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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Governance Reform (AKA Turn Sound Transit into a Transit and Roads Agency) Dead for Now

posted by on February 12 at 15:10 PM

The state senate bill to morph Sound Transit into a roads and transit agency wiped out in the transportation committee after a contentious meeting this afternoon—the final day to move bills out of committee.

Indeed, the meeting was so contentious, the bill’s sponsor (and the chair of the committee, Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-10, Camano Island) didn’t even call for a vote. Sen. Haugen tried to move it out of committee yesterday as well.

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Contrary as it may sound, it's a good thing that ST/RTID won't be morphing into a super-ST.

ST is a great idea - although it would be nice if it had some or all of its board members directly elected - by population vote, not by geographical sub-area.

But cobbling on RTID is just another excuse to build more roads, instead of what we need to do: repair and rebuild existing roads and bridges and ferries, but not build new non-transit roads other than new HOV (or possibly HOV plus plug-in-hybrid 60+ mpg lanes).

And double transit everywhere (including areas where transit is at 50 percent or above capacity during rush hours), while extending service hours and increasing frequency.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 12, 2008 3:26 PM

I did read the bill and there was nothing in it about having electeds based on counties as previously reported here. Instead, they were going to be elected based on districts drawn to reflect the one person one vote principle. I believe that's what Wis means by referring to elections by population not geographic areas.

It's too bad ST resists having elected board members. They could've gotten out in front and supported this -- it would be a reassuring selling point in any ballot measure they propose this year.

Democracy is viewed favorably, and directly elected board members are more democratic.

Posted by Cleve | February 12, 2008 3:38 PM

Directly-elected boards for public corporations invite short-sighted decisions and fraud (see the Port of Seattle). I don't want our 25-year transportation plan to change every 4 years with the election cycle. I want stability. I want real analysis of transit alternatives. I want what we have now.

Haugen's bill is not the answer. Sound Transit had its difficulties but is a first-class organization now. Why tear apart a good thing?

Posted by Jon K. | February 12, 2008 6:04 PM

#3 - Sound Transit isn't and never will be a first class organization. The "we've had our heads up our asses but NOW we have our shit together and deserve more money" line from Sound Transit has been stale for at least five years.

I say Sound Transit can fuck off, along with all the cash cow interests that win big from its endless delays and budget overruns at public expense.

Posted by Creek | February 12, 2008 9:01 PM

Sound Transit has delivered scores of projects on time and on budget, but where your head is "Creek", you won't see any of those (nor much daylight...)

As far as an elected board, Cleve, they are fine, indeed a must, for General Purpose Government -- City Councils, County Councils, State Legislatures, etc. etc. But time after time, we have examples of electeds screwing up at the "minor" agencies, the special-purpose, single-purpose agencies they head -- Port Commissions, School Boards, etc. Why on earth would subject our transportation network to such a risk? You want a Transportation Commission run like the Port of Seattle or the Seattle School District??? You must still be drinking that same kind of kook-aid they had over at the monorail.

Posted by Transit Guy | February 12, 2008 9:29 PM

#5 - Fair enough. Do please enlighten me with one or two examples of Sound Transit's "scores of projects on time and on budget."

Posted by Creek | February 12, 2008 11:07 PM

creek: waste your long-standing grudge on some other issue. How's about off -leash dog parks? Sound good? Good.

And how's about fellow pathetic monorail goof, Cleve Stockmeyer. The guy who decried "transit over roads" when his project was on the line.

Yet, when the freeway-friendly legislature wants to hook pavement to transit forever, and re-program light rail money for Repblikan freeways, Cleve is all over it.

Stick a fork in it, Cleve. Your flaky brand of pointless transportation politics peaked in 2004.

It's time to actually build something.

Posted by Blammo! | February 13, 2008 2:46 AM

I'm convinced. Now, how about giving one or two examples of Sound Transit's projects that it started (not just took over from some existing agency) and completed on time and on budget?

Again, someone tell me what Sound Transit has actually built on time and on budget? Cat got your tongue?

Posted by Creek | February 13, 2008 8:15 AM

Fuck off, Creek. Brian Sonntag just released a glowing Eyman-audit report praising the agency. As you know, Sonntag is no pushover.

ST's projects are coming in on time and under budget - that's obvious. Get out of your basement for once and go look at the progress. Seen the work by SeaTac? It's progressing well.

Got a problem with what's going on at the agency, "Creek?" You have an obligation to sue. Go ahead, sue and see how that "budget" you think is being blown holds up where it matters: in a court of law.

Posted by railfan | February 13, 2008 10:03 AM

Time's up. The rabid Sound Transit boosters here who responded to my question do talk mighty tough with their name calling and swearing at me for asking a reasonable question, yet still not a one of them could cite an example of a Sound Transit project completed on time and on budget.

How truly impotent and sad...

Posted by Creek | February 13, 2008 11:14 AM

Creek, the only thing impotent and sad is you. Transit users throughout King, Pierce and Snohomish counties are already enjoying nearly two dozen Sound Transit transportation improvement projects. The COMPLETED projects range from stations, to park-and-ride lots to HOV access ramps. And these came in UNDER budget:

Ash Way Park-and-Ride
Ash Way Transit Access
Auburn Station
Bellevue HOV Access
Bellevue Rider Services Building
Bellevue Transit Center
Canyon Park Freeway Station/I-405
DuPont Station/Wilmington Dr.
Eastgate Freeway Station
Federal Way HOV Access
Federal Way Transit Center
I-90 Sunset Interchange Project
Issaquah Highlands Park-and-Ride
Kent Station
King Street Station
Lynnwood HOV Access
Lynnwood Transit Center
Lynnwood/SR 99 Transit Lanes
Overlake Transit Center
Pacific Ave Overpass
Puyallup Station
Redmond Way Improvements
Sammamish Park-and-Ride/228th S.E.
South Hill Park-and-Ride
SR-900 Park-and-Ride Arterial Improvements
Redondo Heights Park-and-Ride/SR-99
Sumner Station
Tacoma Dome Station - Parking
Tacoma Link
Totem Lake Freeway Station/NE 128th
Woodinville Arterial HOV Enhancements
Yarrow Point Stop Improvements

Now, since I've done some research for you, you do some reseach for me.

You whine about some budget being blown. Go ahead, give us a link to this "budget" you think ST is exceeding.

Here's a hint, there is no budget ST is over. The agency is well within all budgets. And you can't prove otherwise.

You and your asphalt-loving pals are spending so much time in circle jerks praising W/Rummy's war that you've failed to see the successes here at home. Or maybe you just don't want to see . . ..

Posted by railfan | February 13, 2008 11:45 AM

"railfan", you assume that anyone who questions the management, and/or cost/efficiency of Sound Transit projects must be a Republican.

It's just not so.

Fiscal accountability, cost-effectiveness, and the comparison to what else we could be doing with the $$$ that it takes to fund light rail are not subjects exclusive to Republicans, but to thinking citizens that realize that we have a FINITE amount of taxing authority that the public CAN or WILL bear...

Posted by gimmeabrk | February 15, 2008 2:24 PM

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