News I Agree With Mayor Nickels Now That He Agrees With Me: Let’s Vote on Transit in 2008
posted by November 9 at 10:00 AMon
I’ve been arguing for over a year that it was stupid to tie roads and transit together.
We also said this:
If we turn roads and transit down, the invaluable transit side of the package can come back next year —which would be great given that Democratic Party turnout will be huge.
As they did during the viaduct debate, when we advocated for the surface/transit option (now the preferred option), the establishment pontificated that we were idealistic weirdoes.
Listen to the establishment now. Here’s Mayor Nickels in today’s Seattle Times in article about polling that shows voters would have passed a transit package on its own:
“I recounted to (the Sound Transit Board) what happened in 1995 when the first Sound Transit plan was turned down, and I think that it offers us a pretty good lesson,” Nickels said. “We went back to the ballot in 1996, in a presidential election, with the second Sound Transit plan and it was very different than the first one … and we won going away.”
This is encouraging stuff from the mayor. (During the contentious campaign, Pro Prop 1 folks argued that Ron Sims alone wasn’t going to be able to bring back a package on his own. Well, it looks like he’s not alone now.)
The fact that Nickels is saying bold stuff like this also confirms what the Sierra Club was saying before the election—that this vote could reject conventional wisdom about political “reality” and let voters set the agenda. It also gets the ball rolling on the option we’ve been pushing all along: Expanding transit, not roads, transit.
This is not 1968; voting ‘No’ did not, as hysterics like Goldy argued, scuttle our chances for a generation. It clarified our priorities.
A year ago I wrote this, when I urged the legislature to de-couple light rail and RTID:
Forget that. It’s time for Sound Transit to break up with RTID…Sound Transit—and light-rail expansion—has nothing to gain from this shotgun wedding. Indeed, an Elway Poll from earlier this year found Sound Transit expansion polling well above 50 percent and RTID well below.
So, as long as Olympia has passed the buck to the voters, let’s let the voters do this in a sensible way. Instead of catering to powerful road builders and business interests who push legislators to make ugly compromises (business leaders threatened to campaign against Sound Transit if it wasn’t linked to RTID), the legislature should give voters a chance to make a clean decision.
Let’s have a stand-alone vote on light rail and a stand-alone vote on RTID. My sense is that a single Sound Transit will make out much better than one with a ball and chain.
I lost that fight, and so, during this election season, I argued we should reject the $17.8 billion roads and transit package and send a message from urban voters that we would not be blackmailed—that transit should and would come back, pronto. I’m glad Nickels has picked up that fight.