Politics Light Rail is Dead. Long Live Light Rail.
posted by December 13 at 9:07 AMon
During this year’s Prop 1 debate, I was repeatedly told that this was our last chance to get light rail: If we voted against expanding light rail now, we’d upend Sound Transit and the agency’s planners, engineers, and bureaucracy would simply vanish.
The rejoinder ran in our endorsement issue earlier this year when we rejected the $17.8 billion package (which came with 182 miles of new roads):
Supporters of the roads and transit package love to talk about all the light rail we’ll be giving away if we don’t vote for the $17.8 billion package. The SECB sees it differently. 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), or else in 2009, when the light rail track from Sea-Tac Airport to downtown will be rolling out and making the on-the-ground case for expansion. True: Voters turned down a rail package in 1968. But this isn’t 1968. This is 2007. Global warming is an international crisis, Al Gore just won the Nobel Peace Prize, and Sound Transit is already building a $5.7 billion line that will demand expansion in its own right.
The Sound Transit board is meeting today to decide on its course of action in Olympia for the upcoming session.
Here’s the question the board will take up today: Should they push for a light rail vote in 2008 or 2010? (They don’t want to be on the ballot in 2009 because it’s an off-year election, and they want the big Democratic turnout that’ll will come in 2008 or 2010.)
Sound Transit obediently went along with the moronic marriage Gov. Gregoire and the legislature forced on them—going to the ballot with roads this year. Olympia’s harebrained idea was supposed to neutralize anti-transit and anti-roads opposition, but instead it compounded that opposition.
Sound Transit believes the legislature owes them. They’re right.