I’ve just returned to the Seattle area after an extended spell on the East Coast, and missed all the election brouhaha back in Washington State. So now that I’ve returned, I’ll share a couple of thoughts about those elections….
Last week I spent a couple of days in Chapel Hill, NC and then flew into Reagan/National Airport near Washington, D.C. From there I jumped on the MetroRail (a.k.a. The Metro) and within 15 minutes of leaving the airport got off at Foggy Bottom and walked a few blocks to a friend’s apartment. That night we took The Metro to some other part of D.C. to eat dinner at a funky Japanese-Mexican fusion restaurant. The next day we grabbed the metro again an visited museums. In fact, I used The Metro repeatedly in the week I was in D.C—and always with a big ol’ smile on my face. This afternoon, I took The Metro back to Reagan/National for my trip home. I LOVE The Metro. I travel to D.C. once or twice a year for work, and I almost never have to take a cab (and rarely a bus) because of that wonderful MetroRail.
Man…I can’t wait until Seattle becomes a real city too. You know, one that includes a rail-based regional transit system.
So, it is really too bad about Prop. 1 (RTID). To the fools who voted against it, I just have to say, haul your ass out of Seattle once in awhile and visit a real city (like Chicago, Boston, New York City, San Francisco, D.C.). Folks in real cities consider a rail-based transit system absolutely essential.
Okay…off my soapbox.
The other thing I want to mention is this…it sure looks to me like Joint Resolution 4204, the school district tax levy Constitution Amendment thingie, is going to be approved.
This evening I went to the Washington State election results page and the vote spread has narrowed considerably.
Right now 4204 is down by 11,000 votes. But King County still has some 90,000 absentee ballots to count. If the absentee ballots break at roughly the same proportion as the tally so far, my back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that 4204 is going to win by about 8,000 votes. It looks to me like absentee ballots counted in Snohomish, Thurston, and Watcom counties—all largish counties that voted in favor of 4204—will easily offset most of the other counties. (Pierce is the only big county that went against 4204.) That means the King County absentees are really going to decide this election.
I predict that 4204 will be approved by a narrow margin and a mandatory recount will be required, which will ultimately uphold the original vote. And Gov. Christine Gregoire will have to declare a state of emergency as Republican heads all across the state spontaneously, and nearly simultaneously, explode.
If the transit part of Prop 1 hadn’t been wedded to the roads part it likely would have won. But how old are you Darryl? And how wealthy will you be when you retire? Will you be able to afford to live here when the light rail is finally completed, over-budget and way years past it’s completion date?
Roger Rabbit spews:
Maybe Seattle should have built a subway system back when it would have cost millions instead of billions and Magnuson and Jackson had lined up federal funding to pay for 90% of it.
Roger Rabbit spews:
@1 I have met Darryl, and I assure you, he won’t live long enough to ride light rail from downtown to Everett.
“WMATA relied on federal funding to pay for over 60 percent of the costs to build its Metrorail subway system. From 1969 through 1999, the federal government provided about $6.2 billion of the approximately $10 billion that WMATA spent to construct the original 103-mile system.” GAO report
Hey, I am all for a light rail system where the feds pay 60% of the costs of building it. Maybe that is what “real cities” get on the east coast. Am I wrong, or have the Feds decided to give Sound Transit 60% of the cost of light rail here?
So, maybe the people who post here could compare apples to apples by doing the proper research?
Roger Rabbit spews:
D.C. is a special case because it’s the nation’s capital and as such receives a very large number of out-of-town visitors.
Roger Rabbit spews:
It also helped to have the federal government paying most of the cost of building it.
Roger Rabbit spews:
D.C. residents (and visitors) didn’t have to wait 20 years for it to be built, either. The major portions were completed within 7 years. I’ll be dead 20 years from now.
Roger Rabbit spews:
D.C. Metro is not a light rail line to nowhere; among other destinations, it serves 15 colleges and universities.
Roger Rabbit spews:
4204 Vote Totals
Approved 673,063 49.5952 %
Rejected 684,049 50.4048 %
As of 5:12 PM Friday
Yeah, what a great idea, fly to Seattle, and take the light rail from the airport, go downtown, wait I mean Sodo. Where am I again? Oh yeah i’ll visit all my buds on Beacon Hill and visit all those wonderful museums along Empire Way (woops I mean MLK), and then marvel about where the fuck am I now?1?!?
Hey Rodent, why don’t you do everyone a favor and just hit enter once a day you worthless moron.
Daniel K spews:
Here’s the thing regarding that 4204 vote: if it is approved will the media and Tim Eyman stop saying that this election was all about Washingtonians saying “no new taxes”?
Here’s another thing: all of this is influencing Gregoire and key Democrats that they have to cap property tax increases at 1% or they will lose their job. You know, if they do I may just end up voting for Rossi next year to spite them for caving in like that. If we’re going to have Democrats acting like Republicans, might as well have actual Republicans we can blame for it.
Finally, all the talk that the vote against Prop 1 was a vote against taxes because that was supposedly the theme of this election is hogwash. The people that voted on Prop 1 will end up overwhelmingly rejecting Eyman’s I-960 and approving 4204.
The media has fallen for the Republican spin rather than actually look at the results.
Hey Daniel K-
WTF are you smoking?
Gadfrey, this board is getting to be a great cure for insomnia–how much longer are we going to keep boring each other with the same rehash of the Prop.1 dabate?
OK…that being said, comparing Washington’s Metro with the Sound Transit light rail is sort of like comparing apples with onions. The Metro ain’t light rail–it’s mostly underground high-speed commuter rail. Also, they did something there that’s almost unheard of in the history of public transit projects: They re-used the design of the San Franscisco Bart system instead of re-inventing everything from scratch.
Now, if you really want to get serious about talking about funding, how many weeks’ worth of the cost of Bush’s God-Damned Fucking War would it take to build a similar system in every single metropolitan area in the country the size of ours?
Dave Gibney spews:
@13 about 3 each! Maybe 4 or five.
D.C. is building a Light Rail Demo in Anacostia using vehicles similar to the Portland Streetcar, TacomaLINK, and the soon to open King County Metro Route 98 in SOuth Lake Union.(I hope there are no more hurdles in the developer who is building the maintenance barn for King County Metro Route 99’s streetcars that serve the Waterfront. A soon as the barn is built, they can have the streetcars running on Alaskan Way, again. A permit application for construction has been filed). The Anacostia Line is too small, but if it works, they might consider streetcars for surface transit in D.C. Although so far, only one manufacturer that I know of has built a system to comply with Federal Law in D.C. prohibiting overhead wires from the areas around the Capitol(although in the case of Amtrak, they probably have an exemption for the Northeast Corridor.)
Now Darryl, did you see anything like this in D.C. while you are there.(I apologize for the bad resolution, I was a little nervous taking the photo). It is a photo of one of SOUNDER’s prodigal sons in D.C, taken in June. A moderator on a railfan board, when I was asking about photography restrictions told me that it might be my only chance to catch a photo of them, and there was only one or two VRE Trains using them. (They may be coming home) They are the ones that are possibly the best candidates of the prodigal sons to return, as VRE is getting new coaches. I snapped the photo while waiting for this particular train at L’Enfant Plaza.
Also, while I was getting a few photos from Silver Spring Station, I saw a Metro Extra bus come in, WMATA’s token foray into Bus Rapid Transit.
Also, MetroRail is Standard-Guage, BART runs wider trains and wider cars, with a gauge of 5 feet 6 inches between the rails(I believe wider than India’s mainline railways, at 5ft 5). BART, at the time, claimed it would make a faster ride more comfortable.
Lol. Light rail is dead. SOV’s for life!
Only two metropolitan areas in the United States have the density to support large numbers of people utilizing public transportation. Those are:
In the rest of the country, public transportation is primarily for those unable to afford a car. Which is perfectly fine with me – I am more than happy to subsidize Mcdonalds employees living in White Center to get to downtown. By bus. Its cheap and effective.
The opportunity cost of wasting time in SOV traffic on a bus is very low for a low-income person. That’s just reality. The market determines that they are worth $8.50 an hour, not me. So save the invective and foaming-at-the-mouth insults.
The folks that use the bus to get to Seattle from the Eastside primarily take it because low-cost, full-day parking in generally unavailable in Seattle. Or, they are public employees (City of Seattle, King County, Federal Gov, etc etc) and receive free transportation passes. Trust me, the day that those free passes go bye-bye (which will never happen due to the fact that these users inflate ridership numbers), or a new mayor of Seattle is installed who is not rabidly anti-car (never gonna happen), they will all hop in the Lexus and drive over a new 8-lane 520 bridge.
Cars are great. They get you from where you are to where you want to go extremely quickly. You don’t have to bother others with your presence or be bothered by others. They’re heated or cooled to your level of comfort. Oh yeah – did I mention that they’re comfortable?
The focus should be on improving and expanding the roads that we do have, figuring out new ways to reduce congestion (congestion pricing, in the future, automated cars), and reducing emissions. If we do that, we’ll be just fine and dandy.
I gave a few policy prescriptions in more detail in the comments section re: Goldy’s “Anti-Rail/Pro Roads Guys.” Take a look at them and let me know what you think.
At the end of the day, this is about moving as many people as possible, in the mode that they want, for as little cost to the taxpayer as possible. That happens to be, for the vast majority of individuals, the private automobile.
Politically Incorrect spews:
“Man…I can’t wait until Seattle becomes a real city too.”
The rest of us in Washington hope you get your wish. Just don’t force us to help pay for it, and we’re all in agreement.
as Republican heads all across the state spontaneously, and nearly simultaneously, explode.
Wingnut heads fed by Limbaugh and Faux News, trained like seals to hate Clinton and anyone else they’re told to hate.
Nicholas Beaudro spews:
Yeah, doesn’t this mean that I-960 will fail as well?
In Chicago, the El and the commuter rail lines were built a hundred years ago, to areas where people hadn’t yet moved in large numbers. Sure, the region now has the density to support mass transit, because people moved where the rail lines went. Just like they’d move to areas here where rail lines go. Take a look at what’s going on right now in the Chicago suburbs: there’s a huge amount of development going on around commuter rail stations. The same thing is happening here.
@16 compassionate libertarian:
first – there is no so such thing as a compassionate libertarian as you so ably demonstrate.
Second, your feeble arguments are what happens when you base everything on a pathetic philososphy of no government.
Rail works all over europe and in the US.
@13 artfart: In DC most of the transit is above ground (try it sometime instead of spouting off like an idiot).
In most of the big cities people take mass transit because it is easier and simpler than trying to drive to work – not becaue they can’t afford it per se. Also, we spend billions on roads to subsidize the drivers and the trucking companies.
The big problem with libertarians is that the philosophy doesn’t work:
We had libertarianism in this country and it went to hell (see the robber barons and the great depression). Free market is a stupid way to run a country.
For example – your “Cars are great” comment, how great are they when we are in traffic gridlock, our national debt is going through the roof with oil at an all time high and no planning for a transition to other fuels by the government. It just shows the stupidity of your argument. The supposed “free market” has squelched and suppressed other forms of transportation.
No – in an organized societ we actually need government and we should acrtually look around at other countries and see what is working for them and not working for us.
That is like saying we have the best health care in the world – when we spend more and get less than most everyone else.
Rail works all over europe and in the US.
No. It doesn’t. It’s inefficient no matter how you spin it. For cost, for schedule, for ease of access and use, no matter which factors.
Europeans (as a group) are incredibly passive and lazy. Unwilling to show personal initiative. BA is having incredible production problems in Europe because the *******s, especially, are unwilling to go beyond their 32-40 hour week. Sometimes, you just have to step up and do the work. Sometimes it takes 70-84 hour weeks (or more). Can’t get that out of Europeans.
Those are the kind of folks who don’t care about getting to work on time, leaving on time, or if they get anything done. Perfect for rail.
Marcel the European spews:
You all don’t seem to understand facts. Rail works in many, many cities, not just NYC or Chicago.
Washington DC had the equal population that the Puget Sound area is today, when DC started building their Metro.
And, in DC there are no buildings more than 12 stories high, it was an automobile-oriented suburban looking city, much like Seattle.
The idea that Washington State is just too poor to pay for infrastructure is a “canard” as we say here. What, Washington State is some kind of 4th world poor land, like Bangladesh? Meanwhile you should know that Washington State has the population of Switzerland or Sweden and about the equal economic product. They build rail, why not you?
Even India and China have many “Metros.”
Perhaps you have the irrational prejudice against government investment or taxes. Perhaps you need to make sure that the taxes fall mainly on those who can pay, not those who are in a struggle for their daily bread.
And perhaps if you did not build disposable floating bridges that must be replaced every 50 years, you might have more money for permanent infrastructure. In Europe we have tunnels over 100 years old and bridges that are even more ancient. We put trains in underwater tunnels and 2000 metres below the Alpen mountains.
You keep debating whether rail “works” but this seems to be a mask or charade for the real matter, which is that you just do not want to pay for it.
Piper Scott spews:
Only individual human beings can be compassionate, and then only with that which they own themselves.
You are compassionate only to the extent of your resources, time, and individual effort. The instant you seek to be compassionate with those of another, you become a thief, and thieves are never compassionate, they’re just thieves.
The great delusion of liberalism is that somehow it’s morally acceptable to take from one to give to another then claim credit for the act. At heart, to do so requires neither effort nor imagination, only muscle.
It constantly amazes me how often those who cry the loudest about “compassion” are those who give the least.
My faith teaches the concept of tithing, which is the giving of 10% of the gross. One of the most profound things I ever heard is, “Love begins at 11%” To do the minimum is simply to do that which is required. The quality of your service is measured by what you do above and beyond the call of duty.
Those who claim redistribution of wealth via taxation is “compassionate” have no understanding of the word nor the moral principles underlying it. If they did, they’d spend less time trying to get into the pockets and purses of others, and more giving of their own without judgment.
The quality of any individual life isn’t something that rises or falls on the size of a government check; it is what it is based upon the character of the person involved.
And it continues to fascinate me that the more the “compassionate” extract, the less there is available to voluntarily give, and the worse all these problems seem to get. So much for phony “compassion.”
Want to know the most “compassionate” thing you can do for any human being? Teach the truth, inculcate values, and maximize the freedom and liberty of all people, then step back and allow people to live their own lives and make their own decisions, with both the blessings and consequences of those decisions the individual responsibility of the people who make them.
And, while you’re at it, remember that you, not the government, are indeed your brother’s keeper, and one of the commonweal privileges of living in a free society is serving others…voluntarily, sacrificially, and joyfully.
Let each one reach one…
#16: The valuable time you spend sitting in traffic picking your nose is time I spend getting work done while riding the bus, i.e., when I’m not telecommuting and avoiding the whole mess.
BTW, I lived in St. Louis (which is not a DC or Chicago–sorry, St. Louisans) at the time their Metrolink system was first being built, and there was doubt and trepidation about it. Many viewed public transit in the shortsighted and bigoted terms that you do.
Metrolink was a huge success and ridership crossed all economic lines, because it can be faster, cheaper, and more efficient than driving. They used an existing rail corridor to put in the first phase, but the system was so successful that they’ve expanded into entirely new areas in and around the city. They’re still expanding it.
RonK, Seattle spews:
Nic @ 19 — 960 is ahead by about 50K votes at this writing.
King County projects 86K votes left to count, at about a 14% margin against 960. (To turn competitive, 960 would need about a minus 25% margin among all projected 206K votes outstanding statewide).
4204 is down 11K, with a 14.5% margin in KingCo – a much more attractive proposition.
I haven’t done the spreads on all counties, but Darryl’s projection sounds reasonable.
Sadly, I have to disagree with you all on 4204.
The measure is only winning in seven counties (King, Snohomish-barely, Thurston, Whatcom, Whitman, Jefferson & San Juan). It’s losing in Spokane and, most importantly, Pierce County where the no vote is over 53%.
I looked at the counties with at least 3000 absentees left to count. If the remaining absentees reflect the votes already counted, the winning margin in the supportive big counties King/Snohomish/Thurston will narrow the gap, but still fall short by about 2000 votes statewide.
Best bet will be to come back in November 2008 when the huge progressive turnout in King & Snohomish should be able to offset the generally negative vote in the rest of the state.
so I’m readin along and everything is as usual-the compassionate libertarian is full of shit, roger rabbit is flogging the enter key and then it’s PIPER SCOTT with a lecture on compassion. Jesus Christ Piper, your days as star of the Turniptown middle school debate team are behind you. Give us a fuckan break! Read the following Piper and ask yourself if someone else wrote this would I find it profound? “You are compassionate only to the extent of your resources, time, and individual effort. The instant you seek to be compassionate with those of another, you become a thief, and thieves are never compassionate, they’re just thieves.”
Piper Scott spews:
Alright, give me all your assets, then let me distribute them to those I regard as in need so that I might be “compassionate” per your implicit definition.
Fascinating how free you are with other people’s money, time, and resources.
Piper I’m not totally negative about your contribution to the many blogs at which you express your opinions. I often wonder if a third of the country can be such fools as to continue supporting Bush. And you Piper always answer that question for me. Thank you Piper!
How exactly am I full of shit? I think what’s happened here is that 1) I’m right, and 2) You’re wrong, you’ve lost, you’re a sore loser on all fronts, and are unwilling to admit it. Please die.
And compassionatelibertarian, I also wish to express my gratitude to you for helping me understand how a failure like Bush can still poll at 30% support.
Oh yeah, and Piper is right about compassion you blockhead turdsicle.
AKA you think I’m a Bush supporter? Really? Are you out of you fucking mind?
What libertarian would ever support trillion-dollar never ending foreign conflicts? Or massive increases in federal spending a la the huge Medicare prescription drug boondoggle? Or a president who has directed the DEA to crack down on suppliers of medical marijuana in California? Or that supports the War on Drugs at all?
The tax cut was nice, but everything after that has been a complete and utter fucking disaster.
See, I like to KEEP THE MONEY I EARN. AS MUCH OF IT AS POSSIBLE. BECAUSE ITS MINE.
Get that through your head. You will never get your light rail. We will get our roads expansion, and our congestion pricing, and BRT for those too poor to drive. And all will be well in the world.
I think that St. Louis was so successful, that Kansas City voters finally voted for this one activist’s Light Rail Plan. At first the KC Area Transit Authority was laughing when it passed, because they felt Bus Rapid Transit was the way to go. Now it seems they are planning on sending it back to the voters, with a plan that will actually work. One concept is a hybrid model, called Rapid Streetcar, and one proposal for the rolling stock is interesting. There is a guy in Pennsylvania that has a collection of PCC Cars that are in sort-of good condition, bought them used when the last transit property to use them retired them. Where did these vehicles get built for originally? Kansas City!
The PCC was probably the ultimate(and final) streetcar design built by the remaining traditional builders between the late 1930s and early 1950s. Some are still in service. Like in Minneapolis/St.Paul, they had bought a few of the Presidents’ Conference Committee Cars(The Presidents were the heads of most of the electric street railways in the country, at the time, most privately owned. The PCC itself still exists as the Transportation Research Board), and those were sold off to other cities, including Cleveland, Newark, and Mexico City. The Newark cars are now entering service with their third owner, San Francisco Muni/Market Street Railway. They were built in the 1940s.
Now if KC wanted a more regional approach, their is precedent for a bi-state tax to get Kansas in on it too. Although I am not sure if one was successful for fixing up the Truman Sports Complex(Kaufman and Arrowhead Stadiums), they did pass one that fixed up Kansas City Union Station, turning it into a museum, and part of it still hosts Amtrak trains. the L.A. bound Southwest Chief, plus a local train to St.Louis.
The KC Star did a good story on the state of transit planning in Kansas City recently.
Meanwhile, Salt Lake City sure seems to be buiding up an impressive system for a city and region supposedly home to SUV/SOV loving Conservatives who would never ride transit.
Drunks cannot drive spews:
It took decades to get 4204 on the ballot. What makes you think the legislature will put it on next year? This was a missed opportunity as shown by the poor turn out of liberal King county voters who focused on Prop 1 or didn’t bother to vote at all because all they care about is transit and impeaching Bush. How many fools out there think that 4202 equals increased taxes? Most districts are already at their lids for levies. 4204 would eliminate the wasted time and cost of rerunning levies but the taxes would be the mostly the same.
Watching the numbers spews:
As to 4204, look at the raw numbers. On the Sec of State site, under the voter turnout tab, check the update times. Snohomish County did not update on that site, but did on their own website! Approval pulled ahead there, yet those numbers aren’t yet reflected on the main website. Pierce County’s numbers were different, too, with a 100 or so gain for approval as of yesterday.
Chris Mitchell spews:
As of 10:58 AM on Monday Nov 12 using the State’s list + updates for Snohomish and Pierce counties (not reflected on the states’ list), I’m showing 711525 Approve vs. 712457 Reject. This means the margin of Approve is -922 votes, a bit narrower…
George Hanshaw spews:
Speaking of the DC Metro, I lived in DC when the Metro was being constructed. Only the capitol city of the USA could have afforded that….because it could tax all 50 states to support it. Unfortunately it is now in need of being rebuilt, and they are looking for funding to do it.
LBJ started it in 1969, and it wound up costing $9.4 billion…a lot more than it sounds now, because most of those were then-year dollars. It’s initial segment opened in 1976…..seven years, damn fast by Sound Transit standards.
Getting Metro built took much longer and cost far more than anyone expected when the work began, frequently threatening the completion of the full 103-mile system. Early budgets proved unrealistic in the face of high inflation and construction cost realities, and the fragile, four-jurisdiction political coalition that was formed to finance the system very nearly came apart on more than one occasion.
Because much of the downtown area was an ancient seabed, tunneling there was pretty easy….not like in Seattle.
Right now they are anticipating another $9.8 million in capital needs to replace the early areas of construction over the next 25 years.
But there is a HUGE difference between Seattle and Washington DC when it comes to making something like the Metro work. The population density of Washington DC is 9,015/sq mi with over 5 million people in the area served by their Metro. The population density of Seattle is 6,717.0/mi² with about a half million people in the municipal area.
The biggest problem I see is that we are unlikely to get the other 49 states to help us pay for it. Based on the response to Proposition one, it doesn’t look like you have anybody but the 43rd legislative district being willing to pay for it.