Build rail now

Is Osama bin Laden’s Bush-aided victory destroying the American way of life? Apparently, that is, if you’re vision of American prosperity is one of endless suburban sprawl:

A Portland economist predicts that buyers soon will choose where to live based on what they would spend for gasoline.

That, eventually, will devalue suburban housing while strengthening in-city home prices, says Joe Cortright, whose Portland consulting firm, Impresa, recently released a report saying as much to U.S. mayors.

“The new calculus of higher gas prices may have permanently reshaped urban housing markets,” said Cortright, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit Washington, D.C., think tank. “What this really means is that as people move, they’re going to look for places that enable them to drive shorter distances and avoid places where they have to drive a lot.

I know conventional wisdom still suggests that now is the wrong time for Sound Transit to come back with a ballot measure, just one year after the defeat of Prop 1, but the conventional wise men are missing the point: 2008 isn’t 2007. The era of cheap gas is over, and Americans—even Seattle-Americans (and yes, I know, Seattle is different from every other city in the world)—are beginning to change their behavior in response. Voters get that, even if our politicians and editorialists don’t.

Traffic congestion has far from disappeared as a volatile political issue, but public demand for affordable transportation alternatives is rising at least as fast as the price of gas. And the thing is, whether it’s cheaper and more efficient or not, when current drivers envision their future mass transit commute, they much prefer to envision themselves riding on a train, than on a bus. People like trains; that’s a fact. And if I were an elected official, I’d probably want to focus on delivering the services that the people want.

And need. And without a doubt, we need to extend light rail north, at least to Northgate, and east to Bellevue and eventually Redmond, providing reliable, comfortable and affordable transit both within and between our densest population and work centers. Congestion pricing and increased bus service alone may ease the region’s traffic problems, but it sure as hell won’t make people happy.

So put a light rail measure on the ballot and give us people the opportunity to vote yea or nay. And if it fails, come back again in 2009, when gas is pushing $6 gallon or higher. Eventually, the market will change our behavior… even at the polls.

Comments

  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The fact gas costs $4.50 is not a reason to build an absurdly expensive mode of mass transportation and pay for it with a regressive tax on senior citizens who will never ride on it. We need more mass transit, yes, but we need rational mass transit, not a white elephant that costs 6 to 8 times as much as any other city pays for mass transit, financed by taxing those least able to afford it instead of making commuters pay for it.

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Sound Transit wants to spend $2.5 billion on a 5-mile-long tunnel from the U. District to Northgate. They intend to provide only 7,000 parking spaces on the other side of the freeway but expect 220,000 people a day to ride that segment. You will have to park at a park’n’ride within walking distance of your home and ride a bus to the light rail station in order to ride on light rail! The closer you look at ST’s light rail schemes, the more idiotic they are.

    It’s going to take them 20 years to dig and build this contraption. Why? Because the construction schedule is dictated by the rate at which sales tax revenues trickle in, not community needs. No one else builds public projects this way. They sell bonds and build the damn things. It didn’t take FDR 20 years to build Grand Coulee Dam. It didn’t take WSDOT 20 years to build the second Narrows bridge — they didn’t go to Lowe’s and buy one girder and a box of rivets every 6 months.

    We need more buses, and we need them now The buses are standing room only, and soon they’ll be left-standing-on-the-curb. There aren’t enough buses. There aren’t enough routes. They don’t run frequently enough. The routes aren’t close enough together. They don’t serve enough neighborhoods. And buses don’t cost $500 million a mile, and you don’t have to wait 20 years to get them.

  3. 3

    YLB spews:

    First things first. Let’s re-elect Christine Gregoire. At the same time we badly need to focus on electing progressive Dems to the legislature.

    The State has fiscal chaos every two years which gets worse when the business cycle turns south. Gregoire’s funding of badly needed programs using sin taxes and the like was ill-advised.

    We badly need tax reform. We need an income tax like 43 other freaking states. We need sales tax and property tax relief. We don’t have to be another Taxachussetts, New York or California. We can be right in the middle of the pack as far as our tax burden goes.

    With a good fiscal base to go on, we can do transit programs the right way.

    But silly right wing KLOWNS like Juvenal at (un)SP and Mr. Cynical keep calling it a tax increase. Fear-mongering losers. What’s wrong with a tax increase if it goes to things everyone needs like better schools and transporation?

  4. 4

    spews:

    Roger,

    Your generational argument holds no water with me. Past generations built the infrastructure we now enjoy. We have a generational obligation to build infrastructure for future generations. Planning ahead… that’s one of the things that makes us human.

    So yes… you and many others might not survive to enjoy the rail system your taxes are building. Deal with it.

    As for your argument about parking spaces in Northgate, you’ve got no idea what you’re talking about. One of the points about going to Northgate is to use that as a terminus for hundreds of buses that are now driving all the way in to downtown Seattle. Northgate becomes a transit hub, with buses feeding the trains. And high capacity rail frees up buses to run more frequently, and on more routes.

  5. 5

    The Real Mark spews:

    Roadkill @ 2

    Well, well… Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and then.

    Goldy @ 4

    I don’t have the cite here (and don’t have the time or interest to look it up), but I recall reading that the projects of the past were done more quickly, with better quality and for less (dollar adjusted) cost than current projects.

    Why shouldn’t we give money to these projects? Because they don’t have hard-and-fast deliverables. They’re all studies and plans and plans-to-plan and “initial stages” that never get completed or are heavily back-loaded (and screw the public later).

  6. 6

    The Real Mark spews:

    YLB @ 3

    Democrats cannot be trusted with ANY new tax. They WILL NOT give you any sales or property tax relief. They won’t eliminate the B&O. They will simply add another “revenue stream” so that they can inch up each one of them a little bit instead of showing the public that they’re being robbed blind. 1% here, 1% there… now, now… that’s not so bad… If they ever put all of the tax increases in one summarized table, not only would Christine and the Dems be voted out of office, but there would be angry hordes with torches. Until then, we have useful idiots like you.

  7. 7

    YLB spews:

    6 – You’ve been saying that for years. No sale. Just more propaganda and more name-calling.

    If people are engaged, they’ll elect those who will do the right thing.

    The only thing Republicans know how to do is reward their rich benefactors with tax breaks and no-bid contracts.

    If they ever put all of the tax increases in one summarized table, not only would Christine and the Dems be voted out of office, but there would be angry hordes with torches

    You mean Dino hasn’t done this yet? Knock yourself out. Bet it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference in November because like Dino and the BIAW you’re lying right through your smiling face.

    Remember what you can get away with if only you smile while you’re doing it.

  8. 8

    The Real Mark spews:

    YLB @ 7

    Show me ONE Dem income tax proposal or even a campaign promise that says they will PERMANENTLY WIPE OUT the sales tax, property tax, corporate tax and/or the B&O tax. Everthing I’ve ever seen from the Dems has said “cut” this tax or that one, but never ELIMINATE. And if they can cut a tax, they can raise it right back again.

    We’re talking state politics at the moment. Sooo… I presume you really meant that the only thing DEMS know how to do is reward the unions and tribes that fund their campaigns.

    P.S. That isn’t my smiling face… or anyone else’s. It is actually Goldy with a pacifier in his mouth (commentary on his acting like a child a while back). Not sure why Gravatars hasn’t updated the photo since I’ve changed the image back to Roadkill Rabbit.

  9. 9

    Steve spews:

    Wouldn’t electric trolleys be far less expensive than rail? Why rail?

    Hasn’t Seattle, as a place to live, become a place that’s really only for the affluent and the poor?

  10. 10

    YLB spews:

    8 – Ron Sims ran on eliminating the sales tax in exchange for an income tax.

    You’re totally full of fear that Dems will raise a new tax so let’s make a deal.

    Allow the new tax and work to elect Republicans that will keep it in check and keep the money doing what it’s supposed to do – hopefully building better schools and keeping the economy moving through things like transportation projects.

    Gee Republicans can be relevant again!

    As for your smiling face, I was referring to your fearless leader Dino. You can listen to his operating principle here:

    http://www.therealdinorossi2008.com/

  11. 11

    spews:

    Mark @8,

    Clearly, you weren’t paying attention to Ron Sims’ gubernatorial campaign in 2004, when he boldly proposed eliminating the state portion of the sales tax and the B&O tax, along with $150,000 property tax homestead exemption, and replacing the revenues with a personal income tax. And he proposed doing all this by constitutional amendment, so these other taxes could not be easily reinstated.

    80% of households would have seen their taxes go down under the Sims plan, with only the top 4 to 5% seeing substantial increases. And there would be ZERO state B&O or corporate income tax. WA would have gone from the most regressive tax structures in the nation (by far) to one of the fairest.

    But again, you weren’t paying attention.

  12. 12

    Shootingsparks spews:

    It wasnt long after my 10th year on the planet that the forward thinking people in N.CA govt. had the foresight to build BART, the Bay Area Rapid Transit system. The didnt put it up to a thousand stupid ballot initiatives, they built it, some 25 years ago…yea, Seattle is different, dumb as rocks…
    After voting against paying for a new ball park what do we have? Nothing…
    We used to have our King Dome, but now SafeCo insurance has a giant ugly billboard you cant afford to hang out in, that YOU paid for….suckers..
    Good luck with that light rail thing…

  13. 13

    ArtFart spews:

    Extending the light rail line to Northgate makes a hell of a lot of sense. In fact, it makes a hell of a lot more sense than stopping at the U. district where there’s a bus coming down the Ave. every five minutes that’ll get you downtown.

    Getting the line to Northgate via a two billion dollar hole in the ground, on the other hand, is as dumb as a bag of hammers. Why not take over a couple of lanes of I-5? As the price of fuel gets higher and higher, there won’t be as many cars using it anyway. Wanna argue about that? Traffic on the freeways around here sure was awfully light for a holiday weekend, wasn’t it?

  14. 14

    ArtFart spews:

    9 There’s one big problem with trolley buses, and that’s that they can’t go very fast without having the poles pop off the wires when they go over bumps. If you plan a regional system around them, you’ll be limited to a top speed of about 40mph.

  15. 15

    The Real Mark spews:

    Goldy @ 11

    I had discounted that one because of the whole “state portion” BS, but I had forgotten about the B&O provision, so I’ll give you the points on that one.

    Not that I’d trust them not to reinstate the “state portion” or, more likely, pull back local funds and force those areas to increase their share of the sales tax — effectively cancelling it out.

  16. 17

    YLB spews:

    I-5 for light rail? You’d have to sacrifice portions of the express lanes.

    But it’s an intriguing idea. It would be a lot cheaper too.

  17. 18

    YLB spews:

    We used to have our King Dome, but now SafeCo insurance has a giant ugly billboard you cant afford to hang out in, that YOU paid for….suckers..

    Safeco Field has been a great deal for those who live here. Not so great for out of towners, conventioneers and restaurant/bar patrons. Professional baseball is a real treat.

    I’ve got tickets to two games this summer at 11 dollars a ticket but I admit it’s with the help from the group ticket buy at the wife’s workplace.

    C’mon, the last time I looked the bonds were on track to being paid off way ahead of schedule.

    Maybe we could re-purpose those taxes to transit? You could do way worse.

  18. 19

    big dork spews:

    Let’s assume ST could pay for the construction costs like every other metro area does: mostly federal money. Then ST’s version of trains might make sense.

    Let’s assume ST could operate transit systems efficiently. Then giving ST more taxing rights might make sense. But ST does not operate transit lines efficiently – it disclosed seven months ago it will pay $2.7 billion to operate the Phase I system between 1997-2016. That’s way too much, and nobody can explain why.

    Let’s assume ST had decent cost controls in place – then maybe a new ST ballot measure would make sense. But between 2005 and late 2007 ST said it would need $5.5 billion MORE during the Phase I construction period, only about 20% of which was due to additional capital expenses. ST has a lousy history of controlling costs.

    Why would you want to throw good money after bad? I like trains, but ST is a shit organization.

    Too few benefits, and FAR too much of the wrong kind of taxing.

    This “build it and they will come” mindset is SO “pre-1999 web v.1.” You are showing your pre-burst-Internet-bubble background here Goldy . . . .

  19. 20

    ArtFart spews:

    18 Safeco Field may be one of the nicest places in the world to go sit and watch a lousy team play sucky baseball.

  20. 21

    Transit Guy spews:

    Geez, so many head-in-the-sand comments today, I don’t know where to begin. Yes, the Sales Tax is a lousy regressive tax, but it is the one tax that ST is authorized to use to build rail transit. Yes, other states do it differently, and they all have a State Income Tax as a major revenue source. I propose that we NOT wait for the income tax to come to WA before moving on with more rail transit.

    Light rail is better than buses (trolley or diesel) because it provides additional new right-of-way. And between Northgate and downtown, it is exclusive right-of-way, with trains moving at 55mph between stations — thus the 9 minute ride between the UW and downtown.

    And serving the UW on that line makes all the sense in the world since the U. District is the second-largest traffic generator in the state! Bypassing the U.District would be world-class dumb.

    Yes, light rail takes a long time to build, but it will take even longer if we delay getting started on the next phase.

    There’s not one city in western North America, with modern light rail transit, where people say “gee, we made a mistake; we should’ve just had more buses.”

  21. 22

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    Gas was $2.17 when the democrats took control of congress.
      
    Already gas has doubled.
      
    What is the democrat controlled congress doing?

  22. 23

    YLB spews:

    21 – In the last go around voters made it clear that they didn’t like the regressive tax.

    Fix that like it is fixed in other states and we’ll get real progress on transportation. The same old thing just isn’t acceptable anymore. The broken tax system is sinking this state. A Dino Rossi win in November means this state almost surely descends into backwater status.

    Ok I could see where disgust with rising gas prices will goad the voters into doing something they rejected in the past but geez why does it take that?

  23. 24

    YLB spews:

    22 – Trying to pass legislation past the Shrub Dog Dems, the filibuster-happy, obstructionist minority in the Senate and the veto pen of the Chimpanzee in the White House that you helped in 2000 and 2004.

  24. 25

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    Goldy spews:
    I know conventional wisdom still suggests that now is the wrong time for Sound Transit to come back with a ballot measure, just one year after the defeat of Prop 1

      
    Hell yeah. So what it was just voted down. Who in their left mind cares what the voters want. Ram it down their stinking throats until they learn you know better than those that voted it down.
      
      
    Remember, it’s not disenfranchising voters when it’s a democrat that has decided their votes shouldn’t count.

  25. 26

    ByeByeGOP spews:

    The right wingers hate public transit for one reason only – the right knows that more poor minorities use it and since the GOP is a racist party, they want to stop public transit. Simple really.

  26. 27

    YLB spews:

    one of the nicest places in the world to go sit and watch a lousy team play sucky baseball.

    The team sucks right now to be sure but winning is not everything. A true fan goes to the park because he or she loves the game. I plan to finally get around to learning to score a game. A losing season is a good time to try to learn.

    Seattle and environs should consider themselves so lucky they’ve have had professional baseball even through the darkest times like now and oh 1977 through 1995.

  27. 28

    delbert spews:

    It’s not that light rail is a bad thing, it’s a good thing to have in a large city. It’s that the RTA is SO bad at building the system. If Sound Transit were a horse, the vet would shoot it. Overpriced and under-performing. No accountability, no competence, no leadership, and lots of tax money wasted. $1.3 billion in “studies” before the first shovel of dirt was turned over, is an embarrassment. Seattle’s toy trains will eclipse Boston’s “big dig” as the national monument to gross municipal incompetence.

    I’m not in the mood to let them waste any more money. I voted for the monorail twice before I realized they hired Larry, Moe and Curly to oversee the construction. If I ever spot Joel Horn on the street, I’m gonna knee him in the balls. It’s only fair.

  28. 29

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @8 “Show me ONE Dem income tax proposal or even a campaign promise that says they will PERMANENTLY WIPE OUT the sales tax, property tax, corporate tax and/or the B&O tax.”

    We’ll stick it in the state constitution if you like. Oh, I know, constitutions don’t mean anything to you Repubs. But we Democrats believe constitutions and laws and such are, well, binding; so if you want it to be binding, all you have to do is elect Democratic legislators and liberal judges.

  29. 30

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @8 (continued) Nobody ever promised to eliminate the property tax. It hasn’t even been suggested. All states have property taxes, and all states use them to pay for schools. Oh, I know, you Repubs hate public schools. But we liberals like them so, no, we’re not going to eliminate the property tax.

    What we propose to do is replace the state sales and B & O taxes with a revenue-neutral state income tax. It can even be a flat tax if you like.

  30. 31

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    You have to be a Republican to like a tax system that taxes the poor and lets the rich skate.

  31. 32

    ROTCODDAM spews:

    So, will suburban eastsiders and Shoreliners who will benefit from expanded service rush to support a new tax package, while Seattleites with service already funded and under construction vote no?

  32. 33

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @8 (continued) What’s wrong with the tribes? I like the tribes. Their votes gave Cantwell her victory margin in 2000. If their money helps Gregoire pound Rossi into the pavement, I say bravo! That greasy little real estate salesman and slumlord isn’t qualified to run a shoeshine stand let alone our state government. I like our tribes better than your BIAW.

  33. 34

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @12 “It wasnt long after my 10th year on the planet that the forward thinking people in N.CA govt. had the foresight to build BART, the Bay Area Rapid Transit system. The didnt put it up to a thousand stupid ballot initiatives, they built it, some 25 years ago…”

    But they didn’t pay 6 to 8 times the national average for it, either. When someone wants to grossly overcharge me for something, yeah, I want to talk to them about it.

  34. 35

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @13 Why not take over 5th N.E.? Or buy a block-wide swath of houses from the U. District to Northgate? Either of those alternatives is cheaper than a tunnel.

  35. 36

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @21 “Yes, the Sales Tax is a lousy regressive tax, but it is the one tax that ST is authorized to use to build rail transit.”

    That’s not a good enough reason to use it.

    “I propose that we NOT wait for the income tax to come to WA before moving on with more rail transit.”

    I’m for building flexible mass transit at a reasonable cost using farebox revenues and a local-option sales tax on gasoline.

    “Yes, light rail takes a long time to build …”

    No, it doesn’t. It only takes ST a long time to build it. Everyone else does it years faster.

    “There’s not one city in western North America, with modern light rail transit, where people say ‘gee, we made a mistake; we should’ve just had more buses.’”

    Wanna bet? Light rail is plenty controversial in Portland, Oregon.

  36. 37

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Sound Transit is doing nothing to fix light rail’s problems. All they’re doing is severing Phase 2 from roads and slicing it into two pieces. They still intend to build the same exorbitantly expensive light rail system on the same ridiculous 20-year construction schedule with the same regressive tax. And they still haven’t explained how a tax that costs 1 million households $125 a year can pay for an $11 billion light rail system in 20 years. When you tie a pink ribbon to a pig, it’s still a pig.

  37. 38

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @27 The Mariners are so bad this year it’s worth paying money to see! The last time I went to a Mariners game, they were down by 11 runs by the end of the 2nd inning. I got my money’s worth that time! Most of the fans left the stadium by the fourth inning but I stayed to watch the whole bloody thing to its sickening conclusion. As I recall, the final score in that game was something like 16-1. When a baseball team is that bad, you should go see them, so you can tell your grandchildren you were there. It’s like being a witness to the Hindenburg blowing up.

  38. 39

    ArtFart spews:

    34 Uhhh…what exactly was the “national average” for transit projects when they built BART? The cost of the building the New York subway system nearly a century earlier? Maybe the Los Angeles “Red Car” that had recently been dismantled?

    I can sure remember all the hollering about how much BART cost, and how long it took, and for how many years Market Street was Market Ditch. I can also remember how they debated about building it up the SF Peninsula from Silicon Valley. They ended up finding a cheaper alternative on that last part: paying Southern Pacific to run commuter rail up the trackage that was already in place.

    Yeah, the numbers added up to fewer dollars, but 1970’s dollars were something different. You could still buy a 19-cent hamburger and a 25-cent cup of coffee. Oh, yeah…and 35-cent a gallon gas.

  39. 40

    rhp6033 spews:

    Late to the argument:

    A review of the handfull of other states that don’t have an income tax shows that they have NOTHING in common with Washington State, and even some of them have SOME type of income tax:

    Alaska – has a state corporate income tax.

    Florida – has a state corporate income tax….The Florida Constitution explicitly prohibits a personal income tax.

    Nevada

    New Hampshire – The state does tax, at a 5% rate, on interest and dividends

    South Dakota – has a state corporate income tax on financial institutions.

    Tennessee – does have tax on income (at a 6% rate) received from stocks and bonds not taxed ad valorem (Tenn Const Art II, §28). The Tennessee Supreme Court has held that a personal income tax is unconstitutional. [Evans v. McCabe]

    Texas – in May 2006, passed a franchise tax on businesses (sole proprietorships and some partnerships are exempt). The Texas Constitution places severe restrictions on passage of a personal income tax and use of its proceeds.

    Washington – has a corporate tax called the “Business and Occupation Tax (B&O)”….

    Wyoming

    Source: State Income Taxes (Note that the list inacurately describes the Washington B&O tax as a “corporate” tax).

    Of all the states listed, several have Constitutional prohibitions which prevent passing a personal income tax, and only two (Nevada & Wyoming) have no type of income tax.

    I would caution against having a personal income tax without having a corresponding corporate income tax. It just encourages people to play games with the corporate entity, trying to hide lots of their personal consumption as “non-taxable” corporate expenses.

  40. 41

    SeattleJew spews:

    Hasn’t the time come, as Goldy suggests, to see mass transit a national emrgency?

    Fuck oil, fuck nuclear, fuck fusion and fuck elphs and fairies.

    The only certain investments we can make that make the US more secure are those that lower our need to slurp petrol.

    Of course this is NOT the forst time that transportation has been made a matter of national defense. DD Eisenhower built the effin interstate to move troops and tanks!

    So riddle me this, how much fuel would the US save if we nationalized the building of local transit funding while making the states impose gasoline taxes that reflect the real costs of suburbanization?

    Wouldn’t it be gret to see posters extolling the transit project as way of defending the US vs ben Laden?

  41. 42

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    I love how some trumpet the fact a bus can maneuver while a streetcar can’t. Sure that is advantage Bus, but then again, even Metro gets flats. I had a good portion of the safety time cushion I planned to get to Pollworker Training in Renton on Saturday eaten up because the 39 took forever to get the the stop. I thought I had missed the one I was waiting for, and the driver of the one that was coming close to on-time told me it was a flat tire that delayed the other bus. A broken down Rail Vehicle can block traffic, again advantage bus, but steel tires count, advantage rail.

    ArtFart, an interesting item about BART, the Bay Area Rapid Transit District turned 50 last year. Another thing that was going on in Oakland in 1957, the final abandonment of the Key System Rail system, which was foundering after the lower deck of the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge had been surrendered to Autos. That was their right of way into the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco.

    [link]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_System#Dismantlement[/link]

    As for Portland, when ST opens it’s first leg of Central LINK Next Year, Portland will be opening the Green Line, the 3rd extension, this decade of MAX. They built them so far as branches off of the East-West Blue Line, which itself was finished in the late 1990s with the Westside Extension, a decade after the original Banfield Line to Gresham.

  42. 43

    YLB spews:

    40 – Indeed. Businesses take advantage of government services like police, fire, courts and the transportation system and should contribute to the pot.

    I didn’t like that part of the Sims plan but I think I understand why he did it that way: to get businesses behind him.

  43. 44

    ArtFart spews:

    42 Re: Key System, Red Car, Interurban, etc…

    Those who abandon the successes of history are doomed to recreate them at higher cost.

  44. 45

    thor spews:

    The people who oppose light rail have no real alternative.

    Kemper Freeman fights for roads. Doug MacDonald fights for more buses and stumbles into Freeman’s side.

    The only thing either seem to really propose is killing light rail. That’s the only practical result of their fighting.

    Why aren’t the newspapers screaming headlines about how and why light rail in Seattle is being killed by the doubters again. Maybe it is just old news.

    Except that the need for better transit service is very much news when people are paying $4.60 for gas in Seattle.

    The delay to 2010, wait for a better plan crowd, promotes providing better (to be determined) transit later.

    MacDonald proposes a years long debate before anything new happens – that’s the practical timeframe for processing his scheme.

    Freeman promotes road building that is useful only in its effect of ending the careers of politicians who align with him.

    Let people vote on light rail now.

  45. 46

    cmiklich spews:

    45. thor spews:

    The people who oppose light rail have no real alternative.

    Not true. The alternative for mass transit are busses. Scaleable with as much flexibility as any mass transit system can have. Trains go back and forth WITH ZERO deviation from their fixed, unalterable tracks.

    Any obstacle, any mudslide, and power outage, hell, any anything and the train is stuck. Just like the 18th Century thinking of its backers.

    And, ya gotta love the latest scandal of these felons running ST. Lock ‘em all up and throw away the key.

  46. 47

    afg spews:

    I don’t like buses that much. They have to stop at every traffic light that turns red, they are always stuck in traffic and they don’t run on an exact schedule and are always late. Buses are also way too crowded, they don;t have the capacity of a train, even the articulated or double decker ones and you can’t link up more buses like a train. Increasing frequency = more buses stuck in traffic… How are buses more flexible?