by Goldy, 04/28/2008, 1:30 PM

With gasoline prices projected to climb as high as $10.00 a gallon over the next two to three years, the last thing we should do is give voters another chance to approve an expanded light rail system, because that would be imprudent.  Irresponsible.  A “bad idea.”

Thank God we have the visionaries on the Seattle Times editorial board to protect us from ourselves.

23 Responses to “No time like the future”

1. Marvin Stamn spews:

Why not consider the high cost of gas a sin tax. Want to drive and cause global warming, pay more for the privilege.

2. Andrew spews:

@1 Gas taxes only go toward more roads, so no point.

3. Daddy Love spews:

Why, considering mass transit as an amelioration of high fuel prices is just madness, do you hear? Madness!!

4. Goldy spews:

Andrew @2,

I don’t think that was Marvin’s point, but as long as we’re on the subject, there’s nothing in the state constitution that says we can’t levy a sales tax on motor fuel, and use that on whatever we want.

I know it seems counterintuitive to suggest that the appropriate response to skyrocketing fuel costs is to hike them further, but since that’s gonna happen regardless of what we do, I think we should start levying a sales tax on gasoline dedicated solely toward building and maintaining transit.

5. SeattleJew spews:

Goldy … I will see you and raise the bet ,,

Since subrurbs have a higher carbon imprint than cities, the burbs should pay a carbon tax. The CT should go to lowering my taxes in Seattle.

Also companies home based in the burbs with over 100 emplyees living in the city shuld be required to subsidize mass transit.

6. Tlazolteotl spews:

Also companies home based in the burbs with over 100 emplyees living in the city shuld be required to subsidize mass transit.

Ha! Take that, you Belltown condo-living hipster kids who commute to Micro$oft and Nintendo every day!

7. EvergreenRailfan spews:

Now in Conservative Utah, unless Salt Lake City became a Liberal Bastion in a red state sometime in the past few years and nobody bothered to mention, they are expanding their Mass Transit system. The Utah Transit Authority is going to inaugarate an extension of their TRAX Light Rail on May 5th. Over the weekend, they had the ceremonial opening of their FrontRunner Commuter Rail system Saturday, with regular service starting on May 1. This will be more frequent than SOUNDER is, then again, the UTA bought an easement in the UP Right of Way and built their own track.

http://www.railpac.org/2008/04/28/utahs-frontrunner-inaugural-photos/

http://www.rideuta.com/projects/commuterRail/default.aspx

This will also have Saturday service, something SOUNDER does not have.(The gameday services do not count).

8. Blue John spews:

If we do nothing, the market place will make mass transit more attractive. As gas prices go up and up, people will gravitate to mass transit, trading time for money and space.
I used to live in the ex-urbs where the closest grocery story was 15 miles away but gas was under $2. Now I live in Seattle, and I have 6 full grocery stores with 3 miles that I could get to by bus. Hell, I could walk to them if I had to.

9. Politically Incorrect spews:

The oil companies’ big secret is that oil is running out so fast that there’s no reason to build new refineries: there will be no oil to refine.

Their strategy is to max-out current profits. However, the key to their continued existence, in the post-oil world, is to develop no-kiddin’ alternatives to oil. That will keep them in business, which I think will be good for most of use, and develop alternatives to oil.

Now, if they’re maxing-out current profits without developing new sources of energy, then that’s bad. Not good for the long-term economy and the death knell for big oil.

10. rhp6033 spews:

# 6; Actually Microsoft is already doing that – it started it’s own bus transit service from Seattle to it’s Redmond campus – I think starting last summer?

11. rhp6033 spews:

Blue John @ 8: “If we do nothing, then the marketplace will make mass transit more attractive….”

Okay, but given the time lag required between deciding on a mass transit detailed plan and when it will be available for public use, does it make sense to wait until gas gets to $10 a gallon to start?

12. headless lucy spews:

Since government on the state and national level collect a large and predictable amount of revenue on gas taxes, the problem, then, is to find a motivation for government to want to encourage mass transportation like light rail.

It’s like the old Steve Martin joke about solar energy. There is never going to be much of a push for solar energy, because then what will the government and industry have to charge you for?

“What are they gonna do? Put a box over your house if you don’t keep payin’ ‘em?” Steve Martin

Indeed…

13. Roger Rabbit spews:

I really don’t care for a system under which we have to continue voting until we stop saying “no” and agree to “yes.” That’s abusive to taxpayers and undemocratic. It’s one thing if Sound Transit gives us a substantially different proposal to vote on. But if all they intend to do is separate ST-2 from RTID and hope it passes as a stand-alone measure, then no, it shouldn’t be on the ballot.

14. Roger Rabbit spews:

My initial take on the $10-gas lede was, “Sounds like Conrad Black’s wingnut newspaper is expecting a war with Iran. Maybe he has some inside information.”

But when you click on the link and read the article, what you see is a prediction of $200 oil based on a long string of improbable ifs. I think this can be safely relegated to the dustbin of tabloid sensationalism.

Light sweet crude oil comprises a fairly small percentage of total fossil fuel feedstocks that can be refined or processed into the familiar petroleum products — gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, heating oil, etc. It is profitable to extract, transport, and convert coal, Orinoco heavy oil, Canadian tar sands, and oil shale into these products at around $40 a barrel. $60 oil provoked investment in these alternative fuels, and $100 oil accelerated that activity; capital would flood into production of these products long before crude oil ever reached $200. Meanwhile, investment is already pouring into E & P (exploration and production) of existing and new sources of crude oil; $100 oil makes feasible tertiary recovery techniques on old oilfields that were uneconomic in the days of $25 oil, and also makes attractive the development of expensive offshore fields such as those discovered last year in Brazil, whose reserves may approach those of Saudi Arabia’s largest oilfields.

The problem is not enough oil, but too much oil and oil-equivalents. As a scientist quoted by National Geographic a few years ago said, “We’re going to run out of atmosphere before we run out of fossil fuels.”

Bottom line: A war that blocked shipments from the Persian Gulf could cause a temporary spike in oil prices above current levels, but over the long term the cost-competitiveness of producing petroleum products from other fossil sources would drive down prices to a level somewhere above $40 a barrel.

15. Andrew spews:

@4 that would basically go to the state supreme court, which would interpret it one of two ways:

1) sales tax on gas is a gas tax

2) sales tax on gas is not a gas tax.

Just reading those sort of indicates which one will be choosen, though I’d love a higher gas tax, especially if the money could go to transit.

16. K spews:

I support mass transit, and take the bus to work nearly every day. I also believe that government can implement large projects sucessfully.

And I believe now is not the time for another tax on the ballot. The local economy is giving enough signs of trouble that voter approval is not lokely.

Wait

17. Roger Rabbit spews:

@4 A sales tax on gasoline to pay for mass transit is an idea I will support.

18. Jack Flanders spews:

#13 – “I really don’t care for a system under which we have to continue voting until we stop saying “no” and agree to “yes.” That’s abusive to taxpayers and undemocratic.”

Now THAT is funny! I seem to remember the exact opposite happening on the monorail. It came up and the public voted yes, yes, yes, yes…until they opponents just kept thinking of ways bring up votes and finally one single no vote killed it, despite all the previous yes votes. Yes they totally screwed the financing, but that’s a “relatively” easy administrative fix compared the the concept/design/planning/land purchase work that had already been done and construction within days of starting when it was killed.

19. michael spews:

@7

TRAX also had a butt-load of federal funding to get it started. The local politicos need to learn that you need to secure mega-funding if you want to build a mega-project.

20. Silverstar spews:

I seem to remember the exact opposite happening on the monorail. It came up and the public voted yes, yes, yes, yes…until they opponents just kept thinking of ways bring up votes and finally one single no vote killed it, despite all the previous yes votes.

Yep, that’s the way I remember it. And just think, if we had started building it on the first yes vote, when interest rates were low, we would be riding the damned thing this year or next. Now when gas does get to $10 a gallon (lots of folks also said we had too much capacity to get to $100/barrel), we are going to wish we could zip across town on a monorail. Especially on days like Thursday when traffic downtown is going to be tied up at least an hour for a march. If I go downtown, (not far from where I live in Belltown), I will be riding the monorail home to avoid the traffic backups. Poor the rest of you.

21. YLB spews:

$100 oil makes feasible tertiary recovery techniques on old oilfields that were uneconomic in the days of $25 oil

$100 in real dollars? Remember that the price of gasoline only recently exceeded the high from 1980 in “real” dollars.

I’m so sure about what’s “economic” in today’s dollars.

22. The Real Mark spews:

Hey, Goldy!

Someone @ 14 is spoofing Roger Rabbit’s username again!

23. The Real Mark spews:

@ 6 & 10

MS also set up some sort of a “remote office” near Lake Union to allow people to telecommute and/or shift their travel times to when things are less congested. I would imagine that clearer traffic means more fuel efficiency and less crap in the air from idling in a slowdown.