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This Haugen woman is a moron and must be stopped.

Posted by Hernandez | January 22, 2008 11:20 AM

Haugen is not an idiot. She just doesn't want light rail on I-90, and would rather use the money to catch up with a massive backlog of state freeways. That's what this governance "reform" effort is all about, from top to bottom.

Ron Sims - by his comments on KUOW last week - seems to be concurring.

Posted by Jeremy | January 22, 2008 11:55 AM
It seems to me Sen. Haugen is missing the whole point of the Prop. 1 fiasco.

Good thing we sent a message to Olympia by defeating Prop 1.  I'm sure a transit funding measure with no objectionable roads expansion will come along any day now.  We won't even notice the extra wait for transit construction to be completed.

Posted by lostboy | January 22, 2008 11:59 AM

Re the Prop 1 defeat, I'm not sure it was an outright rejection of roads per se, but rather a rejection of 150+ lane miles of SOV lanes. The jist of the Sierra Club argument.

A new Roads & Transit package, where Roads is limited to bottlenecks, missing links, and major maintenance, and where Transit is mostly shortened light rail extensions (north to Lynnwood instead of Mill Creek, east to Overlake/Microsoft instead of downtown Redmond, and south to Fed. Way instead of Tacoma) -- with appropriate tax reductions and shorter time horizon (10-12 years instead of 20), this R&T2 could look mighty attractive in the high-turnout November election.

Posted by Imperfect Voter | January 22, 2008 12:11 PM

No matter what the underlying motive, it's not worth sacrificing light rail expansion. If her bill passes and we lose that $750 million, then yes, she is an idiot. And I'm not going to agree with someone just because Ron Sims "seems to be concurring". Ron Sims, as smart as he is, does not have all the answers.

Posted by Hernandez | January 22, 2008 12:14 PM

If you truly believe that governance reform is motivated by concerns about governance and accountability, then you may have also believed that the Iraq War was about 9/11 and WMD. This is all about preventing Sound Transit from going back to the ballot on its own in 2008, or ever.

Check out this guest column from Rep. Geoff Simpson, D-Covington, in today's P-I:

Keep it simple. You hear a lot of talk about "governance reform." This push is coming from fans of regional financing of state highways and those opposed to light rail. Sound Transit is delivering projects on time and on budget, bringing in hundreds of millions in federal funds and passing audits with the highest grades.

Why would we want to jeopardize that federal funding stream by creating a new layer of costly bureaucracy that will guarantee only years more of political and traffic gridlock? Congestion in this region is because of lack of investment, not lack of coordination among transportation agencies.

Posted by cressona | January 22, 2008 12:16 PM

Seattle Transit Blog points out the fact that Oly is blowing transit opportunities on another important front:

Got to love all the fiddling, while Rome burns.

Posted by Jeremy | January 22, 2008 12:37 PM

Which part of NO! HECK NO! don't they GET?

Look, RTID is dead. Heads will have to roll if they keep this up.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 22, 2008 12:40 PM

"Didn’t voters just reject the idea of roads and transit?"

No, they rejected the funding for a specific plan that included both roads and transit. I have it on good authority that some folks who voted "No" on Prop. 1 have continued to use both roads and transit since the election.

Posted by J.R. | January 22, 2008 1:13 PM

Cost just doesn't matter to holy railers does it? I mean really, you can already ride any number of buses to the U district, they're quick, getting you from downtown to the UW in 20 minutes, but none of that matters because they're buses, and buses are icky and bad because they're used by the handicapped and the homeless, where as light rail will only be used by upstanding white people like Dan Savage and Erica C. Barnett. So we'll piss 1.7 billion dollars down the toilet so we can move bus riders onto trains. That's all that this money is going to do. It will not reduce congestion and it's not going to reduce greenhouse gases. It's going to be less convenient than the current bus service because the ST stop is going to be down on south campus, great if you're going to UWMC or the stadium, bad if you're doing anything on north campus and also because in order to pay for this monstrosity you'll probably see cutbacks in bus service (just as Los Angeles did to pay for their subway). Good job holy railers, you guys are to solving local transit problems what the Bush administration is to fixing Iraq or cleaning up after Katrina.

Posted by wile_e_quixote | January 22, 2008 1:15 PM

What heads should roll, Will? You think Senate Transportation Chair Haugen cares what you think? (there's that directly elected "accountable" politician thing again)

Elected bodies, such as the "accountable" Seattle Port Commission (and the state legislature), don't automatically deliver the best results because they are directly elected. Cressona's article points out that the whole point of tinkering with governance is to delay and stop light rail progress.

In Portland, the legislature and governor find new ways of speeding up light rail projects. Here, through direct and indirect interference, our state government is always trying to find a new way to slow Sound Transit down.

At least it's not as bad as 2002 and 2003, when the Republicans (joined by a bunch of Puget Sound D's) ran several bills doing away with Sound Transit and light rail altogether.

If it wasn't for Ed Murray, at least one of those bills might have passed. The exact same people (Discovery Institute, Kemper Freeman, , CETA) who sought the dismemberment of light rail 5 years ago are behind today's "good government" efforts.

But things have changed since then. Now, this band of obssessed anti-rail activists have been joined by millionaire monorailian nutjob Mark Baerwaldt, and billionaire Republican John Stanton (appointed by the Gov, for whatever reason) giving the cause a fresh infusion of cash, a PR/lobby team, and fresh "credibility" within the Olympia bubble.

Posted by Jeremy | January 22, 2008 1:24 PM

@10: Just stop. You're going to hurt yourself.

Does anybody else still think this "governance reform" is anything but an attempt to block light rail and draw away money for roads?

Posted by Greg | January 22, 2008 1:25 PM

wile_e_quixote @10: Good job holy railers, you guys are to solving local transit problems what the Bush administration is to fixing Iraq or cleaning up after Katrina.

Wile, so I get that true mass transit is anathema to your religion. But are your views reason enough to keep light rail off the ballot, knowing that it would likely succeed on its own?

From this vantage point, you must be viewing governance reform as manna from heaven.

Posted by cressona | January 22, 2008 1:26 PM

I completely accept that "governance reform" is an attempt to stop light rail, but what I don't understand is the notion that a new agency, and especially an expanded version of the same agency, would no longer be eligible for federal funding. It's a pretty simple matter to carry over existing legal and financial obligations and benefits to a successor agency. Is there something in federal law that stipulates starting the process over if an agency changes its governing structure, or is this just unnecessary FUD?

Posted by Cascadian | January 22, 2008 1:29 PM

cressona - if you believe that spending the billions on LR, as ST wants, to reduce congestion, increase density or increase transit share will work, you probably believe that Iraq had something to do with 911.

The governance proposal also would end subarea equity which would allow us to build transit in the densest areas and roads in the less dense areas that then could be used by buses which would result in a better level of service to both.

There is no indication that the $750,000,000 will lost because of a change in the board. Elected boards change all the time without changing federal funding.

This is another fear campaign.

Posted by whatever | January 22, 2008 1:31 PM

@11 said to me "What heads should roll, Will? You think Senate Transportation Chair Haugen cares what you think? (there's that directly elected "accountable" politician thing again)"

Actually, I know that she probably does.

Look, the reality is that Seattle is what tips elections statewide. If we say NO! people listen - or else.

Without us there are no majorities - period.

And, yes, there will be consequences. Having twenty people from Seattle doorbell your district in a close election can work wonders - and they can either HELP or they can HINDER.

This feigned powerlessness by Seattle is just that - a myth. One that the politicos want you to buy into, but one that ill behooves us to follow.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 22, 2008 1:36 PM

@15: Ending subarea equity is guaranteed to sink light rail. Of course, that's what you want, isn't it?

And stop talking about reducing congestion. That's a really dumb argument. (Probably because it's made of straw.)

Lastly, what is wrong with the UW stadium station? If you need to go to north campus, you'd use the one at 45th.

Posted by Greg | January 22, 2008 1:46 PM

Jeremy - So the elected bodies in Oregon are good (did I miss it when the Governor and Legislature there became appointed) but elected bodies in WA are bad. The problem for you seems to be that you fear that you won't get the results you want not that we won't get the best results.

Elected bodies, such as the "accountable" Seattle Port Commission (and the state legislature), don't automatically deliver the best results because they are directly elected.

In Portland, the legislature and governor find new ways of speeding up light rail projects. Here, through direct and indirect interference, our state government is always trying to find a new way to slow Sound Transit down.

Perhaps, if Seattle were receiving 80% federal funding the state would be supporting more. How much has Portland paid for their light rail? Total and local share?

Posted by whatever | January 22, 2008 1:56 PM

Ed Murray said this bill is dead: (look in the comments).

Posted by Andrew | January 22, 2008 2:00 PM

With a single taxing district, you have to have subarea equity or something like it. People will not vote for taxes that do not result in improvements in their area.

The problem is that more projects have to happen in the urban core, and that once you're done with ST2 or anything like it, most of the viable non-Seattle rail corridors are finished, leaving Seattle on its own to finish its system.

I think we have two options:

1) Continue with subarea equity as is, and then reform the agency after the regional transit backbone (ST2.1) is built to allow denser areas to self-finance additional projects.

2) Get rid of subarea equity, keep regional planning and integration, and then match taxes with the projects within each subarea. That would give Seattle/North King the ability to pay more to get a more substantial rail network. East King could finance its own rail on its own timetable and use BRT or regular buses in the interim. The other areas would probably tax themselves less to build fewer projects.

I doubt the current governance reform will do either of these things.

Posted by Cascadian | January 22, 2008 2:05 PM

whatever @18:

The problem for you seems to be that you fear that you won't get the results you want not that we won't get the best results.

Well, whatever. Haven't you just captured why you want to defy the will of the voters and prevent Sound Transit from going to the ballot on its own this year, or ever?

Posted by cressona | January 22, 2008 2:08 PM

Ok Greg congestion reduction is off the table. Please do tell what we should use to judge the worth of transit investments.

From the Geoff Simpson article:

For roads, simply indexing the gas tax by a penny or so per year statewide to keep up with inflation would give us real congestion relief. It would generate more than enough revenue with bonding to pay for every high-priority transportation project in Washington.

Imagine that. We could finally stop rearranging deck chairs and just solve our transportation problems.

Buying into the above? Do you believe we can solve our transportation problems?

Yes, I would like to see a better rail plan. Getting rid of subarea would allow planning the best use of transit money without the phony area payoffs. Would anyone support Sounder North as a good transit investment? No way, but it was a payoff to Drewel.

Didn't say anything about the UW but you should read the "agreement" with the UW before you are so sure they will get to 45th.

Posted by whatever | January 22, 2008 2:09 PM

BTW, whatever @15/@18, in the course of engaging in disingenuous arguments that you yourself don't believe in (see: your pseudo-concern about global warming), you might want to keep track of when you're contradicting yourself.

On the one hand, you express your usual Seattle-ist skepticism about mass transit @15:

cressona - if you believe that spending the billions on LR, as ST wants, to reduce congestion, increase density or increase transit share will work, you probably believe that Iraq had something to do with 911.

Then you proceed to say: The governance proposal also would end subarea equity which would allow us to build transit in the densest areas... So on the one hand, you say light rail is effectively a fantasy. On the other hand, you advocate building transit in the densest areas. That's a really subtle distinction, I must say.

Posted by cressona | January 22, 2008 2:10 PM

cressona you got me man. I do want the best results not what you advocate so that must mean the people are with you.

Running rail to places like Fife, S. Federal Way etc. does not serve the densest areas in the region. The proposed ST2 would have authorized a line from Tacoma to just short (why?) of Everett which would be about sixty miles. Lay that over any successful rail city (those with a better transit share might be a starting point)and tell me it resembles their first transit lines. Successful transit cities have intra-city transit service.

What will the plan you so support do for the region?

Posted by whatever | January 22, 2008 2:26 PM

Uh, google BART buddy, or caltrain, which was the original route of the bay area's originally commuter rail.

Posted by Andrew | January 22, 2008 2:59 PM

and shit, dude, the first NYC subway went to brooklyn which was a different city at that time, and America's first subway, in Boston, when to cambridge which is also a different city.

You have no idea what the fuck you are talking about.

Posted by Andrew | January 22, 2008 3:01 PM

@17 - the station at NE 45th is not funded.

@21 - I wouldn't be so confident that ST will pass on its own. It may have been before your time, but ST was linked to roads back when ST's polling numbers were dire to try and get both passed. Granted, it didn't work, but I don't think anyone can say with certainty that the "will of the voters" would have had ST pass on its own - particularly since most of the exit polling cited was done by ST itself.

And I won't even mention ST's old promise not to go back to the voters for more money until Link was up and running (oops, I did!).

Posted by Mr. X | January 22, 2008 3:04 PM

Mr. X and one of the pollsters for ST was the push poller from NH for the Repubs, Mr Moore, no?

And you neglect to mention that the tunnel under the UW is also not funded and some think they will have to delay to get enough funds to get to the UW.

Andrew, Ballard was a separate city once. So what? Brooklyn and Cambridge are how far from the center of their respective city centers?

Manhattan to Brooklyn is about 5 miles - the same as CBD Seattle to the U Disrict. Go look at historical maps of successful transit systems and note the inside first approach to transit

Where the city boundary lines are drawn is not the point. It's the density, sir.

Seattle has a density of about 7000 per sq. mile which is towards the minimum needed to make rail transit work. The area inside the UGB has a density of about 2500 per square mile.

Posted by whatever | January 22, 2008 3:39 PM

If the voters don't want to elect a pro transit board, then what moral authority do we have to build a system the voters don't want?

Are the pro transit folks trying to fool and trick the voters into something they don't want?

When some pro transit folks opposed the monorail, they loved the idea of putting it to a vote. Vote, vote, vote, vote until it was killed.

They loved the idea of having elected board members, as I worked to have. Wish we'd have had more. Then in 2005 we put to the ballot a plan to have a majority elected board. Everyone in the broader community supported this and it passed overwhelmingly.

Now that the talk is about electing ST board members -- suddenly the shoe is on the other foot.

There are many pro transit folks who suddenly have lost their commitment to accountability and elected board members, and are fighting it tooth and nail.

In other words, they are being 100% opportunistic.

They like elected board members -- unless they fear the voters won't vote the way they like. Then, democracy is a bad idea.

What do you fear about elections and accountability? It guarantees that we will build something IF voters support it and we won't IF they don't.
That's called democracy.

Josh, you've twice said "If Sound Transit goes away, the Feds will throw up their hands—and that money is gone."
That frankly sounds like a load of horse manure.
What's your source? Is that true? Is that credible?

Private and public bodies change their composition all the time and existing contracts, grants, bonds, receivables, long term contracts, and other commitments don't just disappear.
Why in the world would the feds hold up the grant because the composition of the ST board changes?

This is classic fear mongering. If you have just repeated something from ST talking points or press relations spokepersons, please let us know. If you dug this up by finding sources in the US Dept. of Transportation, let us know. If you've checked it out and you believe it's real, let us know why.
And then let us know why they would do that.

When I was on the monorail board you should have heard the other nonelected board members fight against the idea of having elected members. The real reason the other monorail board members feared elections was that they didn't want to be accountable to voters.

Could this be the case with ST, too?

Posted by Cleve | January 22, 2008 3:46 PM

@28, Rail caused the density in Brooklyn. When they ran rail out there the first time it was farms.
Long island City, the closest part of Queens, had just 5,000 people living there when they built the rail out there.

It doens't matter how much density is there now, building the rail will add density, as it has in the bay area, and as it did in Brooklyn and Queens.

Posted by Andrew | January 22, 2008 3:51 PM

What? Disagreements about exactly where to build this 60 miles of rail? I would have thought that the transit folks would have already worked it out in order to get this "easily passable transit only inititative" together by February of 08.

Since routes are still on the table, how about we build it 60 miles straight up in the air? It will have about the same chance of getting through all this consensus building that helps unite Seattle voters and will be a lot more fun to ride when it's all done than a Tacoma to Mill Creek Line.

PLUS, cars be able to see it from any point on the new 520 bridge and it will be a symbol of what can be done when we all work together.

Posted by Clint | January 22, 2008 4:28 PM

@30 Andrew:

are you smoking dope? Or just lying ?

You're saying Brooklyn wasa bunch of farms back when the subway was built. But in 1900 the population of NYC was 3.4 million including

the Bronx, 200,507;
Manhattan, 1,850,0932;
in Brooklyn 1,166,582
and Queens 152,999.
(Left out Staten Isl. as we usually do).

Meanwhile that farm community of Brooklyn that you mentioned with 1.2 million people?

That's almost as many as the THIRD LARGEST CITY in the USA at the time (Philly, 1.3 million) and way more than the FOURTH LARGEST CITY at that time, St. Louis with about 575K.

FYI the 10th largest at the time was Cincinatti with about 325K.
Queens would almost make it into the top 20 itself that was Proviudence RI with 175K.


Posted by Cincinatus | January 22, 2008 4:34 PM

Thank you Andrew @28, somebody who "gets it" re density. Too many Stranger staffers, not to mention no-nothings like the aptly named "whatever", seem to think that density is a unique factor limited to a small island in the middle of Seattle.

They ignore the fact that rail can be a density-builder, and that we are going to need dense urban centers in locations outside of mid-Seattle, yes, in areas as far away as Federal Way.

Not everyone who wants to (or needs to) live or work in a dense community is going to make the treck all the way to the middle of Seattle.

Posted by Perfect Voter | January 22, 2008 4:35 PM

Excuse me, my @33 post should be directed to Andrew at 30.

Posted by Perfect Voter | January 22, 2008 4:36 PM

Andrew are you inept or trying to get (keep)a pr job at ST.

In 1890 Brooklyn had a population of over 800,000. You know, like more than Seattle today.

Queens was about 128,000 in 1890.

From Wiki "The heavily industrialized Long Island City was one of the three cities whose approval was necessary to create the City of Greater New York in 1898."

Like the heavily industrialized city of Fife?

Posted by whatever | January 22, 2008 4:49 PM

P.V. - could you point out where a ST2 type system has produced the kind of density that reduces energy use, provides urban advantages, increases transit usage share, or whatever you think transit should accomplish?

You seriously think that building the ST2 line will encourage density that makes a difference. Sure there will be a little more density in S. Federal Way, Fife and other proposed stops but mostly it will help people get further from the density of the urban core before they get in their car and drive even further. Check on how many housing units have been built outside the UGB. I think Sightline has something on that.

Posted by whatever | January 22, 2008 5:20 PM

Cleve Stockmeyer. The poster boy for transportation chaos, and flaky ideology-based decision making.

Here's Cleve & Talmadge LLC friend at Kemper Development Corp, expounding on the need for an elected regional board. "Top-down approach", eh, Cleve?

In November, the Regional Transportation Commission issued a draft report pointing out flaws in the central Puget Sound's "broken" transportation planning and governance system. The RTC draft report noted that our region's transportation crisis is caused by two primary factors: a history of underfunding transportation and the absence of a unified regional transportation governance system.

The report said our region's transportation governance system, consisting of more than 100 agencies, delivers inadequate results. The RTC report said the present problems are the consequence of having "too many well-meaning cooks in the kitchen with no one empowered" as an overall decision-maker. It's no wonder so many people view much of our transportation system with distrust and skepticism.

Congestion is the problem and we can do something about it. But first our political leaders must devise a plan to make things better, not less worse. We need a top-down approach.

Posted by Bonzo | January 22, 2008 6:24 PM

"What do you fear about elections and accountability? It guarantees that we will build something IF voters support it and we won't IF they don't. That's called democracy."

Last time I checked, the campaign Cleve Stockmeyer affiliated himself with was "Transit Over Roads."

Now, a bill has been proposed in Olympia to chain roads to transit forever, and Cleve thinks it's a neat idea.

At least TRY to stay consistent with your values, Cleve.

And, in the meanwhile, how's about dropping the faux accountability b.s., and acknowledging this effort for what it really is: roads over transit.

And Cleve, while we're on the subject of roads over transit, weren't you the guy who filed suit on behalf of Aurora Ave. Merchants (ie, car dealers) who fought bus rapid transit lanes on SR-99, because it took away merchants' parking (for their used cars)?

Just wondering.

Posted by Bonzo | January 22, 2008 6:51 PM

Haugen dissolves RTID, proposes regional transportation governance
OLYMPIA — Two separate bills are being introduced by the chair of the Senate Transportation Committee to redefine how transportation is governed at the regional level in Washington.

...Meanwhile, Haugen is gathering support from legislators throughout the state for a proposal that would enable each part of Washington to create its own Regional Transportation Authority to address their specific road and transit needs.

The proposal includes expanding the existing Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority — commonly known as Sound Transit — into a Regional Transportation Authority. While the new Regional Transportation Authority won’t have expanded boundaries, it would have expanded project eligibility to include both roads and transit, a new governing board that would include both appointed and elected members, and broader financing options that include the ability to combine road and transit revenue.

Posted by Bonzo | January 22, 2008 6:54 PM

What is it with this debate? We need rail in the corridors where Sound Transit wants to build rail. There's no question at all about that - we don't have any more capacity, and it's a ton cheaper to build new capacity in rail than in roads. We don't have the rail choice at all right now, and in every case where similar corridors get rail, they use it, often more than expected.

Voters rejected Roads and Transit after the legislature meddled with the two agencies going to ballot. RTID exists to help the state out - but now that the state has put the region in a bad situation, it's up to the state to fund their highways. Sound Transit is regional, and it's up to us to vote for a Sound Transit package without any more Olympia meddling before we make any changes.

Posted by Ben Schiendelman | January 22, 2008 7:01 PM

Down is Tacoma, the newspaper is playing this as a growth in authority for Sound Transit.

Here's how it ought to be playing: State Legislature Ducks State Highway Needs, Tells Locals It's Their Job, yet Interferes with Local Decisions.

This legislation is all mixed up. Legislators are trying to have it all their way: Duck Yet Direct. New high paying jobs for people who graduate from the legislature to local government.

It used to be that the legislature was accountable for state highways. Now they are attempting to confuse accountability by sharing it with locals. It is a fingerpointing mess of anything goes wrong.

The answer back: all or nothing. If you want true accountability and you aren't willing to step up, step aside.

Posted by redflag | January 22, 2008 8:06 PM

1890 was not the first time they built rail out to Brooklyn you bunch of rubes!

The first ran rail to Brooklyn in 1830, long before they got to 1.2mn dumbass.

And why did Brooklyn go from 50,000 in 1830 to 1.2mn in 1890 as you point the fuck out?


Don't be fucking morons!!!!

Posted by Andrew | January 22, 2008 9:09 PM

Andrew's dead on.

The New York and Harlem railroad, the first streetcar in the US, opened in 1832. The Brooklyn and Jamaica railroad opened in 1832 as well, and then became part of the Long Island Rail Road in 1836.

Posted by Ben Schiendelman | January 22, 2008 9:34 PM

I'm digging a little more, and railroads to Philadelphia and Baltimore were also well on their way in 1830.

Posted by Ben Schiendelman | January 22, 2008 9:36 PM

Perhaps this explains why we have such a bad plan. There is confusion about railroads and transit. ST is building something much more like a railroad than transit. Railroads connected cities and villages in the mid to late 19th Century. Transit began to be built with powered vehicles in the late 19th Century and heavy rail in the early 20th Century.

OK NY built a railroad in the 1830's. They had no cars or trucks only wagons so they built a railroad which was their freeway not their transit.

Streetcars in 1830 were horse powered and in the city. They built transit in the city not out to the countryside.

The first transit rail lines were built to serve the densest areas of the area not to Connecticut.

Population increases were more to do with distance from Manhattan than the rail lines.

Andrew if you want to keep that ST pr job, you need to reduce the anger and pick up on the facts.

Posted by whatever | January 22, 2008 9:57 PM

I don't have a PR job (obviously I'm a huge fucking asshole), I'm a dev at microsoft (hence the repressed anger... and hours spent on the internet). I'm also hopped up on a ton of pain pills after breaking my back.

I just disagree that we shouldn't build rail to less dense areas because they are less dense now, because rail will create density there. Like you, I would rather have rail to Ballard before Federal Way, and to West Seattle before Lynnwood, but to Federal Way is still useful.

But I can't convince you so I am happy to just disagree whatever.

Posted by Andrew | January 22, 2008 11:41 PM


ST is building small, two to four car light rail trains. Yes, technology and speed has evolved since the 1830s. We also have a lot more people here now than NY had in the 1830s - and so we need a bit more than horse-drawn streetcars.

This whole argument that we don't need rail is just mad. What do you expect? How expensive does oil have to get? How expensive does our food have to get as we siphon it into our gas tanks? We have all this free hydroelectric energy and we have these concentrated corridors where our congestion is worst.

Arguing against transit now is like arguing against electricity in the beginning of the 20th century. Just accept that yeah, cities are allowed to build rail and tax themselves for it. I'm sure if you had a road project you wanted built, you wouldn't want Olympia siphoning money off of that.

Posted by Ben Schiendelman | January 23, 2008 12:07 AM

One of the silly things about this post is the cherry-picked quote about ending ST. Yes, the existing ST would be dissolved, because the entire agency would be transferred to and included in the regional commission.

Read the entire bill, SB5803, which undoubtedly will be the backbone of any new legislation on this topic.

Posted by serial catowner | January 23, 2008 6:04 AM

@ 48

I think you are wrong. 5803 is so last year. There's a new bill that only applies to the Sound Transit district, gives Sound Transit new taxing authority and the ability to spend it on roads and transit, with a new Board of 12, secen of whom are directly elected just like Port commissioners.

It renames the Regional Transit Authority the Regional Transportation Authority, which is a ruse, because the new entity would not have any authority over what the state spends regional transportation dollars on, no authority over tolling, and no ability to contain costs incurred by the state transportation department.

It basically turns Sound Transit into an RTID. It is a way for state legislators to buck responsibility for adequately funding state highways to locals they want to control.

Posted by redflag | January 23, 2008 7:19 AM

Ben - as civil as I can be. I don't support an expansion of roads. Yes some of the bottleneck stuff but no big projects, particularly ones that make for more cars in Seattle.

What I want is transit serving the densest areas first and encouraging more density in the core not little islands of semi-density throughout the region.

Our hydro power is pretty much being used now and electric trains use a lot. We should be building some alternative generation with some of our public investment funds. The greatest reduction in carbon based fuels for people movement will not come from transit but from better vehicle propulsion systems including plug in electics. ST2 for $23 billion YOE was predicted to take 37,500 people off the road out of a population of over 4,000,000, not so good.

Yes cities should be allowed to build rail - the key word cities - but it should serve the city The railroads of 1830 and on were not designed to provide commuters a way to work, students a way to school or a trip to he theater. In general, these were built for commerce and transportation.

The streetcars were built for transit in the cities. We should be emulating in-city transit like the subways and elevated that were started in the late 19th C. and early 20th C. not long line or short line railroads.

Ben perhaps you should tell your employer that they should build office space in Seattle where half their workers want to and do live. MSFT adding 20,000 work spaces on the Eastside when they know at least half their workers want to live in urban Seattle is well, wrong.

Posted by whatever | January 23, 2008 7:24 AM

Red - the distain for elected governments is so Eyman. It's funny that his initiaives are so distained by the Goldy/Josh/ECB/ and so-called progressives but they don't want an (partially) elected board to exist for the biggest issue facing local governance. The primary differnce between the Port and a transit agency is the level of attention people pay to the functions they govern.

Ask all around you how traffic or transit was that day and you probably will get some answer. Ask them how the Port functioned today and you will get the deer in the headlights stare.

In addition, since just under half will be appointed, you will retain the only indirectly accountable appointees that remain after the appointer is no longer in office.

Having people vote once for the next 30 to 50 years of transit infrastructure that they don't understand may not be the best approach. Read the polls on what people thought they were voting on.

Posted by whatever | January 23, 2008 7:43 AM

Serial catowner: With a board elected by people who believe that roads will end traffic, and suddenly the ability of transit funding to be used for roads instead, do you really believe we're not going to lose transit to roads?

Posted by Ben Schiendelman | January 23, 2008 8:35 AM

whatever- the new york and harlem railroad was passenger, as were most of the other suburban railroads built in that time.

The arbitrary borders of a city do not determine where commuters come from - that's why transit is county and regional.

I understand you're anti-growth. That's fine, but that means you make decisions that nobody else agrees with. Most people want to have children.

Posted by Ben Schiendelman | January 23, 2008 8:38 AM

Ben and Andrew: don't waste your time on whatever. He talks a good game, but he does a better job of twisting the facts to suit his own fringe ideology.

For instance, if you want to see how ideology clouds his views, check out whatever's long running incessant whining about the high cost of light rail in Seattle, and then his proposed "solution": much more expensive Heavy Rail.
But to cement his myopic approach, whatever compares heavy rail costs in other cities (the flat ones, apparently) to light rail costs in topographically-challenged Puget Sound. His conclusion: heavy rail would be cheaper here. (apparently, whatever forgot to check the cost per mile of BART and DC Metro extensions.)

If this isn't the mark of a grudge-driven ideologue, I don't know what is.

Whatever is a fine example of the Seattle perma-whiner. If the guvmt is for it, he's against it. Tim Eyman's frigging base. I can't wait for whatever to start explaining how Timmy's latest brilliant transportation initiative is "going to solve congestio." For free. By synching up traffic lights, and opening up HOV lanes to make sure the sov driver has a permanent sense of pavement entitlement.

Whatever's Discovery Institute mumbo-jumbo reminds me of the weird mindmelt which delivered monorail to this city. Who cares what the professionals say: God has annointed our local Sisyphusian armchair planner as his earthly self-centered transport planner.

Whatever still hasn't explained how he plans to get 4/5ths of the region to pay for Seattle's (1/5th) transit system.

As I stated on the last thread: maybe this phony should start his windmill-tilting with KC Metro, which sends 80% of its new service out side of Seattle and Shoreline.

Posted by Brandon | January 23, 2008 8:51 AM

@51: So, your argument is:

1) We should concentrate new light rail construction in the city of Seattle.

2) We should spread the costs so people in the suburbs pay for Seattle's transit.

3) We should accomplish this political sea change by switching to an elected governance board with geographic representation.

I'm sensing a disconnect here.

Posted by J.R. | January 23, 2008 9:30 AM

The new governance reform bill has hit the street:


Posted by MHD | January 23, 2008 9:31 AM

JR, DISCONNECT (fueled by ignorance) is what drives the axe-grinding perma-complainers. The state of permanent disconnect results from making the facts fit a pre-determined outcome or always-present ideology. My views on a lot of these issues have changed because of good points or data others have presented. You can tell whatever's main goal is to fend off any challenge to his weird - and often contradictory - views. Speaking of which:

"ST is building something much more like a railroad than transit."

Whatever might want to do his thread-thin credibility a favor, and go back to the pile of legislation which created the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Agency back in the early 90's. Hint: their mission does not resemble whatever's wonderful Disneyland-Ballard monorail project.

"The primary differnce between the Port and a transit agency is the level of attention people pay to the functions they govern. Ask all around you how traffic or transit was that day and you probably will get some answer. Ask them how the Port functioned today and you will get the deer in the headlights stare."

Like most of his attempts at "analysis" you can tell whatever is just pulling most of this stuff out of a hat. A very airy and spacious hat.

In this case, whatever speculation/guesstimation kicks into high gear. In Denver, polling from a couple years ago indicated only a tiny percentage of the public knew who their elected RTD member is. Light rail haters drool over this prospect.
God knows conservative elements in this town (if you can count someone who defends Tim Eyman as "conservative") know they can't get any of their cave-dwelling brethren elected to a board people actually pay attention to!

How do you think Alec Fisken got booted off the Port Commission at the exact same time people thought more oversight was warranted? I wonder if Cleve and whatever (serial catowner, are you stoned today?) could explain to us how a six-year term, 600k district and six-figure salary lead us down the path of accountability.

Posted by Brandon | January 23, 2008 10:15 AM

Look, the fringe right and loony left just want a seat at the table. I can understand that.

Nutcase activists like whatever want an elected transportation board because they know Kemper Freeman will buy an election or two for their unique band of blue blood old Seattle cranks. The fringies know they will be able to stroll into whacko RTC Councilmember Maggi Fimia or Jim Horn's office, and sit down with their feet up on the shiny new walnut desk to chat about the latest million bucks Kemper Freeman spent to tell Seattle it needs to get going with his vision of a double-decked I-5.

Or, they can discuss the latest Advanced Transit Association / Discovery Institute convention held in Seattle, to explore the possibility of blowing another decade or two on "innovative" transportation alternatives to light rail. You know, those stupid Jetsons bubble cars the anti-light rail kooks like to flirt with.

Delay, delay, delay. Delaying the inevitable is all whatever and his ilk have to hope for.

Okay. Done ranting. Idiots tend to set me off. Sorry. I'm headed out to enjoy the sunshine.

Posted by Brandon | January 23, 2008 10:19 AM

Brandon (and aliases),

My comment was that heavy rail would have been a better choice for the kind of system ST is building, since except for RV no at grade segment is planned which is the only place LRT has an advantage. With a suface area that is about 35% smaller than LR tunnels, heavy rail tunnels would be less expensive to build. The 3.1 mile tunnel will cost (after the last increase estimate last Fall) $566 million per mile with only 2 stations.

"The $1.5 billion extension of BART southward to San Francisco International Airport's (SFO) Garage G, adjacent to the International Terminal, was opened to the public on June 22, 2003. Ground was broken on the project in November 1997, adding four new stations including the SFO station, in South San Francisco, San Bruno, and Millbrae...The airport extension project added 8.7 miles (14 km) of new railway; 6.1 miles (10 km) of subway, 1.2 miles (2 km) of aerial, and 1.4 miles (2 km) of at-grade track

Can you see that this is not more expensive than Seattle's wimpy LR? These are longer, wider trains and bigger stations (with smaller tunnels at 17'10' vs. 21' for ST). Do you get it? A bigger better system for about the same money as ST but no at grade section that mixes with people and they did without a "free" downtown tunnel.

Personal attacks are the red flag of someone that is losing the debate. Perhaps you can dredge out another name to attack and agree with yourself.

Posted by whatever | January 23, 2008 11:16 AM

@60: I can't find the post by "aliases" that you cite. Can you give me the number?

Posted by J.R. | January 23, 2008 11:47 AM

As usual, whatever is making up numbers as he goes along.

The BART airport extension figure (actually $1.7 billion) was cited in 1997 dollars. And since it was an extension, the dollar amount was for track capital only - no operations, no new vehicles, no operations and maintenance base. Natch, when whatever "compares" Seattle's light rail start-up with SF's BART extension, he ignores these minor details. Whatever is comparing cherries to watermelons. So, what else is new?

The ~15 mile BART extension from Fremont to San Jose and Santa Clara is pegged at $4.7 billion, and they get to use a huge section of abandoned UP/WP freight right of way. Caltrain advocates say commuter rail could do it for half the cost. Of course, none of this means anything, because there isn't any abandoned rail right of way running through Wallingford. And there is virtually zero opportunity to build fully grade-separated third rail BART-style trains around here....without incurring huge tunneling costs.

Again, whatever claims a less-flexible technology is a better idea than light rail, which can be elevated, tunneled, or on the ground - either fully or partially grade separated. Flexibility is key when the topography is challenging, funds are limited, and when you're planning a system in a built, urban environment, surrounded by very expensive dirt.

Keep in mind, from a per-car perspective, BART train capacity (A,B,C and C2 cars) is actually less than Sound Transit's light rail vehicles. Seating is about the same, but "crush load" is Of course, BART's trainsets are longer, making platforms twice as long (thus twice the cost) as Sound Transit stations. Details, details.

Another small detail, and the foundation for fundamentally flawed whatever thinking, head to toe: the decision on light rail over medium/heavy rail was made decades ago. Building separate stand-alone systems is absurd from a number of different standpoints.

Unfortunately, we are treated to a certain personality trait around here - people who can't let go of things. Maybe it's that stuck-in-the-mud Scandinavian thing. Why think about the future, when you're always obsessing with the past? Right, whatever?

Posted by Brandon | January 23, 2008 2:24 PM

More examples of whatever's "easy and inexpensive" third rail hijinx:

Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project to Tysons Corner (Phase 1): 11 miles, $2.5 billion (2005 $) -

Keep in mind, this is the cost for an operations bases, no trains. 90% at-grade track. And only a very, very short tunnel. Not a brand new start-up like what Sound Transit is doing.

But, I'm sure this will only set the whatever disinformation machine into high gear. The more people prove he's wrong, the more he spins and flails...digging his hole even deeper.

It's fun to watch, at least.

Posted by Brandon | January 23, 2008 2:46 PM

"Personal attacks are the red flag of someone that is losing the debate. Perhaps you can dredge out another name to attack and agree with yourself."

I could really care less whether I win or lose a debate, whatever.

What I do care about is the fact you spread truckloads of indefensible bs across the Slog.

If you want to spin your mental wheels with some grudge you developed 20 years ago, go ahead an knock yerself out.

But how's about grounding the weird obsession in at least a little slice of reality? Is that too much to ask?

Posted by Brandon | January 23, 2008 2:59 PM

Let's see ST extension $200 million in 2007 dollars and DC extension $227 in 2005 dollars with how much longer trains and stations? How much faster? How much longer and wider are their trains.

Bart was $1.5 billion up 42% and four years late. As opposed to ST up 80% and the toughest 1/3 of the system to go and 3 years late in opening the easy 2/3.

Light rail was decided on in 1995 based on the price of $80 million per mile while in fact we
are going to pay well over $200 per mile. Maybe had the ridiculously low chump estimate been exposed at the time we would have picked the better system.

Posted by whatever | January 23, 2008 5:00 PM

Don't trust any numbers or logic from whatever. He was a big booster of the failed monorail with its 90 foot stations, stupid promises--opening day, Dec. 15, 2007!, and Mr. Joel Horn. Despite the need for mass transit, incompetents like whatever couldn't build a Thomas the Tank Engine set...

Posted by tiptoe tommy | January 23, 2008 8:14 PM

Using Tiptoe for your closing name?

Please let us know what numbers are wrong and provide a link to proof. Try to stay away from Lightrailnow or or your other holy rail sites.

KC Metro just announced another banner year for bus ridership.

You keep mentioning the monorail - does it bother you that a one mile system carries more fare paying riders than any light rail in the region?

Posted by whatever | January 24, 2008 8:10 AM

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