't have written a worse bill for the environmental/transit community. That is why his hacks who used to staff him on transportation issues at the county are laughing at Ed Murray and greenies like you right now.

Posted by Steve | March 19, 2007 8:40 PM
23

Since Ron will appoint one and Seattle will elect 1/3 of the King County reps and each will have a veto what's the problem?

Why are Sound Transit fans afraid of any meaningful oversight?

Posted by Sherwin | March 19, 2007 9:00 PM
24

I don't know why all these transit discussions always end up being about monorail or its disgruntled supporters, but I can't help but jump in here.

Sound transit passed in 1996. It was a ten year plan. Light rail is scheduled to open in 2009, two years after the ten year plan was to be completed. We can thank the abovementioned monorail supporters who involved themselves in multiple lawsuits to slow down and stop the project, who teamed up with anti-transit forces *Rob McKenna* to stop the federal grant from coming through, also delaying the project. And should I mention Sherwin's "deal with the Devil" *Tim Eyman* in the attempt cut off funding via statewide initiative 776? The last 3 miles to the UW is awaiting final federal approval, but organized opposition *including monorail boosters* persists.

Depending on which rail opponent you speak with, light rail could be $1.4 billion over budget, or $15 billion over budget. They never cite their sources, so it's difficult to discover where they come up with their numbers. Year of expenditure, or year of approval? Finance costs included, or not? Who knows? One thing is certain: delay sure does drive the numbers up, which is why light rail opponents in every city use delay and doubt as their primary weapons of choice.

All water under the bridge, now. Am I right, people???

I can see both sides of the governance debate, but I'm a bit worried about the progressives who are supposedly representing the pro-transit side.

Witness Bill Labord.

*We need to come out that failure with a new paradigm that brings accountability to transportation decision-making, takes it away from Olympia and brings it closer to the Puget Sound voters*

Bill doesn't seem to know what's included in the bill he's supporting. In its report, the PSRTC commission recommended removing the legislature from the funding and priorities game. Surprise! The legislature didn't include that provision in the Senate bill! I can't imagine why that is!? Anybody hazzard a guess?

Buzzed is right. This bill does nothing to take the legislature out of the debate. It could have, but when was the last time you heard about a group of power-hungry legislators hand control over to a local or regional body? The last three decades are littered with examples proving the opposite to be true, from gun control to transportation.

I'm hoping those progressives who think this legislation will actually help *rather than hinder* transit options are a lot better informed than Mr. Labord. From what I read, the opponents of transit are loaded for bear this time, and see this is the opportunity of a lifetime to set us in reverse yet one more time.

It seems odd to me that the most Democratic legislature in a generation would take this route, but after watching all the fake progressives try to ram another elevated freeway down our throats, I am convinced liberals love their cars and their freeways just as much as the next suburban Repbublican. At least the Republicans are honest about it.

Posted by NateDog | March 19, 2007 9:01 PM
25

You who say ST is over budget are woefully ignorant. No evidence supports those accusations. And there’s NO evidence of that that anybody here has linked to.

ST’s budgets are audited EVERY YEAR. The State Auditor’s Office has been providing clean-as-a-whistle annual reports. The Citizens Oversight Panel has given nothing but praise to the agency recently. Nothing KPMG’s annual audits show gives the slightest hint of any impropriety. So all you casting aspersions about ST not doing EXACTLY what it promised need to confront reality. No budgets have been exceeded. There is no ripoff of any public money.

How about some FACTS (that means you, Peter Sherwin!). Identify one project that has put Central Link over its total budget. Yeah, I didn’t think you could.

If there was some rip-off going on we'd know. There are all kinds of SOV-fetishists who are out to kill light rail.

ST is on the right track. All we need is to stop with the internicene bickering.

Posted by Will R. | March 19, 2007 9:05 PM
26


STEVE Wrote:
"If you agree, can you propose a cheaper, faster way to build it?"

Steve, you missed the point or don't want to address it.

Steve, if ten years behind schedule,
$1.2 billion plus and in cost overruns and an unknown cost of completion is is a requirement for building Phase One, I would say it hasn't been worth it considering the additional limitations and setbacks in service and delivery to 1st Hill, etc. The voters would have rejected the project outright if they had originally understood that it would have cost as
much as it has to date.

I never supported Sound Transit from the beginning Steve, because the taxing
authority was open ended. The idea wasn't bad, but the agency is allowed to collect taxes for the project until its publically unelected board decides the project is completed. Perhaps that doesn't mean much to you Steve. Perhaps you only care about the project and don't give a shit about accountablity.

But Steve, you begged my intial question to Buzzed. Perhaps the better question is to ask you what you are going to do to hold those responsible for the masssive cost overruns and exceptionally poor management of the project. I think nothing, because Steve, I suspect you don't care about accountability.

Steve, what you and others don't understand is that Sound Transit management started with the easiest sections to build. Thet can't inform us what the cost will be to complete the project because they have no idea. The hardest parts of Pahse One are yet to come.

---Jensen

Posted by Jensen Interceptor | March 19, 2007 9:07 PM
27

*But, I think ST is just fighting this bill to guard its turf, which is also why they're all about the joint RTID/ST2 ballot these days.*

Bill Labord, isn't "the joint ballot" what Murray's bill would essentially set in stone from this day forward? If transit options are more popular than roads options, why would you bind them together forever? And why do you support the inclusion of Kitsap County, which has been a hotbed for Eyman initiatives and always votes against transportation alternatives?

If the "joint ballot" you dislike fails this Fall, Sound Transit has the option of going back with their light rail / bus / commuter rail plans next year. With the Murray bill, transit and roads are intertwined forever more. You appear to contradict your own statements. This is troubling if we're supposed to believe you are representing the environmentalist side in the emerging debate over governance.

Posted by NateDog | March 19, 2007 9:19 PM
28

*The hardest parts of Pahse One are yet to come.*

HoHum. Another run of the mill light rail and transit hater. I think Jenson just proved Josh Feit's point. To make his position crystal clear, Jensen Interceptor named himself after a car with a polluting V-8 built in the 70's.

And Jensen's been posting on the Slog about the need to replace the AWV with *wait for it...wait for it* a Golden Gate Bridge across Elliott Bay! If we could just keep studying things indefinitely, someday the magic munchkins will build it all for us.

Transportation tends to bring all the nuts out of their basements, because even the most ignorant among them can come up with the next new, unstudied, idiotic idea.

Think you will ever catch Jensen, Connelly or the other pavement warriors whining about a freeway project which went way over budget? 405? 167? 520? Uh uh. Intellectual honesty isn't part of their schtick.

Posted by NateDog | March 19, 2007 9:48 PM
29

Buzzed: Neither WashPIRG nor I support the bill in its current form. It is flawed in many ways that have already been pointed out by you and other commenters. However, many of the environmental groups active on transportation have long supported a more centralized, elected, Puget Sound-based commission that would lead regional planning efforts, prioritize revenue options, prioritize road and transit projects, and then submit those plans to voters. This bill has a long way to go before it meets that vision. However, because Murray has many of the same goals and has a good working relationship with the environmental community, it's worth engaging with him to see if we can fix all the problems in the existing bill. If the bill can be fixed, we'll support it. If it can't be fixed, we'll try to kill it.

Posted by Bill LaBorde | March 19, 2007 10:13 PM
30

Buzzed at 19: Look at the wording of question #68 in the RTID poll you cite. It only posits the arguments in favor of cross-base highway. It does not lay out the facts that it will destroy the last large swath of public open space in that area, that it will destroy habitat for an endangered squirrel species, that it will induce more sprawl, that it will contribute to more global warming and other forms of air pollution, that it will not solve many of the congestion problems that the backers claim it will survive, etc., etc., etc.

Posted by Bill LaBorde | March 19, 2007 10:20 PM
31

NateDog at 27: I wish that ST could go out to voters by itself if the joint ballot fails. But many, many key legislators, and even the Governor (because of 520) are saying they're not going to let that happen. At the least an RTC would provide a way to get beyond the forced marriage with RTID. Even though the tax dollars could be spent on both roads and transit, the bulk of any flexible dollars will be spent on transit because that's what the people who get to vote on a tax package will demand.

I know you're afraid that Stanton, Kemper Freeman and the other road hogs are just going to buy all the elected seats, but the reality is it's never that simple (if it was, BIAW would own the state supreme court). Puget Sound voters like transit . Once light rail is operating in 2009, they're going to like it even more. That's what happened in Denver. They struggled to build a starter line. Once the starter line was operating, the road advocates forced a dual roads/transit package to expand the light rail system, and then in the 2004 package it was all transit.

BTW, Kitsap would be included for planning purposes only.

Posted by Bill LaBorde | March 19, 2007 10:40 PM
32

Hey LapDog if Eyman supports the new commission will that mean that LaBorde made a deal with the Devil - if he opposes it will that mean that you made a deal with the devil. Please support the claim of my deal with some facts - I never endorsed 776 or any initiative except the .2% for buses in 2000. Calling an anonymous poster an idiot isn't very satisfying, so I won't.

From : Seattle Times Nov. 19, 2001

http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=soundtransit19m&date=20011119&query=sound+transit+over+budget

But Steven Polzin, with the National Center for Transit Research at the University of South Florida, said Sound Transit sticks out even among transit agencies with cost overruns.

"I don't think your (light-rail project) is just like every place else in the country. It's been a source of national attention and industry concern, frankly. Some of the staunchest advocates of rail have vehemently objected to the situation in Seattle" because it gives light rail a bad image, he said.


There hundreds of articles about STs multi-billion dollar overruns - hey LapDog sure you don't work for the Bush admin - I mean, really, prove that ST is over budget - ST says that 2/3 will cost $2.8B and that the tunnel will be at least $1.5B and the last mile to 45th hasn't been finalized for route - and those are numbers without financing. The vote was for $1.67B - even if they meant 1997 dollars that about $2.15B in 2007 dollars - but yes, your right if everyone that does an analysis doesn't agree, ST must really be on time and on budget.

Posted by Sherwin | March 20, 2007 8:20 AM
33

Buzzed at 19: I also completely disagree with your premise that a regional tax package needs to include any road projects to pass the ST2 transit package. According to several sequential polls I've seen, ST2 could easily pass on its own.

It was several of the RTID boardmembers, plus the road hogs, who forced RTID together with ST2 because they knew it was the only chance in hell they had to get regional voters to pay for their pet road projects. (BTW, Murray only went along because all the other 5 corner leaders had bought into the combined ballot and Murray was not able to get a budget passed without it).

SR 520 replacement is legitimate because it's about replacing existing infrastructure, not building new highways or greatly expanded highways in the age of global warming. But, really, regional voters should not even have to pay for these infrastructure replacement projects. The state should be paying for them out of gas tax revenue. This is the most equitable approach when you consider that ST Link is the nation's only light rail project without any state support. If the region is going to have to take on the burden of building a rail transit system without state help, then the state should be able to pay for its own highways of state significance.

I realize the RTC bill doesn't resolve this problem, but at least transit will have a fighting chance with more voter accountability and a higher degree of home rule. That's why the bill, as problematic as it is, is worth putting some work into.

Posted by Bill LaBorde | March 20, 2007 8:49 AM
34


The level of flat-out ignorance displayed by posters on this board is appalling.

Sherwin wrote @ 10:

>> “The legislature didn't create the monorail authority. It was created by a vote of the people of Seattle.” FACT – The legislature created the SMP’s statutes during the 2002 session. Cindi Laws was on the ETC’s legislative affairs committee, and she and Hugh Spitzer went down to Olympia with the proposed legislation. The leadership of the House and the Senate gave the ETC exactly what it asked for.

>> “The RTA was created in the same way but the vote was by most of three counties.” FACT – see above. The RTA was created in the early 1990’s IN OLYMPIA, just like SMP. What the local voters did was approve the taxes.


Sherwin @ 10: >> “ST will be at least 10 years late in delivering the first voted on segment and will be about 200 to 250% over budget.” Complete fabrication by some pro-asphalt group.

@ 17: >> “The current best guess for ST Link is somewhere near a $5B cost for a $1.67B voted on budget - and that doesn't count finance or operating costs.” Complete fabrication by some pro-asphalt group.

@ 32: Sherwin cites a November, 2001 Seattle Times article that says this “In 1996, Sound Transit budgeted about $4.4 billion, adjusted for inflation, for construction. Today, total construction costs are expected to exceed $5.4 billion if the original 21-mile light-rail line is completed.”

What each of these postings from one incredibly misinformed individual have in common is that they presume there is some kind of budget overrun problem. No facts support that contention. Sherwin throws false numbers around. NONE of the numbers Sherwin cites come from official Sound Transit documents.

The newspaper story Sherwin links to @ 32 takes the cake. It is over six years old. All of the agency’s experience since construction began has been that projects are coming in on time and under budget. Note how that story says ST would be overbudget IF the 21-mile light-rail line is completed. It will not be 21 miles. The line was scaled back, to stay within budget.

For some reason Sherwin is getting his jollies now spreading falsehoods about a project that actually is getting built – and that is the true indicator of how light rail is not like monorail.

Jensen wrote @ 28:

>> “I never supported Sound Transit from the beginning Steve, because the taxing
authority was open ended. The idea wasn't bad, but the agency is allowed to collect taxes for the project until its publically unelected board decides the project is completed.”

Jensen is ignorant about what the voters approved in 1996. The agency’s voter-approved plan specifically allows the agency to collect taxes forever, to subsidize operations. Jensen’s understanding that the taxes would stop when construction is complete is completely false. Everybody (but Jensen) knows this.

Posted by Mike Hausfeld | March 20, 2007 9:27 AM
35

Mike you can rail all you want and say ST LINK isn't over budget because they are not building what they promised - or that 2006 is really 2016 or 14 miles is 24 miles - look ST is way late and way over budget - are you saying that the only proof is if ST writes "we are way over budget and 10 years behind the original schedule" - if the SMP had built 9 miles by 2015, I wouldn't be arguing that they had delivered what the people had voted on - even the 14 miles of LR at $2.8B, ST's and the FTA's numbers, is $700M over the voted budget and it will completed 3 to 4 years late.

Why do ST supporters so fear any critical analysis?

Posted by Sherwin | March 20, 2007 9:57 AM
36

From a WA State doc

"Background: The 2002 Legislature authorized certain cities to create, with voter approval, a city transportation authority (CTA) to develop and operate a public monorail transportation system."

I repeat, the voters created the monorail authority - first as a city planning entity twice and then as a separate government - the legislature only created the permission and taxing authority if approved by the voters.

Posted by Sherwin | March 20, 2007 10:55 AM
37

MIKE thanks for clearing up the tax
issue and understanding that Sound Transit can collect taxes forever.

Mike, can you tell me how much Phase
One is going to cost at the point construction is completed?

Secondly, regarding cost overruns, try Goggling "Sound Transit+cost overruns".
Fer Chrissakes, even Sound Transit admits to overruns in its public reports.

---Jensen

Posted by Jensen Interceptor | March 20, 2007 12:19 PM
38

NATEDOG Wrote:
"Transportation tends to bring all the nuts out of their basements, because even the most ignorant among them can come up with the next new, unstudied, idiotic idea."

What basement did you crawl out of,
Natedog? You have proposed nothing,
but you are satified to make personal attacks or mis-characterize a proposal (the Elliott Bay Bridge) which was
originally proposed by noted UW prof of Urban Planning, and an example of which is currently under construction in transit-friendly Vancouver. B.C. Did you know, Natedog that WSDOT has done a preliminary study on the bridge?

Natedog, you couldn't argue or find fault with my comments on Sound Transit, so you begged the question
by attacking me and proposal unrealted to Sound Transit.

Try harder next time, Slick.

--- Jensen


Posted by Jensen Interceptor | March 20, 2007 12:36 PM
39

Jensen - everybody knows that Google is anti-transit you can tell by all the anti ST hits you get.

Not only that but if you put in monorail all the hits aren't negative - believe that's in violation of the Sound Transit Patriot Act.

Posted by Sherwin | March 20, 2007 12:58 PM
40

Thank you, Sherwin. I really wasn't trying to confuse the issue.

I was just trying to understand why some people were denying there have been cost overruns on Sound Transit when Sound Transit's own documents found on Goggle state there have been profound cost overruns.

Perhaps, I shouldn't be surprised. Some people are still hoping to find WMD's
in Iraq.

--Jensen

Posted by Jensen Interceptor | March 20, 2007 1:26 PM
41

OK, Jenson Interceptor. I'll try harder. That bridge in Vancouver BC you're refering to is the $150 million Pitt River Bridge, which is being built across a 300 foot-wide river. Great comparison to what an Elliot Bay span would be. You're a bigger joke than I thought.

And thanks to you and Sherwin for illustrating my point that whacko light rail opponents always focus on transit project over-runs, holding massively over-budger roads projects harmless.

When I Google "ST cost over-runs" the first hit I get is a right-wing, anti-transit freeway activist. The second hit I get is for CETA, a local "coaltion" of Republican pavement enthusiasts, and loony-tunes "alternative transportation technology" lefty nutballs, including monorailians.

I'm not sure what point you were trying to make, but I also notice CETA makes it a point to never say a bad word about $11 billion monorails, or $1 billion freeway interchanges.

Hypocrisy, ignorance, or idiocy - whatever you two clowns plead, it's obvious why you always tie yourselves to losing causes.

Posted by NateDog | March 21, 2007 10:38 AM
42

Here's some background on Jenson Interceptor's ridiculous transportation ideas:

Yeah, I think WSDOT should spend millions more studying this one:


Build a six-lane cable-stay
bridge that would stretch two
miles across Elliott Bay from
South Holgate Street to the
Battery Street Tunnel, which
would continue to be used.

To reach across Elliott Bay, the
bridge itself would need to be
over 200 feet high, with the two
anchoring piers 800 feet tall -
taller than the Space Needle.

The foundations alone would be the
equivalent of two 60-story buildings
underwater. It would be extremely
difficult to obtain environmental
permits, as the plan would entail
significant impacts to the fish and
wildlife, including endangered
species, that live in Elliott Bay.

The bridge has a center span more than a half
mile in length, longer than all but
one completed suspension bridge
in the world. This means the option
would be a risky project with a lot of
unknowns that could drive up costs.

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres/7B735255-8893-4E41-94F1-B0610BEC629F/0/Elliott_Bay_Bridge_Aug06.pdf

Drive up costs? Whaaaaat?

Oh, I forgot. The transit critics don't care about roads projects going over budget.....

Posted by NateDog | March 21, 2007 10:44 AM
43

Bill, thank you for explaining the Kitsap issue. I notice you didn't chose to comment on the question about "taking the state legislature out of the equation"

I also don't think you made a very strong argument for why Ed Murray "was forced" to put ST and RTID together. In fact, when I look at the bill history http://washingtonvotes.org/2006-HB-2871 I see Sen. Jacobsen trying to un-do the damage Gregoire, Murray, Finkbeiner and Haugen did to set transit back years, although he failed.

Where were enviros last year? "Playing ball" and kissing up to their buddies in power, no doubt.

Posted by NateDog | March 21, 2007 11:05 AM
44

One last comment for Bill: if last election cycle was a Republican year, the BIAW very well could have purchased those Supreme Court seats.

Peter Sherwin is flailing around, trying to pretend he had nothing to do with Eyman's I-776, because he knows how wrong he is:

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/47612_compete21.shtml?searchpagefrom=1&searchdiff=1317

In filing his new measure, Eyman begins an unusual convergence with monorail advocate Peter Sherwin, who shares Eyman’s zeal for the initiative process although he holds radically different views about mass transit. Sherwin sponsored last year’s successful measure to plan a new monorail and seek voter approval of the next phase.

The presence of both light rail and monorail on next year’s ballot could play to the advantage of both Eyman’s and Sherwin’s causes.

“People could perceive that they could stop their money from going to one project that they are skeptical about (light rail) and direct money into a program that they see as a better value,” Sherwin said.

**He asked Eyman to leave room in his initiative for voters to approve new vehicle taxes for transit.** Eyman said he didn’t write the initiative to satisfy Sherwin, “but he got the result he wanted.” He added: “The model for us is the monorail people. This puts money back in their pockets to spend on whatever they want.”


Can you say "politically bankrupt," kids?

Posted by NateDog | March 21, 2007 11:13 AM
45

I found that retired crackpot UW Prof you referred to, Jenson Interceptor:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2003151753_earlbell26.html

Naturally, the pompous Earl J Bell is also a charter member of the pavement-happy "we hate light rail" club.

Posted by NateDog | March 21, 2007 11:27 AM
46


NATEDOG Wrote:
"Yeah, I think WSDOT should spend millions more studying this one:"

Natedog, you missed the one published in 2007. You're behind the times, Slick. You haven't done your homework.

By the way. we haven't seen any proposal from you yet, NateDog.
All mouth and no game here?

Lastly, wrong bridge and wrong river
in Vancouver B.C. Show us what a good study you are, try again.

---Jensen



Posted by Jensen Interceptor | March 21, 2007 12:10 PM
47

On the off chance anybody is reading this I would urge them to read the article LapDog referred to. Note the fake quote marks etc.

The fact that 776 left the ability for any transit agency to use MVET in the future might be viewed as a bad thing by a dog but I glad that MVET is available today for RTID, ST, Streetcars etc. Not that it matters to these ST lapdogs but for there to be a deal I would have needed to give something - never happened. PI has a nice story on these anonymous attackers.

Also, one of my challanges of the ballot titles included pointing out the cost overruns of the tunnel which the last time I looked is a highway.

The monorail was pure transit - yes they actually put the total financed cost on their web site - try to find that on ST - and ST is building highway overpasses and park n ride lots that sounds like pro cars, right dog?

Posted by Sherwin | March 21, 2007 2:49 PM
48

Bill,

very interesting news that Murray is ready to split RTID and ST2. But right now, they both stink.

We should create government structures likely to further our objectives and be aware of unintended consequences. It is not a given that a three or four county agency will elect transit friendly boardmembers.

The two three-county transportation governments were created by the Legislature. The RTID was the child of senators McDonald, Finkbinder, and Horn, whose objective was the expansion of I-405. The RTA, now ST, was created by Representative Fisher, who wanted a BART type system and improved transit in Pierce County and needed Seattle affirmative votes for that to happen. Her dream is unaffordable but her government stumbles on.

Both three -county governments are failures.

We should only give the new multicounty government the functions that need to cross the county lines. Each of the four counties are huge and regional in scope. King County is twice as large as the three counties of RTID. The ST district includes four large cities separated by many miles and connected by limited access highways that are congested because they are not priced.

Consider the following alternative. The new four-county transport district would absorb the four ports (e.g., Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, and Bremerton), the airports, the PSRC, airports, and commuter rail. It would be empowered to implement dynamic tolling on all limited access highways. It would have a strong interest in freight mobility. It would negotiate with the large railroads: UP and BNSF. the Puget Sound ports should form a cartel for competition with Vancouver and LA-Long Beach and not compete with one another. Their form of government is weak.

Commuter rail is the one ST function that needs to cross a county line. the intercity buses can continue to be run by the local operators. PT runs the 590s; CT runs the 510s; and, Metro runs those in King County.

The powers of both the RTID and ST should be devolved to the three counties. The ST board may have to meet annually to allocate the stream of revenue for south Sounder. The rest of their stream could be passed through proportionally to the local transit operators: ET, CT, Metro, PT. the Legislature could force a merger of ET and CT into Snohomish County and of PT in Pierce County. the benefit district lines could be maintained by proportional voting.

The main problem with the three or four county model is sheer size; the second is that the willingness to tax ourselves for transit and transportation varies throughout the four counties. the larger the district, the more negative votes it includes. The devolution of ST and RTID to the county level would allow differential tax rates and different investment patterns. the proverbial "golden spike" buildout of LRT is actually best. the Tacoma streetcar could be extended to both PLU and TCC. that would do more to promote growth management and attract more transit ridership than extending a very low ridership Link LRT line to Fife. commuter rail and buses in HOT lanes would be much better modes connect Seattle and Tacoma as they are at least 30 miles apart.

The RTID is not ready to go. They still want a tenth on the sales tax and that is a fatal flaw. They want to fund four new general-purpose lanes on I-405 between I-90 and Renton before we have funding for the replacement four lanes of SR-520; that is absurb. they have not included systemwide dynamic tolling. several of their projects would induce sprawl. Why are the SR-509 and new capacity tolled?

Posted by eddiew | March 22, 2007 12:47 AM
49

errata
in the fifth paragraph above, it should the three counties of TriMet.

Posted by eddiew | March 22, 2007 12:51 AM
50

Diggin' this thread:

we got a pavement hog who wants to build the Golden Gate Bridge across Elliot Bay ** a monorailian who cavorts with road hogs ** and now a bus rapid transit / pencil in the pocket protector crank **. None of them can agree on anything, except they like Ed Murray's contorted politics, and they hate light rail. If you don't like the status quo, what better way to blow it up than to completely re-invent the wheel, using your VERY OWN axe-grindings!

In eddiew, we have yet another HCT opponent trying to hide his doctrinaire opposition to rail behind some on-the-fly whack-job governance "reform" concepts. Of COURSE he likes the Murray bill / public policy acid trip!

This whole band of loopty-loops belongs in academia.

Posted by NateDog | March 22, 2007 9:02 AM
51

Nate Dog,

Your comprehension of my post was inaccurate.

I am a keen proponent of Link LRT between Northgate and South McClellan Street. The south commuter rail line should have improved span. ST2 should also include diesel LRT on the BNSFRR Woodinville subdivision between Renton and Woodinville via Bellevue, Kirkland, and Totem Lake. ST2 should also elevate several eastside bus lines to BRT service levels. I suggested expansion of the Tacoma LRT line. That is a robust list of HCT projects.

My post also suggested a quite different transport reform than the Murray bill. How does that imply support for his bill?

Posted by eddiew | March 22, 2007 9:55 AM
52

**And, for these reasons, I oppose the degree of 405 expansion proposed by RTID**

The expansion was not proposed by RTID, Bill. The expansion was the result of a multi-year environmental process, and stakeholder input. http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/I405/

It's no wonder LaBorde follows the Ed Murray hidden-agenda mantra. This guy seems to know next to nothing about any of these projects, except for one thing: his knee-jerk reaction to them. Notice the constant refrain of "I think" "I oppose" The self-centered / Capitol Hill-centered attitude Bill displays here seems to reflect the legislature's ever-changing moods, and a real lack of regionalism 5803 is supposed to be fostering.

LaBorde picks 167 and 520 as OK, deeming them green enough for his swerving values, but thinks the whole package will FAIL because of the projects BILL LABORDE doesn't like.

Following the whims of a couple of deeply confused people is not how you do public policy.

Posted by NateDog | March 22, 2007 11:47 AM
53

Bill LaBorde is pushing for a 6-lane 520, yet he arbitrarily decries other road widening projects on the RTID list.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2003468722_gunby11.html

Care to explain yourself, Bill?

Posted by NateDog | March 22, 2007 11:56 AM

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