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You guys need to realign your thinking about this. You keep talking "urban archipelago" but when it comes down to transit funding you want the whole county or the tri-county or the state to pay for it. We need to create a better transit infrastructure, but we also need to limit its footprint to cut down on suburban sprawl. And there's a benefit to keeping it in the city and paying for it at the city level: it keeps Oly and Bellevue from being able to choke off project funding later on.

Fuck the governor. We need to build it ourselves.

Posted by Judah | December 12, 2007 9:23 AM

I'm with Judah. Go build it yourselves. Prop 1 showed that no kind of compromise can be reached between mass transit fans in the city and commuters on the East Side. Go fund your mass transit, and we'll just go to the state for our new I-405 lanes. Which they'll give us.

We won't have any kind of comprehensive regional transit, but perhaps if you ignore the East Side it will go away.

Posted by Big Sven | December 12, 2007 9:32 AM
Go fund your mass transit, and we'll just go to the state for our new I-405 lanes. Which they'll give us.

Except they won't, because Seattle voters would fight it. As would, I imagine, Eastern Washington voters.

Posted by Judah | December 12, 2007 9:37 AM

I want to reassess the EastSide Of Today on light rail. I'm sure they want it but many just don't want to pay for it. Then again, who knows.

I don't think a Seattle-only initiative would be a good idea, but a King County-only one would make a lot more sense. There's a slightly lesser chance of it passing than a Seattle-only one, but I'm guessing it's far less risky than including Snoho and Pierce counties into it.

Posted by matthew fisher wilder | December 12, 2007 9:39 AM

Also, maybe I'm mistaken but if Prop 1 was a King County only thing, wouldn't it have passed given the voter results?

Come up with something less bloated than Prop 1 for 2008, and I think it's definitely worth a shot, as long as it's King County only.

Posted by matthew fisher wilder | December 12, 2007 9:42 AM


Of course the state will pay for more roads. Always have, always will. Seattle thinks it can single-handedly roll back the personal automobile, but nobody else in the state agrees with this view.

Look, I'm cranky today because I had some really bad news last night. Perhaps I could say it better.

I can't speak for everybody on the east side, but I *want* mass transit to Issaquah. I want to not have to build more lanes on I-90 or I-405. But if Seattle goes it alone, the east side will too and a generation will pass before we have environmentally sound transit for all 3.2m Puget Sound residents, not just the 600k in the city.

Posted by Big Sven | December 12, 2007 9:57 AM

If we have to pick pieces to fund out of the ST2 carcass, we should definitely push for the Northgate extension. We should also focus on BRT for I-90 and start the tunnel from Bellevue to Redmond. The BRT on the bridge and Mercer Island will hopefully save enough money to get all the way to downtown Redmond, as well as allowing the Mercer Island buses to continue operating as before.

Posted by Greg | December 12, 2007 9:58 AM

ps- and when I say "want", I mean "am willing to pay more taxes for".

Posted by Big Sven | December 12, 2007 9:59 AM

Whatever it is, it can't be a rehash of Prop. 1. The poll taken after the vote showed Prop. 1 had big problems:

Less regressive taxes, no blank check, projects coming on line sooner - fix the problems with Prop. 1 before going through another vote.

The best thing ST could do would be get the light rail up and running - before the next vote. That would increase support.

Posted by ronbo | December 12, 2007 10:06 AM

Consider the mayor and certain city council members were not willing to negotiate with anyone, and issued a meaningless ballot, it's no wonder people on the state level didn't have an open mind. It sure helps that the first two have decided to play ball in the real world, doesn't it?

Posted by tpn | December 12, 2007 10:12 AM

Yes, Gregoire needs to get behind supporting a transit only vote in 2008.
The revised rail proposal needs to map show a map -- a plan -- that covers most of the localities that will be paying the taxes -- instead of leaving most of those localities out of the system.

It needs to include the west side of Seattle (West Seattle and Ballard and the Seattle Center) and a north south route on the East Side (Kirkland-Renton, possibly Southcenter) (for which the BNSF right of way is the cheapest opportunity for ROW we will ever have in that corridor).

You can't leave out half of Seattle and half of the East Side. Planning to leave out most taxpayers, and most of the relevant destinations in the relevant area, is bad politics and bad transit planning.

Building a third of a system makes as much sense as building a one-legged stool.

Posted by Cleve | December 12, 2007 10:20 AM

Let's vote on an extension to Roosevelt and Northgate in 2008. In the mean time, develop a plan to develop URBAN light rail in Seattle, not some ridiculous system linking park and ride lots in Fife and Mountlake Terrace.

As someone who rides Sound Transit and Metro buses for a couple hours every day, commuter buses to the suburbs work fine and bear little resemblance to crowded, smelly, late Metro buses. It's the urban transit system that needs to be fixed.

Posted by jamier | December 12, 2007 10:20 AM


What about mass transit for the 2 million people living in Eastern Washington? I'm sure they'd love a light rail line that serves the entire Columbia basin.

The East Side, by and large, doesn't want mass transit. They barely want public transit. And they're not set up to use it in any case: the population is too widely dispersed. In most respects, the best way for Seattle to deal with the East Side is to ignore it and hope it goes away: build amenities in the city that will attract employers in to the urban core; use the employers to attract population; expand the amenities to manage the needs of the population. Try to outpace growth in the suburbs and the rest of the state and bring the balance of non-rural employment into a super-dense urban core with a consolidated voting block and a unified agenda of public works spending.

People who live in the suburbs do so because they want a certain lifestyle and they're unwilling or unable to pay the city rate for it. The lifestyle most of those people want is a single family house and a yard. Those things are physically incompatible with cost-effective mass transit and, indeed, most urban public works projects. We have enough trouble getting the NIMBYs in Ballard to allow denser housing. I don't see what's to be won fighting that same battle with people who moved to Bellevue explicitly to get Ballard on the cheap.

It's not a question of the 500k people in Seattle wanting something special that the rest of the state doesn't get. It's a question of the 500k people in Seattle wanting something different than what the rest of the state wants and, as far as it goes, what people in the rest of the county want. Most people in this state moved here pursuing an explicitly suburban lifestyle. The people in Seattle are the exception, so we have to pay for our agenda ourselves. If you can't find a voting block in Bellevue that will pay for mass transit on their own, maybe mass transit isn't a good fit for Bellevue.

Posted by Judah | December 12, 2007 10:28 AM

Here is what the next vote needs-

1) Leadership from elected officials.

2) A ballot measure and campaign that establishes trust.

3) An easily comprehended ballot measure.

4) Any new roads measure should make use of MVET, gas tax, congestion pricing and/or tolling

5) Any new transit measure should make use of property taxes and/or congestion pricing to ameliorate the burden on sales tax.

6) A clear advertising campaign that explains simply exactly what is going to built and why.

If Sound Transit can get their shit together by November, I'm all for it. I don't think it's necessary to wait for the first line to open up because 72% of people in this region support expanding light rail. If they can accomplish the above, I think they have a sure deal.

Roads and Transit was a big fuck up for them. They need to simplify dramatically.

Posted by Cale | December 12, 2007 10:34 AM

#14 -

Sound Transit has said for over ten years that it's finally got its shit together and just needs tons more time and tax money for now. You can count on its parading the same B.S. argument in November.

I remain a Sound Transit skeptic, which makes me for the terrorists and against our troops to Stranger staff members who keep on plugging the for-ST-light-rail-or-against-America PR crap.

Posted by Slip Mahoney | December 12, 2007 11:11 AM

I totally agree. ST2.1 should be on the ballot sometime in 2008, preferably without the insane segment from Sea-Tac to Tacoma that doesn't make sense yet.

But if you put up a roads package like RTID it will be slaughtered in a very bloody and decisive manner.

That said, a separate election for a Critical Roads and Bridges repair and replacement project package could probably pass - provided it doesn't include any new highways, just replacing and repairing what we have and maybe adding some new interchanges or transit/HOV lanes.

As I told them almost a year BEFORE the disaster that was RTID/ST2.

Wish they'd listened to myself and others at the time ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 12, 2007 12:11 PM

oh, by the way, there's a ST open house for the UW light rail station tonight from 5-8 pm at the HUB. Info at and directions at as well.

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 12, 2007 12:24 PM

Once more, the Eastside is not anti-transit. They just don't want to pay for a system that doesn't benefit them for decades. Eastside workers and residents that I talked to liked ST2 in concept until they found out it wouldn't reach Overlake for 20 years. They also didn't like that 520 funding was only partial.

We need a new plan that implements a regional solution but gives each area more control of funding and design in that area. Any solution on the Eastside needs to connect Seattle to Bellevue to Overlake in ten years tops. A 520 replacement has to be totally funded and include integral transit. If that means shrinking the number of general purpose lanes to accommodate BRT and eventually rail, fine. As for 405 funding, it should also only go forward with integral transit. Let the East King sub-area raise and spend its own money for these projects (though Seattle should pay for construction on the west side of the lake), so there's no complaint from either side of the lake about unfair subsidies. Seattle/North King can then raise and spend its own money and apply it to its own transit within an overall regional plan.

South King, Pierce, and Snohomish should also control revenue and spending locally, to a regional plan. If Tacoma wants to spend its money to get to the airport, it can do it without people in North and East King voting it down. It would have to get some approval from South King voters (probably by agreeing to beef up commuter rail spending in its area to benefit South King commuters in exchange for those voters funding the South King segment to the airport for the benefit of Pierce County.) If that's too complicated and the voters would prefer an in-city rail line in Tacoma (continuing to use the same technology used across the region, so eventual connections can be made), that's great too. Regional planning is essential. Regional funding and implementation is where light rail goes to die. Keep the first, make funding and implementation local, and then let's start building.

As for highways, leave them to the state to fund, so that only projects of statewide interest are funded.

Posted by Cascadian | December 12, 2007 12:36 PM

Didn't I keep predicting that our leaders would fall in line? Didn't I say that the spirit of the times would put transit on the ballot, and no individual agenda was going to stop it?

I wish I had more time to gloat.

Posted by elenchos | December 12, 2007 1:11 PM

Nobody liked the less than 50 percent funding of SR-520 floating bridge replacement, Cascadian.

That was a dumb move by RTID. Kind of like a "ha! we tricked you!" kick to the voters that just made us say "nuh uh!" to them.

RTID itself is dead. Good riddance.

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 12, 2007 1:16 PM

All of this talk of the need for more leadership on transpotation leads me to one specific request... Please, please, please don't let that idiot Julia Patterson get anywhere near the next round of negotiations. She cares only about south king county, hates Seatle, and failed miserably as the face/voice of Prop 1. We can't afford to put a 2nd tier politician in charge of something so important.

Posted by Seattle Transit Rider | December 12, 2007 1:22 PM

Well, she's representing her district.

This is why direct election of regional transit boards is critical, not indirect elected officials appointed to but not subject to voter recall.

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 12, 2007 2:37 PM

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