2008 What the Transit Vote Means
posted by November 6 at 12:56 PMon
Seattle Transit Blog writers recently issued a couple of mea culpas to me, The Stranger in general, and former news editor Josh Feit, who they (and lots and lots and lots of other transit supporters) trashed last year for saying we should vote against roads and transit and hold out for a transit-only package. What they’re referring to is stuff like this:
Oh and the anti-Prop. 1 post? Ms Barnett of the Stranger in her usual form. Not much analysis there other than assuming it will fail without much evidence, and calling anyone who endorses Prop. 1 a “defeatist”. Nice. I wonder which of the three here actually thought this issue through more seriously?
Josh Feit of The Stranger has a very kooky argument against the RTID. … We can’t sit and wait for the perfect proposal that pleases everyone, we have to accept what will make the best compromise and move forward from there.
Erica C Barnett at the Stranger wrote a piece lauding the Sierra Club for fighting against Prop. 1, and then turning around to lobby Sound Transit into put “station access funds” in place of park-and-rides for suburban stations. Station access funds could be spent on anything, including parking, but the use is decided by the local government and not prescribed by Sound Transit.
Nice idea, but I find this piece extremely self-congratulatory and completely off-mark, Erica wrote the piece as if Sound Transit 2 had passed already …This could end up a complete waste of time, since it’s looking ever less certain we’ll get a ballot measure this year. In fact, I think the odds are slipping past even as I write this, if they haven’t already. I’ll congratulate the Sierra Club when they actually endorse a plan that passes.
While I’m glad fellow transit proponents are acknowledging, belatedly, that we were right (Goldy wrote a sweet mea culpa a few months ago, so I’m only picking on the Transit Bloggers here), it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that in a high-turnout, heavily Democratic election, voters in the Puget Sound region—which is about to get light rail next year from Seattle to the airport—would support expanding transit now. The economy may be bad, but people are optimistic; and optimistic people are capable of seeing beyond the next year or two (and beyond their narrow interests.) The era of big road-building projects is over. The voters know that, and they want alternatives. They got them Tuesday night.
Or, as Sierra Club chairman Mike O’Brien put it,
Last year, a $5 million campaign in good economic times to pass Roads and Transit failed. This year, a $750,000 campaign in bad economic times to finance more transit passed. The difference — no climate-changing roads. When the voters defeated Roads and Transit last year, they weren’t just saying bring back light rail, they were also saying bring us realistic transportation solutions that help solve global warming.