Pollster says about Roads and Transit: “We are in a better position to win than I would have imagined possible eight months ago.”

This poll was done before Ron Sims’ opinion piece in the Times came out, so the numbers have likely dipped. But still, a few points short of 60% is very good for a package like this.

Our latest survey of 600 likely voters taken within the RTID district on the 22nd/23rd of September shows the Roads and Transit measure continuing to hold a clear lead with 60% (57% vote for, 3% lean toward) with 37% opposed (34% vote against, 3% lean against). We have now seen eight polls (conducted by four different polling firms) since April giving the measure between 54 and 61% of the vote, with opposition between 32 and 39%. Transportation concerns continue to be the top issue in the Puget Sound area, and voters are
looking for solutions. Clearly, we enter the last six weeks of the campaign with a real chance to put this measure over the top, and are in a better position to win than I would have imagined possible eight months ago.

I’m one of the most pessimistic people I know in local politics, and even I’m buoyed by these numbers.


  1. 1

    harry tuttle spews:

    And you are buoyed for what reason?

    It seems to me that it is another horse designed by a committee. A duplicate light rail route between Tacoma and Seattle to the exclusion of a needed one to Renton. Nothing at all for at least 100,000 people west of the Duwamish to the south and bordering Puget Sound north of downtown. Beautification for some of the richest communities in the area to be paid for by regressive taxes that hit the poor and struggling working classes most. But, to me the worst of all, is that all the people moving portions take too damn long to get accomplished, and don’t do a hell of a lot when they will be.

    What’s to like?

  2. 2

    busdrivermike spews:

    I like that Ron Sims showed some leadership on this issue. I think it will pass, because people open their wallets to the word “transit”.

    On its own merits, RTID stinks like french cheese in the hot sun. Anyone who thinks rail and roads are going to solve our traffic woes, or take steps toward carbon conservation, is living in the early twentieth century. Sprawl is the only thing ensured by this plan.

    Do you really think when projects need to be pared, down the road, that the pro-road developers will not be the power at the table?

    50 miles of rail for $10 billion my ass.

  3. 4

    scotto spews:

    @2, Agreed. Sims is a brave man.

    I’m sure he was just as wrapped up as anybody in RTID planning, and all the while, he suppressed the little voice telling him that this package would make global warming worse. But unlike the other progressive leaders, he was smart enough to recognize the groupthink, and eventually, courageous enough to step away from the herd, and simply tell the truth.

    $10B for light rail: I’m guessing that this is less than the equivalent European region would spend on mass transit. Our population density is heading in the European direction so we might as well get used to big price tags. But the price needs to be as low as possible, and not wasted on highways that, in the long term, don’t solve the problem.

  4. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Somebody needs to ask where the $90,000 per household in new taxes will come from. Every one of those 57% of voters should ask himself that before going to the polls.

  5. 6

    michael spews:



    Plus, they looked at where growth was going, but never considered whether growth in that area was a good thing. A lot of the road improvements in Pierce County are being done because the Bonney Lake area is one of the fastest growing areas in the county. But, the growth going on there is low-density sprawl and there aren’t the jobs, services, schools, fire departments and so on out there to support the growth. That growth is going to get real expensive real quick.

  6. 7

    John Seebeth spews:

    Back on May 27, 2006–on this blog–I took King County Executive Ron Sims to task for his claims of showing leadership since the late 1980s in regards to global warming/climate change. As vice-chair of the City of Issaquah’s Air Quality and Atmospheric Task Force in 1991–and still deeply involved with the issue to this day–it’s my opinion that leadership was absent from all levels of government, including Councilman (as he was back then) Sims’ office on the issue of GW.

    But in all fairness, I cannot say that about Mr. Sims today. In the last two years, Executive Sims has shown real political courage, understanding, and vision about GW. And his recent announcement that he now opposes the roads and transit measure on November’s ballot demonstrates his awareness of the seriousness of the issue. As the Executive himself put it, “Tragically, this plan continues the national policy of ignoring our impacts upon global warming. In a region known for our leadership efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, this plan will actually boost harmful carbon emissions. In its entirety, I regrettably conclude that costs exceed benefits…”

    Sims now opposes roads measure
    Seattle Post Intelligencer
    September 27, 2007

    And I especially liked this quote: “Faced with catastrophic climate change, we need to have courage in our convictions, in our leadership and in our transportation solutions. We must question the environmental implications of our actions.”—King County Executive Ron Sims

    The roads-and-transit plan: so much cost to do so little
    Seattle Times

    Wow! Great job Ron!

    And lastly, back in 2006, I gave a power-point presentation at the Veterans for Peace National Convention held here in Seattle. The presentation’s title is, “A World of Hurt or Hope: The National Security Implications of Global Warming/ Abrupt Climate Change

    link: http://noboxthinking.com/hurthope/

  7. 8


    Under local and state largely Democratic leadership, the most regressive tax possible–the sales tax–has risen from a rate of about 6% to now, if Prop 1 succeeeds, pushing 10% in King County, an increase in rate of some 80%, over the last twenty five or so years.

    This is not something of which we Democrats should be proud–and it does not matter to which use the tax is put. And if the benefit, as with Prop 1, is pushed out twenty years–this especially just amounts to one big screw job on the middle class. Where’s the outrage? What happened to looking out for working families? A half per cent here, a half per cent there, pitched as just a few dollars per month, a stadium here, a stadium there–a road project here, a road project there, bonds here, bonds there, pitched without regard to the stagnating income of American families. Most of us don’t work for Microsoft. Some don’t work at all; and thank God when some people–like Ron Sims–look up and say, enough is enough.

    NotoProp1.Org has taken a tough, realistic position on waste in government–from massive subsidies to railroads to run incredibly inefficient commuter trains (what’s wrong with the bus, people?) — and on public projects financing — (do we really need this system badly enough now, to finance it for what, fifty years)?

    The bottom line is, if Prop 1 is seen by the electorate for what it is, $157 billion worth of misguided policy stretched over fifty years, Prop 1 will have a tough time pushing tulips 40% higher than its well deserved grave.

    Given the length and complexity of the ballot title, it is nearly impossible to poll accurately on Proposition 1. But if NoToProp1.Org succeeds in getting its message out, I’d bet thirty years of working election campaigns, that 40% is an about right number.

  8. 10

    BikeNut spews:

    Chris Van Dyk, what a fucking hypocrite. Using his crackpot rich guy buddy’s $157 billion figure, and extolling the vitues of Ron Sims, who – very recently – has been down in Oly trying to sell the legislature on long-term bonds for another publicly-subsidized sports facility.

    And how’s about that pathetic “we’re glad he’s taking a stand on sales taxes.” Talk about a load of crap. Sims is up to a full penny sales tax for his extremely expensive-to-maintain Metro bus service. And thanks to high labor costs associated with low-capacity buses, you had better bet Metro will be coming back for yet another sales tax increase soon enough.

    And where was Van Dick on Sims’ Park Levy tax hike in August? Or the EMS levy this November? Are those tax hikes “progressive?” How’s about when Sims supported a full penny sales tax increase STATE WIDE with I-884 in 2004? I’m sure if we looked hard enough, we could find attention-hungry fake populist Van Dick slamming on Sims back then, right?

    I’m sure Van Dyk sits around thinking about how awful these expensive light rail systems are as he sits on the ferry every day (everybody knows those vessels are cheap to buy, operate and maintain). You’re welcome for the subsidy we pay for your Bainbridge Island “working family” lifestyle, Chris.

    “waste in government–from massive subsidies to railroads to run incredibly inefficient commuter trains (what’s wrong with the bus, people?)”

    What’s wrong with rowing a boat across Puget Sound, Chris? The trains are full of a lot of people who wouldn’t ever get on an unreliable and often slow bus stuck in traffic. And if you want to find the middle class folks who are supposed to be OUTRAGED over evil transit subsidies, you’re a hechuva lot more likely to find them on a train headed for Auburn than you will on the “doctors and lawyers express” Bainbridge Island ferry.

    And since Van Dyk still pretends to be a Democrat, he may wish to check in with the King, Pierce and Snohomish Democratic parties, as well as all the major unions (you know, the working class) and enviro groups in the region.

    Face it Chris, the only thing you’re good at is opposing things. Unfortunately, the Citizens Against Everything approach doesn’t build anything, and it doesn’t even make an attempt to address any of the serious issues related to population growth, jobs growth, freight mobility, personal mobility (like getting to work) or anything at all. Van Dyk’s Lesser Seattle movement died off years ago, thank God. And the pathetic Kingdome – the symbol of the short-sighted, short-term mindset is now recycled concrete.

    Oh, and one last thing, Chris Van Dyk. Since you’re praising Ron Sims, Mr. Footbal, Baseball and Basketball, why don’t you take a look at his “Plan B” to Prop 1. It’s called Congestion Pricing, and it’s designed to toll the crap out of everybody using the roads and freeways to get around. You know, like all the working people who live outside of your exclusive island, and Sierra Clubs’s exclusive Seattle neighborhoods. You may also wish to examine the fact that tolling is even MORE REGRESSIVE than sales tax (and much more regressive than mvet, which is based on vehicle value). Know why? Because it’s distance based. And guess where all the affordable housing is these days (hint: not on Bainbridge, not on Queen Anne, and not in Wallingford).

    We understand why you’re giddy about Sims swerving his mental train wreck politics into the ditch. But if you possessed even the slightest bit of intellectual honesty, you would realize just how pathetic you sound holding up Sims as the new poster boy for your bumper sticker “cause”

    “It seems to me that it is another horse designed by a committee. A duplicate light rail route between Tacoma and Seattle to the exclusion of a needed one to Renton”

    Oh, so now Renton is the destination, eh Harry Tuttle? What will it be next year? Think smart planners haven’t already taken a look at all your kooky ideas? (if it’s not on the back of a napkin, it’s not good enough for the cranks).

  9. 11

    randall spews:

    I just read Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg’s response to Ron Sims. Sunday’s TNT reprints the Sims piece and a reply from Ladenburg. What I find amusing about John’s attack on Ron is that John himself threatened to resign from Sound Transit and campaign against the roads/transit package just a few months ago when local environmental groups successfully pulled money from John’s precious boondoogle the Cross Base Highway. A face saving solution was found to quiet John, but his threat to resign demonstrates to me that his belief in this package isn’t very solid and his critcism of Ron is hypocritical.

  10. 12

    michael spews:

    “Sierra Clubs’s exclusive Seattle neighborhoods.”

    That is an inaccurate statement. The Sierra Club has around 26,000 members and active groups throughout Washington State.

  11. 13

    thor spews:


    You probably meant to say that before local leadership went nutty on Prop. 1, the Sierra Club “had” 26,000 members in the state.