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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sound Transit Cheerleading?

posted by on August 15 at 19:25 PM

Someone in the comments thread to my Sound Transit post wrote that my “post is filled with nothing but STís rosy pre-vote talking points.”

Another commenter wrote, “You’re back in monorail mode.”

And, well, here’s what I wrote in this week’s paper:
A column calling for King County voters to reject this year’s light rail initiative.

How’s that for being “rosy” on ST?

Just because I’m happy to call bullshit on misleading anti-transit propaganda, doesn’t mean I’m cheerleading to pass the ST ballot measure.

RSS icon Comments

1

No, Josh, no!

Posted by Sean | August 15, 2007 7:33 PM
2

Did you see how The Sierra Club pointed to the easy commutes this week to say that the roads portion of RTID is unnecessary?

Posted by Gitai | August 15, 2007 7:34 PM
3

You gotta stick to your guns, Josh.

Posted by Will/HA | August 15, 2007 7:45 PM
4

The goal is to reduce car use, and building out a train system from scratch in this developed city is a far too expensive way to do it.

Raise the gas tax.

Charge a fee - a dime a mile or something - that drivers would pay when they get their new tabs.

Pass a law requiring vehicle owners to put variable-price toll transponders in their vehicles, so they can be charged monthly based on how much they drove, when they drove, and on which highways/roads.

For God's sake, no more sales taxes for obscenely expensive trains. That will not reduce driving, and those taxes hit those who can least afford them the hardest.

Be smart: work on the demand side of the equation - trying to build a train system to give a relatively few commuters "alternatives" at a disproportionate cost in sales taxes is NOT the way to go.

Posted by merchant & ivory | August 15, 2007 7:50 PM
5

When it comes to political endorsements that matter, you can count on The Stranger to miscalculate. They were anti-Commons, anti baseball stadium, they supported what's her name who ran against Jamie Peterson, they (well, Dan, anyway) supported the Iraq war, they supported Ralph Nader in 2000, they supported the fucking monorail, and they were against Sound Transit light rail). Wrong, catastrophically wrong, wrong, wrong on all counts.

If The Stranger says vote no on light rail in 2007 because it will pass in 2008, history tells us that won't happen. Instead, either one of two things will occur: King County will vote yes in 2007, or King County will vote no in 2007 and no in 2008, and light rail is, once again, fucked.

I'll bet The Stranger that I'm right. Seriously, name the terms and I'll take the bet.

Posted by Sean | August 15, 2007 7:52 PM
6

If this package goes down, you will never again see 50 miles of light rail and $11 plus billion in transit expenditure (including some $700 million in bus money on the roads side of the package) on the ballot at one time again. Not in 2008, not ever.

Nor will you see a surface-transit solution for the Viaduct anytime soon, since the South Seattle projects that will help make surface-transit viable will not get funded.

And how are we going to replace the $1.1 billion this package provides towards replacement of the 520 bridge, or the $110 million for the crumbling South Park bridge?

For those reasons, and others, I am working to pass this measure.

Posted by Sandeep Kaushik | August 15, 2007 7:54 PM
7

For me, what makes politics so fascinating is the lesson it provides in human nature.

This roads/transit package is lopsidedly tilted towards transit -- what, like 70/30 or 75/25? Someone can give me a better number. And of the roads projects there are, much, if not most, of that work is not the kind of patently vile, sprawl-inducing freeways we transit supporters hate. I mean we're talking a 520 expansion where the extra lanes are HOV lanes, and the other lanes will be tolled, and the road is supposed to be rail-convertible, and the corridor really is a bottleneck. If ever there was such a thing as a good road project, that's it.

And yet, as good as this package is, it is not good enough. Because it is not pure.

Understand that these folks like the Sierra Club and Josh have not based their positions on a tough, cold calculation that if this package fails, a better one will emerge in its place. They have come to their positions out of a puritanical, absolutist virtue; the calculation that we'll get a transit-only package in 2008 or ever is merely a rationalization after the fact.

But y'know, the fascinating thing about history, like politics, is that people just keep repeating its mistakes.

Posted by cressona | August 15, 2007 8:22 PM
8

Josh,
No, "you're not cheerleading to pass the ST ballot measure."

But you still swallowed the numbers they put out, which makes you a dope. Sorry. But you've had practice at this, Monorail boy.

Posted by You're still a dope | August 15, 2007 8:32 PM
9

I don't trust our political leaders to do the right thing, most of the time.

I do, however, trust them to exercise good political judgment on what is popular and what will pass. It's their job to be aware of these trends. I certainly trust them more than Josh and the Sierra Club in their Capitol Hill cocoon.

Josh provides no evidence, polling or otherwise, that ST2 will return in 2008, other than its appearance in a Sierra Club wet dream. And he doesn't consider the reduced extent of a follow-up package after construction inflation and more Seattle "process" have taken their bite.

Posted by MHD | August 15, 2007 8:56 PM
10

And another thing. Cressona's right, the RTID projects aren't that bad. It's pretty much HOV lanes and bridge replacements, doing something for I-405 and 520 commuters who won't see a light rail line for 50 years.

Which leaves, what, the Cross Base Highway? Are you kidding me? I used to work on Fort Lewis, and I had never heard of this prairie until last year, and neither had any of you.

Posted by MHD | August 15, 2007 8:59 PM
11

Josh, do you have any polling to back up your claims because the polls I have seen show that alone both a re below 50 but together they are above 50. In Seattle sure light rail is more popular but these are regional packages and outside of Seattle and King county the roads part is important to voters.

And for those like Merchant that doubt light rail, find one city that regrets building it. Yah its expensive so the fuck what. Just about everything that is beatificial is expensive.

Posted by Giffy | August 15, 2007 9:44 PM
12

Oh, it's simply the usual suspects (Seattle Deep Thinkers) exercising their bitter muscles by dismissing anything that isn't 100% their own idea. They must be a real joy to work and live with.

What's their solution? Usually none. But when they have one, it tends to be simple minded (bus rapid transit, monorail, user tolls on a system that has no transit capacity)

For such a supposedly brainy town, we sure have a lot of dumbshits among us.

Posted by stupid is as stupid does | August 15, 2007 9:49 PM
13

Vote for light rail. Don't vote against light rail. So they're going to also bring on more roads? So what. The important part is the light rail. More mass transit, more regional transit connections, these are all good things.

Or Seattle could stay a virtual island and the Puget Sound-Lake Washington region could just stay in the gasoline dark ages. Which will be just fine -- that is, until you're priced out of your Cap Hill, West Seattle, or Rainier Valley apartment, and move out to the poorly-connected suburbs with the rest of us.

Posted by K | August 15, 2007 10:21 PM
14

which is it young feller? if'n I drop, then I'll be movin' and if'n I freeze, I can't rightly drop!

Posted by kentankerous | August 15, 2007 11:49 PM
15

Sandeep's right.

If you voters vote down this transit and ROADS package we assembled for you, just because you don't like the roads part, we will punish you by never bringing you the light rail part alone.

DO NOT QUESTION OUR AUTHORITY.
BUCKLE UNDER. AND SAY YOU LIKE IT!

Posted by THE POLITICIANS | August 16, 2007 1:13 AM
16

Factual corection:

You do not need to add lanes to 405 or 520 or anywhere to make HOV lanes.

You already have the pavement. Just restripe it to be HOV lanes.

Hell, make BOTH lanes on 520 HOV lanes.

When you spend billions to "add an HOV lane" you are really just giving in to the automobile lobby.

If you want to deal with global warming now, instead of building more roads that link congestion to congestion just stop expandin the road network.

And by the way: adding these lanes increases congestion. Unless you expand ALL the roads, it is just a total waste of money to selectively expand them here or there.

didn't you see the movie?

Posted by Al Gore | August 16, 2007 7:27 AM
17

I am opposed to anything that does not make my ability to use public transit easier, faster, more frequent and more reliabalbe in the City of Seattle. That is right, if something is put on the ballot that does not make it possible for me to get from my Starbucks or Top Pot on 35th to Magnolia on a Saturday morning or Friday night at 8 pm in a fairly quick and efficient way I am against it. PERIOD. Frankly, if you live in god for saken Snohomish or Redmond and want to travel to Seattle; well you should have lived in Seattle to begin with.

Live locally, work locally, eat locally and think globally!!!

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | August 16, 2007 7:40 AM
18

The last few years have been quite educational. If you're wondering why Seattle has crappy public transportation, look at how many people refuse to vote for something that isn't perfect.

Then again, I still don't understand why some sort of light rail along the 520 corridor that stops at Husky Stadium (tying with the downtown routes), Bellevue Transit, Overlake Transit, and Bear Creek wouldn't work...

Posted by zzyzx | August 16, 2007 7:56 AM
19

"Al Gore" @16:


Factual corection:

You do not need to add lanes to 405 or 520 or anywhere to make HOV lanes.

You already have the pavement. Just restripe it to be HOV lanes.

Hell, make BOTH lanes on 520 HOV lanes.

When you spend billions to "add an HOV lane" you are really just giving in to the automobile lobby.

This is an excellent idea, "Al Gore." And while we're at it, why don't we also?
A. Convert all interstate highways in the United States to toll roads.
B. Replace our state sales tax with an income tax.
C. Immediately withdraw all U.S. forces from Iraq.
D. Impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

Brilliant! Yes, thanks for the productive contribution.

I idolize Al Gore, but what's remarkable to me is who else idolizes Al Gore -- so many people in the fundamentalist left who are determined to never actually accomplish anything. If Al Gore is about anything, it's about pragmatism, compromise, and challenging the sacred cows on his own side as much as the other side.

Posted by cressona | August 16, 2007 7:58 AM
20

Correction to above post: If Al Gore is about anything, he's about pragmatism, compromise, and challenging the sacred cows on his own side as much as the other side.

Posted by cressona | August 16, 2007 8:00 AM
21

@16:
"If you want to deal with global warming now..."

If you want to deal with global warming now, stop the petty obstructionist bullshit and build a fucking light rail system already.

Posted by Sean | August 16, 2007 8:10 AM
22

I'm voting YES because I'm a pragmatist and i want options. this pipe dream that light rail will magically appear in 08 is exactly that. can you point to anything that says this will actually happen? can you point to anything in our three county history that says transit will come up again in a year? you're going to need that year just to run a study figuring out why it failed (conventional wisdom: not enough roads). cressona is spot on in her analysis.

Unbelievably shortsighted Josh. May the region not be so blind.

Posted by Dono | August 16, 2007 8:24 AM
23

Cato the Younger Younger:

I am opposed to anything that does not make my ability to use public transit easier, faster, more frequent and more reliabalbe in the City of Seattle. That is right, if something is put on the ballot that does not make it possible for me to get from my Starbucks or Top Pot on 35th to Magnolia on a Saturday morning or Friday night at 8 pm in a fairly quick and efficient way I am against it. PERIOD. Frankly, if you live in god for saken Snohomish or Redmond and want to travel to Seattle; well you should have lived in Seattle to begin with.
Live locally, work locally, eat locally and think globally!!!

Cato is right. This is why we should refuse to support any transportation measure that comes down the pike until the Washington state legislature bans the sale of bananas, oranges, lemons, and all other fruit that cannot be grown in Washington state. It's time we got serious about global warming, and we're not going to get serious until we stop importing non-locally grown fruit.

Also, instead of spending billions to build light rail to suburban Redmond, I think it would be more pragmatic if we spent that money building a time machine. We could then go back in time to the 1970s and convince Bill Gates and Paul Allen to locate their company not in Redmond but in downtown Seattle or even somewhere like Hyderabad, India or Mesa, Arizona. Now sure, a Microsoft based in Hyderabad or Mesa would have just as much global warming impact as a Microsoft based in Redmond, but at least we can pretend that it's not our region that is contributing to that global warming.

WARNING: Since Slog is a satire-proof zone, all attempts at satire, however lame, must be explicitly labeled as such. My apologies for not labeling post 19, and I can understand if the administrators will wish to remove that post for violating Slog satire policy.

Posted by cressona | August 16, 2007 8:40 AM
24

Cressona --

The cold hard calculation is that RTID/ST2 will result in a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions. And that it skips maintenance of existing facilities for useless capacity expansion (see I-5).

If you believe that climate change is a threat, then you must also believe that we need to do something about it now. To get ourselves out of this hole, the first step is to stop digging i.e. spending billions to build new roads. As much as I want ST2, it doesn't neutralize the carbon increases that RTID would cause.

You shouldn't be angry with the Sierra Club or Josh Feit for opposing a poison pill package. You should be angry at the governor and legislature for making that faustian bargain and refusing to let us take a straight vote for transit. You know why RTID is so unpopular with the voters? Because we intuitively know that we can't build ourselves out of this problem.

The electeds are accountable to us, not the other way around. Let's fight for ST2 in 2008.

Posted by Patrick | August 16, 2007 8:52 AM
25

We really need to repair and put a new surface on the length of I-5 within Seattle's n. and s. borders. That work is now estimated to cost nearly three billion dollars.

There is no money in RTID for it (donít ask me why, I just live here).

So if RTID/ST2 passes, where is the money for the I-5 work going to come from? The price of that work will go up steeply the longer we wait. THAT maintenance is far more important to our stateís economy than the promise of light rail tunnels through downtown Bellevue by 2025 (the literal money pit ST2 would be giving to Kemper Freeman Jr.).

One big problem with the particular ballot measure this fall is that it does not prioritize road maintenance work in terms of other spending proposals. Why is the tunnel for light rail in Bellevue given huge priority over repairing and maintaining I-5, for example? ST and RTID are nothing but little fiefdoms. Niether has any ability to (or, frankly, interest in) looking out for the community as a whole in terms of efficient spending of tax dollars. These fiefdoms are a flawed model of governance for planning and pulling off infrastructure projects.

Plus, Ed Murray is against it, and the silence from every other elected in Seattle regarding it has been deafening. Nickels said RTID doesn't do enough for Seattle soon enough, and that is a massive understatement.

Posted by Prole | August 16, 2007 8:54 AM
26

Here's what's so intellectually dishonest about Josh Feit and Erica Barnett's stance on this joint ballot, and this is a point I'm happy to keep hammering away at...

If you notice anything about Josh and Erica's political writing, it's a cynicism, disdain, and contempt for our elected officials in Seattle and Olympia are. It's a sense that politicians will find a way to do the wrong thing or just do nothing.

And yet, this philosophy of holding out for something better is based entirely on a wide-eyed (or is it wild-eyed?), idealistic, innocent faith in our elected officials in Seattle and Olympia -- that they will magically turn against type and find a way to do the right thing.

Of course, when you get right down to it, Josh and Erica's position isn't really based on a desire for our politicians to find a way to get light rail built. But then, when you get right down to it, politics is seldom so much about issues as it is about politics itself.

Posted by cressona | August 16, 2007 8:58 AM
27

Patrick @24: The cold hard calculation is that RTID/ST2 will result in a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions. And that it skips maintenance of existing facilities for useless capacity expansion (see I-5).

So Patrick, where are you getting your greenhouse-gas figures, from Emory Bundy?

Patrick: You shouldn't be angry with the Sierra Club or Josh Feit for opposing a poison pill package.

Y'know, I can't really say that I'm angry at them. That would be like being angry at religious fundamentalists who believe that evolution is a fraud and non-believers are heathens. They are what they are; they're going to do what they're going to do.

Posted by cressona | August 16, 2007 9:06 AM
28

Unless someone can give me proof that ST2 is already written and just waiting for this vote to fail and next session to start, I'm voting for the current package.

It seems to me that the roads package isn't going to expand the network enough to keep up with regional growth, which is good, and will get light rail that much closer to resembling a real rapid mass transit system.

Posted by NaFun | August 16, 2007 10:18 AM
29

@4: Incentives to get people out of their cars won't do any good unless they have other options. Where do you expect those commuters to go, if there isn't some kind of rapid transit system available?

Posted by Orv | August 16, 2007 10:42 AM
30

Josh is correct. The whole roads-heavy single occupancy car new highways building on wetlands package of RTID - which doesn't even pay for 40 percent of the 520 bridge replacement (traditional roads packages pay for 80 percent and the rest is a 10-30 year toll), which leaves us with tolls until 2050, is nuts.

The only pro-enviro vote is a NO vote on the combined RTID/ST2 package, since they refused to let us vote on them separately.

Will we pass the same or improved ST2 package when they resubmit it by themselves - as they will do? YES! Overwhelmingly. They have polls showing that.

They know we don't want the RTID they gave us - and made it as bad as they could - to try to piggyback on our pro-ST2 feelings.

We must resist this. We must hold the line, and we must insist on a separate revote of the ST2 - nay, even an EXPANDED ST2 package with even MORE light rail and monorails and bus lines. And an RTID that fully pays for the 520 bridge replacement at an 80 percent level and does NOT include NEW GLOBAL WARMING CREATING HIGHWAYS THAT HAVE NO HOV LANES that we DO NOT NEED.

The lines are drawn. We must fight and stand - FOR SEATTLE'S FREEDOM!

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 16, 2007 11:08 AM
31

Nafun - show me proof that ST won't ask for money for more of anything they think they can sell for the rest of time.

Rail transit will not give us a city w/o big congestion only a failed local economy will do that. The most congested cities all have rail and those with best rail NY, DC, SF are all on the list. Portland has a lower transit split than Seattle even though they have miles and miles of rail.

If the objective is to reduce GHG now, then this ST2 plan is the wrong way to go. It will take 20 years and tons of GHG to build. Use all reasonable means to get people into more fuel efficient cars (electric, hybrid, bio-diesel, etc.) and use the billions to build the greenest electrical generation possible - do what our forefathers did by building hydro but this time with wind, geo thermal -

If we are to build ST2 out to the suburbs, then we must impose the strictest growth management possible or the transit will just move traffic and pollution to a ring further from the city. It's called induce demand for sprawl.


Posted by whatever | August 16, 2007 11:24 AM
32

@31: That would really be shooting yourself in the foot. All growth management does is raise housing costs by preventing new housing from being built. Pretty soon all the middle class folks are priced out of the growth management area, and they have to commute from even *farther* out, beyond the growth management boundary.

Posted by Orv | August 16, 2007 12:29 PM
33

The roads portion sucks, and I'm with those who think it will worsen sprawl and greenhouse gas emissions compared to doing nothing in the short-term.

That said, I'm voting for it, because of the long-term politics. The alternative to RTID/ST2 is not ST2 alone. The region-wide politics simply don't support that. The likely alternative is no rail for the next generation. In the long run, that's worse for the environment and for local quality of life.

What we need to do is vote yes on the package, and then put pressure on the roads part of the package to mitigate its effects. Sue to stop the new rural highways and the big rural and suburban highway expansions. Block the Pierce County Executive from finding enough money for the cross-base highway, and redirect the current funds to projects that are actually needed, favoring maintenance and bottleneck upgrades over any attempt to increase capacity.

Then set the stage for the long-term transit future by shifting the revenue base away from sales taxes to gas taxes and tolls. Put together a Sound Transit construction acceleration package that will enable the system to be up-and-running within ten years rather than more than 20. Consider putting future metro-area highway funding under Sound Transit so that future highway projects supplement an integrated transit network.

If the combined package succeeds, the new roads will quickly be just as congested as ever, but the new train system will probably follow precedent and hit long-term ridership numbers within a few years, far ahead of schedule. Nothing encourages more transit like a successful transit system, and we don't get that by voting no.

Posted by Cascadian | August 16, 2007 12:35 PM
34

Orv more like I'd be shooting you in the foot. Your point is well taken but without GM the train to Overlake will promote sprawl and studies have shown that people measure commutes by time more than distance. If the train is fast to OL then people will be able to get further out without adding much time.

ST2 as currently proposed will not have a positive GHG effect for 20 years, will not relieve congestion, nor stop sprawl. It will provide an alternative for a very small percentage of region. At this time I feel the best mega expenditures for the region would be to invest in clean energy, promote clean cars and fix damaged and chokepointed roads.

Posted by whatever | August 16, 2007 12:54 PM
35

For some reason, my last post with a very long link to a Brookings Institute paper was moderated as spam, so I'm trying again. That paper debunks Orv's idea that growth management and urban growth boundaries is a significant factor in rising housing prices.

http://preview.tinyurl.com/2gmlk5 for those who want to see the study.

One of the sources of their study is an examination of Portland's UGB-influenced housing market with other Western cities with and without a UGB. There's no correlation between more quickly rising housing prices and having an urban growth boundary.

Also note that in Washington state and particularly King County, it took ten years after the GMA for our housing prices to start their run.

Posted by Cascadian | August 16, 2007 1:10 PM
36

@27, once again you avoid responding to legitimate arguments by simply taking sideswipes at people.

And there are still more arguments to be made against the Roads package.

Requiring both halves of this package to pass is what the problem is. It's rather like someone telling us that we can only get a Democrat into the White House in 2008 if we elect a Republican-majority Congress.

Posted by Mickymse | August 16, 2007 1:16 PM
37

@33, those ideas all sound GREAT!

However, it's been proven time and time again in this region that the only way citizens have to control electeds and public agencies is at the ballot box.

You're asking us to take a pretty big risk that this will all be fixed post-vote. And why should that happen? Those who've been working to fix the package pre-vote have not succeeded...

Posted by Mickymse | August 16, 2007 1:21 PM
38

Mickymse: @27, once again you avoid responding to legitimate arguments by simply taking sideswipes at people.

Mickymse, here's what I asked: "So Patrick, where are you getting your greenhouse-gas figures, from Emory Bundy?" If we're going to make contentious claims, let's at least back them up. And Patrick's claim is pretty contentious:
The cold hard calculation is that RTID/ST2 will result in a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

Really, the cold, hard calculation is that building ST2, even without any roads, will lead to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions in this region. New York City has by far the most built-out transit system in America, and guess what? New York City is responsible for a heck of a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. Perhaps back when they were planning to build their subway, some environmentalists could have argued about the environmental impact that would have.

Posted by cressona | August 16, 2007 1:25 PM
39

I don't imagine Patrick was arguing that greenhouse gases (GHG) will suddenly stop increasing.

I think he was arguing that ST2 is being sold for eliminating X% of GHG because global warming hype is big right now.

However, proponents are conspicuously silent on what Y% of GHG can be expected to increase with the addition of highway lanes.

The question -- and I don't have the numbers in front of me, but they're obviously available somewhere -- is how big the number is when we subtract Y from X.

No credible environmentalist is proposing that we simply stop selling cars or that we never pour another foot of concrete.

But we also have to acknowledge that we can't simply add highway lanes in an attempt to build our way out of congestion either.

We need to identify traffic flow problems and fix them properly, and we need to plan roads projects in conjunction with alternate forms of transportation.

Posted by Mickymse | August 16, 2007 2:06 PM
40

@35: I don't have time to read the whole study right now, but from the summary it sounds like the conclusion is that growth boundaries don't increase housing prices *if* they're accompanied by zoning changes that promote density. What are the odds of that happening on any large scale in Seattle? Public opinion seems to be strongly against anything that would reduce the number of single-family homes.

As far as the "GHG" issue goes, greenhouse gas emissions from transportation are not going to decrease unless you can get people to stop moving into the area. More people going to work means more emissions. But even if you could do that, you'd just be offloading the problem to somewhere else. With any transportation proposal the best we can hope for is slowing the rate of increase.

Posted by Orv | August 16, 2007 2:31 PM
41

Look, we all know - in fact, I personally have confirmed in conversations with electeds, that the ST2 will be uncoupled from the ST2/RTID package single-vote if it fails in Seattle.

And we'll get a revote.

That's reality. Stop trying to scare us with your FUD.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 16, 2007 2:46 PM
42

@41: My understanding has always been that tying the roads package to the transit package was the only way to get enough support for transit for it to pass. Has the math on that changed? If not, uncoupling ST2 just seems like a recipe for failure.

Posted by Orv | August 16, 2007 3:13 PM
43

Look, we all know - in fact, I personally have confirmed in conversations with electeds, that the ST2 will be uncoupled from the ST2/RTID package single-vote if it fails in Seattle.

And we'll get a revote.

That's reality. Stop trying to scare us with your FUD.

No, that's nonsense. "we all know". What the hell? Why should any of us give a damn about what you've "confirmed" in your "conversations with electeds"? Please. You don't seem to understand the political reality around a vote like this at all.

If this package loses, the floodgates are open for the dismantlement of Sound Transit and the argument that the package was rejected because there were too many transit projects in it. It will be viewed as a rejection of light rail...considering how much light rail is in it! That sends a terrible message.

Every year of delay costs hundreds of millions of dollars. We just can't afford to wait for a perfect package with transit only projects.

This package is a huge political compromise. It has been in the making for years. A huge coalition is coming together behind it. In politics, the most sensible way forward - and typically the most expedient - is consensus building. You just can't whisk up a vote like this. You're asking people to vote down a carefully crafted agreement that includes YEARS of public input, a 20 year plan for our infrastructure, because it's not good enough for you. To that, I say no thanks. I am voting yes.

Posted by Jonathan | August 16, 2007 3:20 PM
44

Will in Seattle,

What on Earth does the Seattle result have to do with the regional vote?

No one doubts that Seattle will support the transit package; the problem is everyone else!

Posted by MHD | August 16, 2007 4:31 PM
45

yes, the joint package is a political compromise. Josh and the Sierra Club correctly suggest a negative vote.

we voters face an all-or-nothing vote on two poor packages.

yes, Bill is an adult and is willing to accept the compromises. other adults may not be willing to accept them.

we must speak to two three-county governments and to the state. we would be better off without both RTID and ST. they both make poor decisions.

the RTID uses the wrong tax to fund the wrong projects. please do not give them too much credit for replacing the south park bridge and providing some of the funds for the SR-520 bridge. the south park bridge is only tens of millions. they are spending billions on unpriced limited access highway lanes on I-405, SR-167, and SR-509. the SR-520 project is both under funded and need not be as large as WSDOT and the Governor are demanding.

why should we use the sales tax to widen unpriced limited access highways when we have the concerns over global warming and sprawl? the objectives of ST and RTID are antithetical; they are two albatross bound together.

yes, the RTID has policy language regarding tolling, but show me the teeth. the tolling authority rests with the cautious Legislature and Governor.

the RTID should not be using the sales tax. it is simultaneously unfair, inefficient, and politically risky. they should be using user fees (e.g., gas tax, odometer tax, parking tax on free commuter parking). it is not related to household or business use of the roadway system. the basic problem with the roadway network is the tradgedy of the commons: over use due to a lack of pricing. an efficient tax would send a price signal to highway users. it is politically risky as it is already too high. the SR-520 funding package apparently depends upon the legislature granting a sales tax break; will they hurt the general fund and education?

other posters have mentioned that RTID funds highway expansion and not maintenance. given limited fiscal resources and a growing maintenance backlog, this should be a concern. RTID was designed to expand I-405 by former state senators McDonald, Finkbinder, and Horn. we are still following their rules. but the world has changed. we should say no.

many posters praise ST2 and fifty miles of LRT. it matters greatly what roads we invest in and what transit investments we make. if the investments are poor ones, we should vote no.

consider ST2. the critical six miles between NE Pacific Street and Northgate are great. but the other 44 miles are relatively weak and the revenue could probably be better spent.

in a nearby post, Josh pointed out the increase in transit ridership with ST2. almost all of that is due to the six miles mentioned above.

the south corridor between SeaTac and the Tacoma Dome, funded with south King and Pierce subarea funds is very weak. the first phase correctly went through the Rainier Valley for ridership. but that means that it is not a good line for long-distance intercounty trips. the ridership forecast for the south line is miniscule. and it will take about 15 years to build. both subarea's funds could have been better spent. buses and commuter rail are better modes for long distance transits trips. we should implement a system of HOT lanes using dyanmic tolling. ST phase one has already provided several center access ramps.

ST2 should be improving transit within Tacoma. it has a good street and sidewalk grid.

East Link LRT would be good, but a better ST2 would have included more BRT and used the dinner train right of way.

the rail stations north of Northgate can never become pedestrian centers, as they are in the freeway envelope.

Posted by eddiew | August 17, 2007 12:03 AM

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