Seattle hits Kyoto targets

Or so Will tells me. He just got back from a briefing in the mayor’s office, that concludes that Seattle his hit the 7-percent reduction in carbon emissions targeted under the Kyoto Protocol. But then, Mayor Nickels drives a car, so I guess that’s meaningless.

More from Will later.

[UPDATE! -Will]

I’m spending the afternoon and evening at the UW doing research, so I give my thoughts on what I saw when I get a chance, but not just yet. Here’s part of the press release:

The report shows that in 2005, the latest year studied, the city’s greenhouse gas emissions were about 8 percent below 1990 levels. And on a per capita level, the reduction was about 11 percent below 1990. The city has adopted the standards of the Kyoto Treaty, which call for reducing climate pollution to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

“This is a remarkable milestone that shows how cities can lead the way in the fight against global warming,” Nickels said. “It is a success that we can all celebrate. But it is just the start of our work. To beat global warming, we must not only maintain this achievement but
go a magnitude beyond these numbers. That’s why we need everyone’s help in taking action.”

The Mayor explained his general policy positions, and then the staff people filled in the details.

No word yet from Lomborg, but this seems to be a very big deal. Probably not to some folks, but you can’t win ‘em all.

[From Paul HOLD THE LAUDITS!]

This thing stinks of cheap political opportunism (see my comment below @4), but I’m willing to keep an open mind (obviously!) till I actually read the report itself. Still, let’s not get all in a lather over self-congratulation…

[Update: I'm so busy with hw right now, but I gotta add something -Will]

ECB:

Kyoto is an extremely modest goal. The latest science says that we must reduce emissions worldwide by 80 percent—and in the US by more than 90 percent—to prevent catastrophic global warming.

Kyoto failed in the US Senate 95-0, with even Vice President Gore indicating he wanted to see developing nations take on more responsibility before the treaty would be brought to a deciding vote.

When I listened to the Mayor, he made it clear that two things must happen:

1) Cities can’t do it by themselves. We need a new POTUS before any significant federal legislation can become law.

2) For Seattle, some of the easier stuff has already been done. The next big thing to tackle is transportation.

The transportation waters are full of land mines. Seattle doesn’t have the tax base to build light rail all over the city by itself. Congestion pricing is another way to go. It’s likes saying to people, “See those roads right there, the ones you’ve been driving on, the ones you’ve already paid for? Guess what: they’re not free anymore. Oh, and also, we’re not building any light rail for you. Take the bus or more to Fremont.” Not even Ron Sims could sell that, and he can sell anything. (Example: Ron actually convinced Snohomish County to take loads and loads of King County’s shit for decades. Not proverbially. Literally.)

So, maybe we should put people into North Korea-style residential towers, feed them soylent green, and jail them for not recycling. If that’s what gets us from 7% reductions to 90% reductions, then bring it on.

Comments

  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Roger Rabbit Calculates Light Rail Fares

    Cost of Phase 1 & 2 = $42 billion ($15B for P1 + $27B for P2)

    Raised by sales tax = $3 billion ($150 x 1 million households x 20 years)

    Raised by car tabs = $4.8 billion ($30,000 average vehicle value x $80 per $10,000 x 1 million households x 20 years)

    $42B – $3B – $4.8B = $34.2B

    $34.2 billion divided by (351,000 riders x 365 days x 20 years) = $13.35

    This is for capital costs only; figure another 10% for operating expenses and repairs/maintenance and you have to charge $15 a ride to make the numbers work.

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    15 bucks a ride is CHEAP compared to what global warming will cost you if your house is less than 21 feet above sea level!

  3. 3

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    If Seattle is already hitting the Kyoto targets, why do we need a $15-a-ride streetcar?

  4. 4

    Paul Andrews spews:

    Hmmm, could the timing of this possibly be related to Nickels hosting the U.S. Conference of Mayors “Climate Summit” starting Thursday? Nah, probably just random coincidence…

    Our gas guzzling mayor (thanks Rick!) gets more phony “mileage” from his trumped-up ‘green’ reputation (see Erica C. Barnett’s delicious deconstruction) than Rudy does from 9/11. So now he’s got all his buddies coming to town, it’s time to roll out some phony pronouncement on Seattle and Kyoto standards. Let’s take a closer look at this thing, there’s gotta be a catch.

  5. 6

    YIKES spews:

    Nickles is a joke–
    First of all, he eats too much. His overindulgence and gluttony contributes to Global Warming via excess consumption and most certainly his own personal gas emissions. The guy really stinks. He must also purchase XXXL clothing. More glutony consequences.

    Secondly, he drives his car everywhere. I doubt that his big ass would even fit in a Prius or on one of those F-ing Trolly seats.

    Nickles believes since he declares something, it must be so.

    I hope someone will attempt to validate or punch huge holes in his “claims”. The last time I was in downtown Seattle this summer, I could barely breathe the air was so polluted.

  6. 7

    rtidstinks spews:

    There might be a catch, but the work of Seattle City Light in getting out of coal plants and into wind (thank you Heidi Wills and the City Council), as well as other work on conservation and efficiency really makes a difference.

    The bad news, emissions from transportation continue to go up according to this report. Since it is 50% of all emissions in the region, this threatens our long term ability to hit 80% reductions by 2050.

    Here’s a crazy idea, let’s try using the same tactics on transportation that we use on energy production. No new polluting facilities, conserve as much as we can, insist on efficiency, and use pricing to drive smart choices.

    See where I am going. Vote No on RTID. The city council did not demand a new coal plant for every wind farm, we shouldn’t let the legislature demand new highways in exchange for light rail.

    That is, if we are serious about global warming.

  7. 8

    Right Stuff spews:

    http://www.katu.com/news/local/10867671.html

    So a large part of the reduction in emissions is from City Light moving to more wind generation?
    Well I guess at the cost of hawks and eagles.

    But hey, they don’t figure in to the carbon footprint so who cares right? Or is it that we can buy some Hawk/Eagle offsets from Al Gore.

  8. 11

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Goldy,

    This just shows what a focused social will can accomplish.

    Can we all exhale now?

  9. 12

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Roger @ 1:

    Your “cost recovery” (WSST and car tabs) figures do not account for projected population increase, unless you project flat and\or no population growth in the next 20 years.

    Your revenue projections are also based on (1.) Constant ridership levels; and (2.) Do not take into account inflation. Heck, in 20 years a big mac will be $10. Also, your revenue figures imply the life of the system is only 20 years? Somehow I don’t think so.

    I find your math somewhat suspect. You should state your assumptions.

  10. 13

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I saw Nickels driving the new streetcar on the TV news. Gee I wonder how that got on TV? Betcha the mayor’s office tipped off the TV station in advance. Photo op, ya know.

    I’m surprised they let Nickels drive that thing. If he put a ding in that carbon-fiber body it would cost $25,000 to fix it.

    In the old days, a century ago, when streetcar companies where owned by greedy monopolists who insisted on turning a profit, streetcars were ugly wooden boxes nailed together from packing-box lumber for a few hundred bucks. And if the project manager told the owner that laying the rails would cost $7,941 an inch, the owner would have him shot.

    Despite the failings of robber-baron capitalism, those old-time streetcars cost a dime to ride on, didn’t bankrupt the city taxpayers, and didn’t require wind farms the size of Connecticut.

  11. 14

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    You can always tell when something was paid for by taxpayers. It reflects a golden color in the setting sun.

  12. 15

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    @7: Hawks & eagles??? What next? Invoke the Endangered Species Act? That oughtta’ be a laugher. Wingnutz decry the Act because “Endangered Species” isn’t specifically and explicitly written in the Constitution.

    But then “original intent” is basically anything you guys claim it is. Not very original, if you ask me.

  13. 16

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @11 My figures are averages. If the fare starts out at $7.50 today and rises steadily to $22.50 in 20 years, it averages $15 over the 20 years.

    The ridership today is zero. Since it will take 20 years to build the entire system, it seems reasonable to assume the projected ridership of 351,000 won’t be achieved until 20 years from now. If we add 1 million people over the next 20 years, and add only 351,000 seats of commuting capacity, light rail’s net contribution to congestion relief is -649,000 seats.

    I’m glad you mentioned inflation. In 20 years, my pension income will be exactly what it is today. This means Big Macs eventually will be priced out of my reach. It also means if you take money I need to save to pay for a transit system I won’t use and won’t live long enough to see completed, then it’s only fair that after inflation pushes the cost of living beyond my income you should pay taxes to support me.

  14. 17

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @11 “I find your math somewhat suspect.”

    I use simple math because I’m only a dumb rabbit and don’t understand the voodoo kind.

    “You should state your assumptions.”

    My assumption is that if light rail costs $27 billion (Aaron’s figure) and a million households pay $150 sales taxes for 20 years, which adds up to $3 billion, then you have to get another $24 billion from other revenue sources.

    I made some assumptions about how much the car tab tax would raise. I assumed that a million households own cars totaling $30,000 taxable value per household. You can divvy that up any way you like. 1 car worth $30,000, or 1 car worth $20,000 and a second car worth $10,000, or whatever rings your bell. I peeled the $30,000 figure off the wall because I don’t have the actual projections and it seemed reasonably ballpark. Actually, probably too high if they plan to tax the book value, because most households don’t own cars currently worth 30 grand, even though they may have paid 40 or 50 grand for them originally. Cars depreciate fast.

    Of course, if you push the slide rule boys, they’ll tell you $150 applies only for 2006, and they’re assuming inflation will push up average per-household sales tax collections. By the time Big Macs cost 10 bucks, the average household may be paying 700 or 800 bucks in Sound Transit sales taxes. This is a point they chose not to emphasize in their glossy color mailers to voters. They prefer to state things in 2006 dollars because this gets messier if voters are reminded of what inflation will do to (a) light rail’s costs and (b) these new taxes. I’m sure the voodoo boys can give you the algorithm if you press them for the real numbers instead of their phony-baloney 2006 figures.

  15. 19

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @11 (continued) All I did on Goldy’s show was take Aaron’s $150 figure and show that it would raise only 1/9th of what Aaron said Phase 2 will cost, then ask him where the other 8/9ths of the money was coming from.

    That’s when Goldy kicked me off his show.

    There’s no fucking way you can get $27 billion from $150 of sales taxes on a million households spread over 20 years. Don’t take my word for it; do the math yourself.

    Those guys didn’t want to hear that. They’re gaming the numbers. They want people to think this is only going to cost them $150 a year. I took the $27 billion and divided it by 1 million households and divided it by 20 years and came up with $1,350 per household per year. Don’t take my word for it; do the math yourself.

    As soon as I said “thirteen hundred dollars per household per year,” Goldy began overtalking me, tried to drown me out, and when I persisted in trying to get my comment on the air he cut me off. That’s fine; it’s his show, and it’s a talk show host’s prerogative to cut off rabbits who call in to rebut their propaganda so their listeners will believe their bullshit. Maybe I’ve gotten spoiled by the absence of censorship on Goldy’s blog and expected his radio show would be uncensored, too, provided you didn’t use words like “fuck” and “shit” on the air. I was wrong, that was a stupid assumption on my part; on the air, Goldy behaves just like the wingnut talk show hosts do. I’m not criticizing him; if winger radio hosts do it, why shouldn’t liberal radio hosts do it, too? Why should Goldy let some fucking rabbit poke holes in his propaganda?

    Goldy told me to post it on his blog, so I did. I’m content with that. It’s more than any wingnut would let me do. I’m not trying to make Goldy look bad. I’m only trying to get the point across that light rail costs A HELL OF A LOT MORE THAN $150 A YEAR PER HOUSEHOLD and the people pushing Prop. 1 don’t want you to think about where the other $1,200 a year will come from (hint: you). That doesn’t make Goldy or Aaron liars, it makes them propaganda artists, which is exactly what I am, so I have no incentive to criticize propaganda artists. The truth is, I’m a fucking leech taking advantage of HIS show to peddle MY propaganda, and I would have kicked me off the show, too.

  16. 20

    James spews:

    @11

    I find your math somewhat suspect. You should state your assumptions.
    ——————————
    I think one critical point is taxpayers/voters shouldn’t have to do the math. However, you won’t find it here, where you would expect it:

    http://www.rtid.org/faq.html#p.....20finances

    nor even here:

    http://www.yesonroadsandtransit.org/faq/faqs.html

    where the claims are made, but no supporting documentation is provided. This is similar to the RTID claims regarding congestion projections – selected data is provided but the supporting analysis is not posted. Given what’s at stake I would think it would be, wouldn’t you? In fact, I would think curious minds would be clamoring for this information.

    Once last point. If population is increasing dramatically over the 20 year period in question, I would think the sales tax percentage devoted to these projects would go down as more taxpayers become available to shoulder the burden. But it doesn’t as far as I can see – correct me if I’m mistaken.

  17. 21

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The only difference between my propaganda and their propaganda is that my math is honest.

  18. 22

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    One thing they should do when rewriting Prop. 1 after it goes down in flames is make shippers and trucking companies pay for the freight mobility projects. Those projects don’t benefit car drivers and are a cost of doing business that should be passed on to the business customers.

  19. 23

    Noble spews:

    Paul @4

    Seattle Could Reduce its emissions to 1900 levels, and world C02levels/climate change would still grow/accelerate. The point is not the actual effects of Seattle’s reduced emissions, but the message itself. We are showing other cities not only that the goals laid out by Kyoto are perfectly reasonable, but also how they can be attained. Surely the Mayor has very political reasons to make this announcement, but that (and the fact that he uses gasoline) does not reduce its significance. Imagine the impact if New York City, or Las Angeles follows in Seattle’s foot steps.

  20. 24

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Roger @15: “My figures are averages. If the fare starts out at $7.50 today and rises steadily to $22.50 in 20 years, it averages $15 over the 20 years.”

    Which is essentially meaningless. You project ridership won’t even start until nearly 2030! Also, you don’t tell us if this is real $$$’s (discounted back to the present), or future nominal $$$’s.

    “The ridership today is zero. Since it will take 20 years to build the entire system, it seems reasonable to assume the projected ridership of 351,000 won’t be achieved until 20 years from now. If we add 1 million people over the next 20 years, and add only 351,000 seats of commuting capacity, light rail’s net contribution to congestion relief is -649,000 seats.”

    Not quite sure of what you’re saying here…the cost doesn’t justify the small ridership increase? This may be a good point. The alternative is to add more busses or add more roads. Roads are equally as costly, and right now you practically have to hold a gun to folks’ heads to ride the bus (unless of course you are poor–they ride because they have to).

    “I’m glad you mentioned inflation. In 20 years, my pension income will be exactly what it is today. This means Big Macs eventually will be priced out of my reach. It also means if you take money I need to save to pay for a transit system I won’t use and won’t live long enough to see completed, then it’s only fair that after inflation pushes the cost of living beyond my income you should pay taxes to support me.”

    Well, that’s what you get for taking a fixed payout pension. If you didn’t have a choice in the matter, you have my sympathies. Social Security is inflation indexed, however, and I do pay taxes to current retirees….So I’m already paying taxes to support you. And I really don’t mind. As taxpayers, we pay for many things “we won’t live to use”. Wingnuts (cf Tim Eyeman) use this populist type of appeal all the time.

    Take Care & Best Wishes,

  21. 25

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Rabbit @ 17: “My assumption is that if light rail costs $27 billion (Aaron’s figure) and a million households pay $150 sales taxes for 20 years, which adds up to $3 billion, then you have to get another $24 billion from other revenue sources.”

    1. ST2 Light Rail is projected to cost about $12b, so you start by more than doubling the costs.

    2. You ignore the funds from bonds and other sources.

    Your math is, uh, to say it politely, inadequate.

    With All Due Respect,

  22. 26

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    James @ 20: “I think one critical point is taxpayers/voters shouldn’t have to do the math…”

    Really? The financial models are freely available for those willing to actually READ. The assumptions are clearly stated. They lay it all out in nominal and discounted values. Now don’t get me wrong, the assumptions may well be wrong. Roger claims ST2 will cost $24b. RTID says $12b. However, if you are going to dispute the RTID/ST2 financial models, you will have to present some numbers…i.e., do the math.

    More James @ 20: “Once last point. If population is increasing dramatically over the 20 year period in question, I would think the sales tax percentage devoted to these projects would go down as more taxpayers become available to shoulder the burden. But it doesn’t as far as I can see – correct me if I’m mistaken.”

    A responsible financial model takes this into account. You have to start by making some assumptions about economic and population growth, inflation, etc. More people means more tax revenue to pay back the costs (mostly the bonds & their interest). To put it succinctly, yes, I believe you are mistaken.

    As for the congestion studies, in the absence of any expertise in this regard, I shall conceed your point that more information is generally better than less. Look at Iraq! However, even if these studies were available in all their jargon laced profundity, most would not read them. After all, you’re the one who claims the voters ‘shouldn’t have to do the math’.

    There are many good reasons to oppose this scheme–it’s reliance on roads, its cost, its regressive funding mechanism, its negative environmental impact. But really, to discount this whole effort because they don’t give you a detailed blow by blow analysis of their congestion studies is a demand for the perfect in order that you may judge it ‘good’. I’d really hate to go shopping with you. You’d drive me nuts.

    Take care. Happy voting your “no” vote.

  23. 27

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Modified Rabbit: “The only difference between my propaganda and their propaganda is that my math is naively misleading, but the result of an honest heart.

  24. 28

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Rabbit: “Those guys didn’t want to hear that. They’re gaming the numbers. They want people to think this is only going to cost them $150 a year. I took the $27 billion and divided it by 1 million households and divided it by 20 years and came up with $1,350 per household per year. Don’t take my word for it; do the math yourself.”

    One may rightfully be appalled at the cost of this venture. Especially if it turns out to be a total failure in its stated mission.

    However, IF their numbers are right, the per household cost put out by RTID/ST2 is also right. Your calculation, on the other hand is so wrongheaded it is difficult to know where to begin critiquing it. By ignoring the financing mechanism of the capital bonds, it verges on an ineptness that strains my credulity that you, a self described leagal professional have no more sense than a…well, my imagination fails. Fortunately, you have other rational objections to RTID (which I have read ad nauseum). So please, enough already with your ‘simple math’. It is simply wrong.

  25. 29

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @24 “Also, you don’t tell us if this is real $$$’s (discounted back to the present), or future nominal $$$’s.”

    I leave those calculations to the slide rule boys.

  26. 30

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @25 “1. ST2 Light Rail is projected to cost about $12b, so you start by more than doubling the costs.”

    No, Aaron started Goldy’s show by doubling the costs. If you have a problem with his $27 billion figure, complain to him about it.

    “2. You ignore the funds from bonds and other sources.”

    Bonds produce funds? No, bonds cost funds. You borrow $P and pay back $P + I, where P = principal and I = interest.

    “Your math is, uh, to say it politely, inadequate.”

    If by that you mean simplistic, I admit it, plead guilty, or whatever. If you mean wrong, all I can say is, my understanding of where the money will come from is better than yours. All of it will come from us. Bonds are merely the means of borrowing it. Bonds don’t produce free money, they only produce interest expense.

  27. 31

    James spews:

    @26
    Really? The financial models are freely available for those willing to actually READ. The assumptions are clearly stated. They lay it all out in nominal and discounted values. Now don’t get me wrong, the assumptions may well be wrong. Roger claims ST2 will cost $24b. RTID says $12b. However, if you are going to dispute the RTID/ST2 financial models, you will have to present some numbers…i.e., do the math.
    *********

    Kindly show me the URL on the RTID Web site. I do find some dead links under “What are the cost escalators that DOT uses when estimating?”.

    Regarding this:

    *************
    As for the congestion studies, in the absence of any expertise in this regard, I shall conceed your point that more information is generally better than less.
    ************

    The point is the studies should be available to the public (who, after all, paid for them). Whether someone chooses to read them is another issue entirely. The RTID has passed very selective data to the PI and Times, and posted some of this on their own Web site. These results were generated by SOME model(s), and we should be privy to them. And we are talking about two types of documents here – the technical modeling studies, and summary documents in plain English that explain key assumptions and parameters, the reliability of the modeling, and its sensitivity to key parameters.

    None of this material is available through RTID (including upon request, incidentally, for what that’s worth).

    And without it we have no idea what the data we do have is worth. Certainly you’re at least somewhat curious whether the congestion data provided by RTID is reliable? After all, these projections and central to the Prop 1 thesis, no?

    These projections, incidentally, are for 20 years in the future. If an investment advisor wanted to charge you a princely sum every year with the claim that in 20 years your assets would be worth a certain amount , I imagine you’d be asking all sorts of questions before the first check was cut.

    Incidentally, have you seen what congestion projections do exist?

  28. 32

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @26 “Roger claims ST2 will cost $24b.”

    No, I only regurgitated Aaron’s claim that ST2 will cost $27b. Neither of us said $24b — that’s apparently a typo on your part.

  29. 33

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @27 I don’t see where my calculations are misleading, although they admittedly are simplistic. But you miss the point. The exact figures don’t matter. What matters is THERE IS NO FREAKING WAY YOU CAN PAY FOR ST2 WITH $150 OF SALES TAX REVENUE PER HOUSEHOLD therefore Prop. 1 proponents are LOWBALLING WHAT ST2 WILL COST THE AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD.

    But, just for fun, let’s use the $12 billion figure (2006 dollars) and assume there’s no inflation for the next 20 years, no interest expense, and the number of households paying sales taxes doubles (without creating any need for additional transportation spending to accomodate said population growth). Do the math: $150 x 2 million households x 20 years = $6 billion. So where do you get the other $6 billion? FROM THE SAME 2 MILLION HOUSEHOLDS! It doesn’t matter for calculation purposes whether they pay it to Sound Transit as license tab fees, income tax, sales tax, gas tax, tolls, fares, zoo admissions, or whatever. So now you have — under the above set of absurd assumptions — the average household paying $300 a year for light rail. In order for the $150 figure to be true, you need 4 million households paying into the kitty. The math is simple, but unassailable. That implies a population living within the Rapid Transit Improvement District exceeding the current population of the entire state.

    Of course, Aaron, Goldy, and the Sound Transit flacks never claimed Phase 2 will cost the average household only $150 a year. They claimed the RTID sales tax will cost the average household $150 a year. They don’t really hide the fact that’s not the only cost. But they don’t advertise the other costs, either.

    Of course, in real world terms, the $12 billion is an imaginary figure, and Sound Transit’s explanation of their rationale for using it in their promotion is tortured to say the least. That figure is based on 2006 dollars, and is already obsolete. Other projections done by the slide rule boys put the cost in actual dollars at $37 billion, not including operating costs. That includes best-guess estimates of inflation but doesn’t fiddle with complications like the time-value of money. Obviously there’ll be population growth over the 20 years, too. Let’s say you assume 40% population growth so now you’re dividing up $37 billion among a rough average of 1.2 million households and divide that by 20 years and you get $1541 a year per household. Okay, so that’s not a fancy number, and if you tweak it with a computer program costing $150,000 to install and debug you might get a different number 50% either way. So let’s say that number is 50% too high and it turns out to be $770. That’s still 5 times the $150 that Aaron was batting around on the show last night. All I’m saying is the Prop. 1 promoters want you to believe Phase 2 will cost your household $150 and that’s bullshit, no freaking way is your cost going to be that low, it’s way more than that. The exact numbers, or how you calculate them, isn’t important. What matters here is they’re lowballing the tax bite to get people to vote for it.

  30. 34

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @28 “Your calculation, on the other hand is so wrongheaded it is difficult to know where to begin critiquing it. By ignoring the financing mechanism of the capital bonds, it verges on an ineptness that strains my credulity that you, a self described leagal professional have no more sense than a…well, my imagination fails.”

    Please, by all means, explain how to make something cost less by borrowing money to buy it. If this works, there’s a lettuce farm I’d like to own.

  31. 36

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    @31, James. Go to RTID site, click “Blueprint for Progress”, see Appendix C for detailed financial model of the RTID part of the proposal. Appendix E has some financials for ST2, but not the detailed model.

    Please don’t ask me why.

    Thanks.

  32. 37

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Rabbit @ 34: “Please, by all means, explain how to make something cost less by borrowing money to buy it. If this works, there’s a lettuce farm I’d like to own.”

    No such claim was made, so you have easily demolished a figment of your own imagination.

    1. Start with ST2 published cost. This is known as “apples to apples”, a very simple concept.

    2. Dividing by “averages” is not correct, but it is simple. Cash flow projections are a bit more complex.

    3. Lastly, the revenues from the bonds are INCOME to the Transit Authority. Repayment of principal and interest is an EXPENSE to the Authority, but it is spread out well beyond the 20 year timeline. This lowers the “per household” annual cost. Your twenty year “timeline” is thus pure bunkum.

    ST2 projects the bonds will finance about a third of the cost, if I read their propaganda correctly.

    Again, I reiterate: You have many good arguments against ST2/RTID. Your numerology is not one of them.

  33. 38

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Rabbit writes: “What matters is THERE IS NO FREAKING WAY YOU CAN PAY FOR ST2 WITH $150 OF SALES TAX REVENUE PER HOUSEHOLD”

    A claim that, as far as I can tell, has not been made.

  34. 39

    James spews:

    @36

    Go to RTID site, click “Blueprint for Progress”, see Appendix C for detailed financial model of the RTID part of “the proposal. Appendix E has some financials for ST2, but not the detailed model.

    Please don’t ask me why.
    ******************************
    But I must. These documents provide little idea what the actual cost to an individual or household will be. Indeed, the detailed report doesn’t even mention population projections, a crucial component of the calculations (somewhere).

    If you go to “Roads and Transit, Yes,” they claim:

    “Sound Transit and RTID estimate that a typical household will pay $150 in additional annual sales tax if the Roads and Transit plan is approved. This number is derived using a model developed by the Washington State Department of Revenue (DOR). A State-appointed Expert Review Panel (ERP), which is composed of independent experts from around the country, reviewed and accepted this estimate.

    An increase in the MVET of .08% would cost the owner of a vehicle valued $10,000, $80 per year. The average cost per household will depend on spending habits and the number of vehicles owned.”

    Incidentally, where is the documentation for the Washington State Department of Revenue (DOR) assessment?

    If you go to RTID this is the most that is available that I could find on the subject of what an individual/household will pay:

    “This measure would impose an additional one tenth of one percent sales tax and vehicle license fee of eight tenths of one percent. The sales tax for each household would be determined by specific spending habits of each household while the motor vehicle fees can be calculated if you know the value of your car. For example, an owner of a car worth $10,000 would pay $80 and the owner of a $5,000 car would pay $40.”

    The “one tenth of one percent sales tax” claim is misleading since this is for the RTID portion of the package, and the actual increase is six tens of a percent. Moreover, there is no sales tax estimate for each household, which I found most curious.

    The “Yes” math above is a little deceptive. I believe the average household in King County has 2 cars or so (if you have another number, please provide it). I have no idea what the average worth of these would be, but $10,000 seems low. Even going with that, that means an average household will pay at least $160 more year due to the motor vehicle fee portion of RTID alone. Yes’ sales tax estimate based on the increase of .6% of $150 per household (meaning they are assuming an average household has 25K a year in expenditures privy to sales tax), takes the total outlay per household for RTID to $310 per year.

    The key question here, of course, is for how long. You write in response to Roger Rabbit:

    “Lastly, the revenues from the bonds are INCOME to the Transit Authority. Repayment of principal and interest is an EXPENSE to the Authority, but it is spread out well beyond the 20 year timeline. This lowers the “per household” annual cost. Your twenty year “timeline” is thus pure bunkum.”

    It’s the “well beyond” that’s the problem. The annual cost is lower because the debt servicing is being extended far beyond the cost of the project, meaning the overall cost of the project is higer. It’s more difficult to measure this in a “per household cost” because people die or leave and households come and go or such a long period of time.

    And none of this is the least bit clarified in the RTID docs, which it should be.

    One last note. That $310 per year or $400 per year or whatever it is is just part of the upcoming demand. There is still the 520 bridge construction, the viaduct rebuild, and numerous other road projects around the state awaiting funding. And then there are all the non-transportation needs (Ron Sims wants additional taxes for some of these).

    This is all adding up over time, I noted yesterday that our property taxes are up 40% since 1998, adjusted for inflation.

    See here:

    http://www.washingtonpolicy.or.....urden.html

    for more on the RDIT tax burden.