City Sound Transit: Opening A(nother) Dialogue
posted by April 25 at 14:55 PMon
So Sound Transit decided yesterday to move forward with a plan… to start planning. Yesterday afternoon, the Sound Transit board voted to get public input on two different potential ballot measures—one that would increase sales taxes an average of $100 per household per year, and one that would raise them an average of $125.
I know the board wants to avoid an electoral debacle like last year’s failed roads and transit ballot measure, but I wish they’d just pick a plan. (Personally, I think the higher number makes more sense because it allows ST to serve more people, but the difference between a 0.4 percent sales tax increase and a 0.5 percent sales tax increase is pretty negligible—and certainly not enough to convince folks who would never have voted for transit in the first place.)
And seriously—hasn’t this already been surveyed, focus-grouped, and polled to death? Show me a person in this region who doesn’t have an opinion on light rail and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t vote anyway. Public input—fine. But no amount of temperature-taking is going to reach the citizens ST board member Julia Patterson referred to yesterday as “the average [people] living on the cul-de-sac” if they don’t take an interest. Sound Transit should say “fuck ‘em” and move forward this year, when Democratic voter turnout is going to break records.
As an aside: Times reporter Mike Lindblom (whom I like and respect a lot) had one line in his story that was a bit misleading. Lindblom quoted Seattle Mayor and ST board chair Greg Nickels as saying that all the tolls being proposed around the state “require that we create an alternative to driving, and paying an $8 toll.” According to my notes, what Nickels actually said was, “the governor and others have talked about tolling and congestion pricing as one strategy, and I applaud that, but I think it’s important that we take the steps first to provide an alternative to driving alone and paying an $8 toll… When we ask [drivers] to pay to cross 520 or other corridors or the whole system, I think we have to give them choices about how they travel and what they will pay.” Seen in context, Nickels’s comment was pro-transit and pro-tolls; Lindblom’s truncation makes it sound like Nickels considers tolls an unreasonably onerous burden.