Seattle Times: “Our readers are too stupid to know what’s good for us them”

Of course, I always expected the Seattle Times editorial board to endorse a “No” vote on Proposition 1… they’ve been smearing the Roads & Transit package for weeks. But I was a bit surprised by the curious logic that underpins their argument to reject the package: apparently, rail simply doesn’t work.

Light rail replaces buses, and at a much higher cost per rider. Rail soaks up money buses might have used. Rail funnels transit. Buses extend it. And most rail riders will be people who were already riding the bus.

[…] Seattle may deny this, but the surest way to reduce congestion on roads is to build more lanes.

Damn right Seattle denies it — recent polls show that as many as 80-percent of Seattle voters support extending light rail. So… um… is the so-called “Seattle” Times calling 80-percent of Seattle voters stupid? Huh. That can’t be good for business.

As for the Times assertion that “the surest way to reduce congestion… is to build more lanes”… um… you mean like that twelve-lane section of Arizona’s I-10 that has done such a good job reducing congestion, they’ve decided to double it to twenty-four lanes?

Arizona’s “Freeway to Heaven”
freewaytoheaven.jpg

Yup, can’t argue with “human experience” like that.

Indeed, the Times seems to argue that rail has absolutely nothing to do with reducing congestion, but is rather some sinister exercise in social planning.

It is about increasing density, levering us into apartments around rail stations. If we live next to rail, we will drive less and help save the Earth. It is a fetching, utopian vision, but it is not so easy to change the way Americans live.

A “fetching, utopian vision”…? But wait… what about Portland, where the Times’ own Danny Westneat recently found that city’s transformative rail system to be “fast,” “cheap,” “reliable,” “quiet” and “mostly pollution free”…?

Consider Portland. That city opened its first light-rail line two decades ago, and has built several of them, all of which replaced bus lines. Overall, Greater Portland is no less car-dependent than Seattle. Its congestion has gotten worse, just as it has here.

Oh… so there’s the logic. Portland built rail. Portland’s congestion has gotten worse. So therefore, according to the brilliant logicians at the Times, rail does not reduce congestion. In fact, one might argue, it actually increases congestion.

Huh. New York City is incredibly congested, and I guess, the Times would argue, that its extensive subway and commuter rail system is at least partially to blame. Chicago’s nightmarish traffic? Must be that damned El. Same goes for Boston and its “T”, London and its Underground, Paris and its Metro, and hundreds of other gridlocked cities that also, stupidly, clog up their transportation systems with subways, elevateds, streetcars, trolleys and rail systems of all types and gauges. If only these cities had followed the sage advice of the transportation experts at the Seattle Times, and invested in roads rather than rail, traffic congestion would be a thing of the past.

nycsubwaymap.jpg
No wonder you can’t drive anywhere in NYC, what with all these damned colored lines getting in the way.

After all, who needs rail, when like Frank Blethen and Jim Vesely, you live on Mercer Island and have SOV access to I-90’s HOV lanes speeding your commute to and from Fairview Fanny?

And that’s what this editorial really comes down to: selfishness. Ron Sims opposes Prop. 1 because he’s wrong. The Sierra Club opposes Prop. 1 because they’ve sadly succumbed to their Naderite demons. But the Times editorial board opposes Prop. 1 because damn if they ever intend to ride a train, and goddamnit all to hell if they’ll ever be caught dead on a bus. I mean, just look at the disdain these folks hold for mass transit, arguing that the better (ie cheaper) alternative to rail is buses… you know… “if people will ride them.”

But then, what do you expect from the editors of our city’s largest newspaper when most of them can’t even bring themselves to live in the city they write about? When your perspective of Seattle comes from driving through it at 60 miles-per-hour, of course SOV and Lexus Lanes are your preferred transportation solutions. And of course you resent paying for a rail system that 80-percent of your readers are apparently too stupid to oppose.

Comments

  1. 1

    R spews:

    I bet none of the Times editorial members have driven on 167 down by Auburn to Sumner.

    The whole valley is the second largest distribution center on the west coast, 167 is clogged with trucks. This measure would extend 167 right to the Port of Tacoma, streamlining the truck routes, alleviating some congestion on I-5 and 18. An absolute necessity

    Before anyone decides to strike this measure down, they need to pick a suburb and pretend they live in that suburb and travel the morning and afternoon commute for one day. Pretend you live in Kent and work at the Everett. Pretend you live in Auburn and work in Pioneer Square. Pretend you live in Federal Way and work in Redmond.

    People need to face what the region faces in terms of traffic and not what Mercer Island elites face.

    Tri-Met Rocks. It’s a work in progress, they keep adding on to it. The freeway is still clogged because the transportation system is attracting more people to live in the city, fostering its growth. Seattle is 20 years behind PDX

  2. 2

    please pay attention spews:

    Nice job Goldy! I didn’t expect the Times to endorse Proposition 1 either. After all, this is the paper who’s editorial board features five members of the Mercer Island Blethens, their MI neighbor James Vesely, and a host of other non-threatening folks who like the Blethens.

    But this time they have set a new standard for loopyness in editorializing.

    First they raise a straw man about the evil Sound Transit board being able to do whatever they want. Simply not true. The ST board is made up of people accountable to the voters, and their actions are highly scrutinized. The legislature can (and may, just like last session) change governance at any time.

    The Times view that what we need is more freeways goes against all logic. We simply do not have the space to build our way out of congestion with single occupancy vehicles. We would have to pave the region to meet the needs of single humans traveling in 15 foot rectangular boxes. This is the wrong thing to do for global warming and for our region. This truly would cause sprawl.

    The Times editorial should give pause to thoughtful voters swayed by the Sierra Club Executive Board’s stand on Proposition 1. There are powerful road building forces out there and a package that spends two-thirds for transit to build 50 miles of light rail is pretty amazing. The RTID is criticized by the Club’s board as being a gargantuan roads program, yet the Times wants more.

    And the Times offers us buses. As Goldy said, these folks would never ride a bus. Or even a train. Which is precisely why they can’t understand what rail can mean to our future here. The editorial board of the Times can continue to live in their suburban hideaways, but there are many people who want to live near station areas. Developers love rail. Cities love tax revenues. People love to live near a station in a neighborhood with retail and restaurants. This is an opportunity to build about 25 of these new dense communities throughout the region.

    Finally, the Times mentions Portland and the three light rail votes that have failed. What they fail to mention is that those were votes in conservative Clark County where 400,000 live comfortably by shopping and working in Oregon and living in no-income-tax Washington. These folks are not inclined to pay for anything. The reason rail to the north keeps coming up is that the leaders of the region know that to build another bridge and freeway would be more expensive and sheer folly.

  3. 3

    rex spews:

    Thank heavens the Times endorsed a NO vote. Now I know how to vote.

    Them – 2000 Bush – 2004 Rossi – 2007 No more light rail

    Me – 2000 Gore – 2004 Gregoire – 2007 Lot’s more light rail

    Thanks Frank!!

  4. 4

    bob spews:

    I love the Times’ subtle socio ecconomic baiting used in the piece with the the word “appartment” being used to describe the type of development that will occur around rail stations.

    Appartments are great, and so are condos and townhouses that also are built around rail stations. Jim V you should visit Rainier Vista on your way to work from Mercer Island.

    Appartments, Condos, Townhomes and even single family homes all there.

    Jim wants you to think that development around light rail stations will be full of poor criminals living in “appartments”

  5. 5

    remmy7 spews:

    Sierra Club – still think light rail will be back next year with the wind at its back??

    Kemper, Mark Baerwaldt, Seattle Times, Phil Talmadge, Ron Sims – think these clowns are going away next year?

  6. 6

    SW+PNW spews:

    While you are correct in using AZ’s I-10 24-lane proposal as a drastic reaction, er, solution to the already overbuilt freeway (except between Phx and Tucson, where two-lanes are beyond dangerous), know that Phoenix is also building light rail for the metro area.
    And, I like to use the Seattle Times’ endorsements–it’s an easy way to know what NOT (or whom) to vote for.

  7. 7

    hotfootharp spews:

    I guess the slimes would think that I’m too stupid to read their rag. I quit reading the Seattle slimes years ago, when they were still pimping for Ronald Reagan.

    The PI, marginally better.

    All things will pass…

  8. 8

    eugene spews:

    Once again these people do not read their own reporting. Today’s Times has a front page article showing Puget Sound residents are driving less and using more transit. That is not just an argument for light rail, it is PROOF that the public is yearning for public transit alternatives like those offered by Prop 1.

    Of course, the antis still believe folks just won’t leave their cars, even when the evidence is staring them in the face…

  9. 9

    uptown spews:

    The problem with adding more lanes to existing highways is that most drivers want to get off at some point, and that’s where you get the major cause of congestion…bottlenecks.

    Mass transit, on dedicated routes, allows you to carry more people into a smaller area like downtown Seattle, because you don’t have to find a place to put all those cars once the commuter is at work.

  10. 10

    spews:

    Goldy,

    I agree that the Seattle Times is dead wrong. But that’s why I am against RTID, because it tries to solve congestion by adding more highway capacity.

    Calling the Sierra Club Naderites is sliminess you would expect from Republicans. If you disagree with them, fine, explain why. But to attack an organization that has never endorsed or supported Ralph Nader is just a smear. Unless you really think the Sierra Club is your enemy, you can do better than this.

    Charles Nobb
    Seattle, WA

  11. 11

    Mike McGavik spews:

    Speaking from experience, having the Seattle Times doesn’t exactly amount to more votes.

    Look for Prop 1 to pass by 20 percent.

    Mike!

  12. 12

    Donnie T spews:

    “After all, who needs rail, when like Frank Blethen and Jim Vesely, you live on Mercer Island and have SOV access to I-90’s HOV lanes speeding your commute”

    Keep in mind, Goldy – SOME of the old white guys against rail (OWGAR) at the Times don’t want to lose the “special rights” associated with their own onramps/offramps on MI – but ALL of the Blethen Family Newsletter ed board scores big with Ron Sims’ “Plan B.”

    The Discovery Institute has been pushing this “BRT on HOT” Lexus lane crap for a while now. If the OWGARs at the Times gets their way, not only will they have their own on-ramps, they will also get their own bus lanes!

    Why? Two reasons:

    1) they can afford $10 per 5 mile tolls, and will simply bill the Blethen piggy bank.

    2) OWGAR ed board members also get to pick when they come to work (if they feel like it) so the Ron Sims/Sierra Cub Scout “Congestion Pricing” plan works out well for them; it also screws the middle class who can’t pick and chose when they get on the highway (tolls will be much higher during rush hour). Their bosses pick for them.

    See, it’s a win-win for the old Interstate Era grumps!

    I think the Times did us Prop 1 supporters a favor with their cave-dweller editorial (sign up Ted Van Dyk!).

    Their message: shuddup and get on the bus… or drive, and pay a big toll.

  13. 13

    spews:

    Build more lanes, burn more gas, kill more ayrabs. Build more lanes, burn more gas, kill more ayrabs. Build more lanes, burn more gas, kill more ayrabs. Build more lanes, burn more gas, kill more ayrabs.

    Get the picture?

  14. 14

    Joe Pine spews:

    The Seattle Times editorial writer should take his false teeth out, put them in backwards and bite himself in the neck.

    Then he should go gargle with razor blades!!

  15. 15

    spews:

    Prop 1 has really been fucked over by both sides.

    As Sims says, this is badly written legislation likely to lead to later issues. One should not fund a program with binds on an open ended basis.

    As Goldy says, building light rail extend a lot further in creating a regional system then buses. Because LR is fixed, ti will shape the development of housing and business patterns. That is why LR exceeds busees or lanes in aqbility to diminish traffic.

    So, to vote on this issue is complex. A YES vote puts your trust in regional pols who, with the xception of Sims, have been unwilling to come out and suppoet Prop 1 on its specifics.

    A NO vote, will likely be misinterpreted as opposition to regional planning of any sort and end up adding to our costs.

    I have decided to hold my nose and vote YES but I will also count this as a major reason to support opponents to Murry, Nickles, and Gregoire, I predict that by 4 years form now, Prop 1 will be turned into a major issue for the Dem party .. of course that assume the Repicans are still in business.

  16. 16

    rtidstinks spews:

    The politics of this joint ballot measure can seem very confusing, and here is why. A whole bunch of the advocates on both sides are stuck in the “roads vs. rails” debate of the last century. When victory for either side is measured in dollars spent on each, spending money on both can seem like a prudent compromise.

    But the real debate for our future is whether we will spend billions of dollars to make global warming worse, or whether we will create a transportation plan to fight global warming. That is why leaders in the fight against global warming, Ron Sims and the Sierra Club, have come out against the ballot measure.

    Puget Sound Regional Council tells us we can expect driving to increase by 43%, and their analysis includes light rail development. Experts tell us that this amount of growth in driving will make it almost impossible to solve global warming pollution from transportation. This ballot measure is business as usual on transportation, which means more global warming pollution.

    Hence liberal confusion. Folks like Goldy are measuring success by the terms of the past. Expanding light rail is a victory under those terms. As is beating folks like the Seattle Times Ed Board.

    However, voters who care about global warming need to focus on this question –how do we reduce global warming emisssions 80% by 2050? Nobody can credibly claim that this ballot measure helps. How could it when it contains a massive increase in highway capacity?

    The issue of global warming will only continue to increase in importance. Sims and the Sierra Club are ahead of the opinion leader curve, but the public is looking for leadership on global warming. The compromises of the past won’t cut it with them. We need to vote no, and demand a better plan. That is what it means to get serious about global warming.

  17. 17

    Piper Scott spews:

    Here’s something I just picked up from a comment thread at Crosscut.com:

    http://reason.tv/video/show/6.html

    Drew Carey giving us free market options for transportation planners. Talk about your congestion pricing! And done without a penny of public funds! What’s not to like about that?

    The Piper

  18. 18

    Joe Pine spews:

    If auto dealerships are against anything that reduces the number of cars on the road, and auto dealerships spend a lot of advertising dollars at the Seattle Times, and light rail will reduce the number of cars on the road, then it becomes obvious (in a market driven way) why they are against light rail.

  19. 19

    ArtFart spews:

    Actually, if advice such as is being offered up by the Times had been followed in New York City for the last three-quarters of a century or so, there might be less congestion. The reason is that by now they would have blanketed every square inch of Manhattan with concrete and there wouldn’t be any people there.

  20. 20

    ArtFart spews:

    17 Funny how the commercials for Bill Pierre no longer boast of Lake City being only “20 minutes away”.

  21. 21

    Joe Pine spews:

    #15 ___ As long as ostensibly liberal papers like the Seattle Times offers some crank meteorologist from Colorado equal billing sith 99% of the world’s climatologists, there will always be doubt that something needs to or can be done about global warming.

    In journalism the fantasy persists that all opinions are of equal value. For the Times to just put it out there that here’s what 99% of the world’ climatologist’s think and here’s what the crank from Colorado thinks as being equally valid points of view smacks of irresponsible journalism.

    But, the way liberals have been treated in the MSM for the last 25 years, it makes me glad that Rupert Murdoch got ahold Of the Wall Street Journal. Let him fuck up the economic elites’ paper.

    Their editorial page will remain essentially unchanged, as it had already been lowered to Murdoch’s standards before he took over.

  22. 22

    rtidstinks spews:

    Goldy

    The Sierra Club is inspired by Al Gore — the Nobel Peace Prize winner who calls for bold action on global warming before it is too late.

    The Sierra Club was also called Naderite for not supporting a tunnel to replace the Alaska Way Viaduct. You remember, the tunnel the other environmental organizations were supporting due to their superior ability to understand “political reality.” Now the politicians are seriously working on a non-highway solution.

    Don’t underestimate the speed with which the conventional wisdom can be proven wrong. Particularly when the issue involves global warming, which more and more voters believe is a growing threat which demands immediate attention.

  23. 23

    please pay attention spews:

    10 & 15

    The comparison with Nader is an apt one. In 2000 many progressives felt comfortable enough to vote and campaign for Nader. We ended up with eight years of terror under George Bush. Folks voted for Nader because they were fed up with the centrist policies of both parties.

    Now we have the fundamentalists at the Sierra Club who insist that if you believe we must fight global warming you must vote against all roads. They are willing to sacrifice 50 miles of light rail in a package that is two-thirds transit on that principle.

    That is only a good bet if you can guarantee that those roads won’t be built somehow. Because when and if rail comes back we will get less, it will take longer, it will cost more. And most of those roads will end up being built anyway. The Times editorial is exhibit one in the strength of the roads lobby.

    Sierra Club members insult us by claiming that you cannot care about global warming and vote for Proposition 1. The fact that they stand virtually alone in the environmental community on this issue is telling. We need rail and we need as much as we can build as soon as we can build it so that we can move people and build dense communities around stations.

    Fairview Fanny, Kemper Freeman, and the Sierra Club are wrong. Vote YES on Proposition 1.

  24. 24

    spews:

    Great post, Goldy! There’s no way to reduce CO2 emissions without building these rail investments, and the road investments are a small part of the package that will be built anyway.

    And yes – more capacity does NOT reduce congestion. There’s really no way to reduce congestion without reducing capacity. Tolling and congestion pricing won’t fly with voters, and because you’d likely have to amend state law to use congestion pricing, non-Seattle reps and senators will shoot that right down, just like they did in New York.

  25. 25

    spews:

    “NoRTID” – There has been no plan in recent history that invests as much in alternatives as this one. The roads Prop 1 funds will be funded by state means if we don’t pass this measure – but the transit will not. There is no “better option”. There is no other way to get light rail. Sound Transit was forced by the state legislature to go to ballot with RTID, and they will be again if they’re even allowed to continue to exist. Vote yes on Prop 1 – fight the smaller road battles later, get the alternatives now.

  26. 26

    Piper Scott spews:

    @23 & 24…BS…

    Investments? What’s the rate of return? What will my financial gain be on these “investments?” How much revenue, dividends, interest, capital appreciation will they produce or accumulate?

    “Investments?” This is good old-fashioned SPENDING at a level unprecedented in history. And it’s spending that begs more spending since it doesn’t fully fund everything it starts.

    Will these “investments” produce results on time, on budget, as adevertised? Or will these “investments” be just like every similar “investment” of this type we’ve seen since the first freight wagon slogged along a mud road in the Washington of the 1880’s???

    “Investments???” Whenever I hear proposal pimps use that term, it’s a pretty good bet that what they want to “invest” is everyone else’s money.

    You pretty much dissed Roger Rabbit with your condescending offer to cover the added cost to his budget of his “investment” in Prop 1, so how about going all the way? You willing to cover the “investments” for every similarly situated household? After all, if it’s such a great “investment,” then you’ll eventually reap all that much more reward.

    How’s about it??? Or isn’t your sure bet on Prop 1 that great an “investment?”

    More like the biggest bait and switch scam in the history of the universe. The Nigerian oil minister is green with envy.

    The Piper

  27. 27

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Ironically, the Seattle Times’ headline story today presents facts that seem to directly contradict the paper’s editorial stance:

    “Statistics show Puget Sound-area residents buying fewer cars, driving fewer miles and using more public transit.”

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/home/

    The article says (in part):

    “After years of commuting from his Greenwood-area home to his downtown job, Steve Kaiser decided last year to move closer to his office near Pike Place Market. He now walks the few blocks to his job. His … driving has plummeted to about 4,000 miles a year — about 80 percent less than before. ‘It just seemed excessive to be driving every day,’ he said.

    “A growing number of fellow King County residents apparently feel the same way. Data from several key traffic measures indicate that as traffic congestion worsens, many drivers may be starting to make significant changes in how they get around — including driving less and owning fewer vehicles.

    “• The average number of miles driven per person in the Puget Sound area has leveled off, growing just 0.8 percent a year for the five-year period between 2001 and 2006 …, according to a Puget Sound Regional Council report in August.

    “• The number of new vehicles added each year to King County roads fell dramatically during that same period, from an average of 33,000 per year between 1980 and 1990 to just 11,000 per year between 2000 and 2006, according to calculations based on figures provided by the state Department of Licensing (DOL) ….

    “• The ratio of registered cars to drivers … also dropped significantly … in 2007 ….

    “Instead of sitting in traffic and paying high gas prices, more people appear to be choosing to use public transit, move closer to their jobs, telecommute or make other lifestyle changes. The fact … population growth in King County has come in urban areas, partly as a result of the 1990 Growth Management Act, also helps explain the trends, said Mark Hallenbeck, director of the state Transportation Research Center at the University of Washington. …

    “The steady growth of Metro Transit ridership … is another piece of the multifaceted trend, officials say. Metro Transit is on a record pace again this year, with ridership running almost 7 percent higher than in 2006, the agency reported last week. Sound Transit boardings have gone from about 4.5 million during its first full year of operation in 2000 to a projected 12.8 million this year.”

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: These are the first hard numbers I’ve seen on commuter behavior, and they blow away rightwing arguments that public transportation is just pie-in-the-sky liberal ideology, because they reflect what’s actually happening outside in the real world. I would expect these trends to continue as cars and gasoline grow ever more expensive.

    But the anecdotal lead-in about Mr. Kaiser also opens my eyes to something I hadn’t realized before: It isn’t just low-mileage retirees who will be unfairly taxed by Prop. 1 — there’s a growing number of COMMUTERS out there who still need to own cars for various reasons but are using them less as they move closer to work or find commuting alternatives to single-occupancy POVs.

    Among its many flaws, Prop. 1 fails to reward drivers who reduce the car miles they drive on local roads. They will pay exactly the same car tab fees and increased sales taxes as people who continue to rack up daily commuting miles in their road-clogging, fuel-gobbling, emission-spewing SUVs. That’s not only unfair, it also creates disincentives to taking the bus or train.

    HA readers who have been following my arguments against Prop. 1 in recent days may be under the impression I’m pro-car, pro-highways, and anti-transit. I’m none of those things! I’m a 30-inch tall, 31.2-lb. rabbit living in a public park whose mommy was run over on East Greenlake Way by a drunk Republican driving too fast in an SUV. (sniffle) I don’t need no fucking bus, train, light rail, or (above all) CAR to get around! I have a perfectly good pair of hind feet (which came with built-in samurai claws that come in handy for dealing with dogs, peregrine falcons, Republicans, and anyone else who thinks they can take a piece of fur out of a rabbit anytime they feel like it — c’mon, fuckers, TRY IT!!! BRING IT ON!!!)

    While I don’t subscribe to the ideology that cars are inherently evil — some of their drivers are (see, e.g., Jane Hague), but cars themselves are merely inanimate marvels of engineering) — or the notion that it’s practical to abolish all cars from our urban centers, as a pragmatic down-to-earth bunny I do think reasonably priced, well-designed, soundly-managed, publicly-owned mass transportation makes sense for fulfilling a significant percentage of commuting needs in high-population-density urban areas; and that we need to improve the public transit options available in the Greater Puget Sound area as part of an overall transportation solution.

    My overall beef with Prop. 1 is that, despite its high price, it fails to deliver a comprehensive solution to our transportation problems; and uses utterly the wrong mix of user charges and general tax increases (none of the former, all of the latter) to pay for it.

    A couple years ago, I was under the impression that Puget Sound voters would be asked to approve a package of local taxes to pay for priority projects. What those projects are has never been a mystery: Replacing the aging Alaska Way Viaduct and 520 bridge were at the top of the list, along with some lesser-known but equally pressing replacements such as the South Park bridge.

    Since then, AWV has turned into a stalemate over whether to replace the viaduct at all (even though the legislature has appropriate all of the needed funding from state funds), the transportation dreamers have turned 520 into a colossally expensive gold-plater that caters to cars by expanding S.R. 520’s lane capacity by 50 percent, and two-thirds of Prop. 1 turns out to be the massive (and hugely expensive) expansion of light rail that voters found too expensive to pay for the last time we took a vote on this subject. And, even worse, Prop. 1 pays for it by taxing those least able to pay and least likely to use the expanded light rail system. It hits senior citizens on fixed incomes particularly hard.

    I was forced to oppose Prop. 1 because it is an ill-conceived, overly expensive, and in some ways deceptive mutant concocted by a committee more to fulfill perceived political needs than to solve our region’s transportation problems.

    I say “deceptive” because many people voting for it no doubt will believe it builds the 520 replacement bridge. Wrong; you’ll be asked for another tax increase for that later. Also, some people may believe it completes, or at least is the end of requests for new money for, Sound Transit’s light rail system. Wrong again; ST boosters are already planning to come back and ask for MORE MONEY for what they call “Phase 3″ — and Phase 1 isn’t even up and running yet. Worst of all, the construction schedule is such that we’ll be paying taxes beginning next year for transportation amenities some of us won’t live long enough to see built.

    I’m not against mass transit; all I’m sayin’ is, Prop. 1 is a first draft that needs more work. How many manuscripts, engineering plans, or research projects get approved without revision or editing? Quality comes from constructive review and revision of preliminary design ideas. Passing Prop. 1 will be like undertaking an expensive home remodeling project from pencil sketches drawn on a restaurant napkin, when what we need is a blueprint with itemized material and labor estimates that has been revised from initial vision to a practical plan that conforms to real-life budgetary limitations. You can spend a million dollars on a kitchen re-do, if you want, but in the real world we all have to make the remodel fit the limits of our bank account. How we design, prioritize, cost, and pay for publicly-financed transportation (roads and mass transit) is no different.

  28. 28

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Another way in which Prop. 1 is deceptive is no one is talking about how we’re going to pay for the higher operating subsidies that an expanded light rail system will need. What light rail boosters want to do is get you on the hook for the construction costs, then come back to you for MORE MONEY after you’ve invested in the infrastructure and have no choice but to fork over the unexpected bill for operating expenses.

  29. 29

    Piper Scott spews:

    @27…RR…

    Rog, it’s not an investment, as you very well articulate @26…It’s SPENDING on a breathtakingly large and uncontrollable basis. In for a penny, in for billions of dollars.

    As long as all the competing, pushmepullyou interests and jurisdictions continue to do what they do, we’ll get nothing but packages like Prop 1. The whole thing needs to be deconstructed, given over to a single agency responsible for all transportation planning and funding, and operated on behalf of all affected citizens.

    Prop 1 resembles WPPSS more and more in the scope of its pending disaster.

    The Piper

  30. 30

    rtidstinks spews:

    @22

    One can care about global warming and be deluded into thinking that this ballot measure helps. And saying that “Most of these roads will be built anyway” is hardly a call to action against global warming.

    The Sierra Club is joined by Cascade Bicycle Club and Conservation NW, and I suspect their combined membership dwarfs the membership of those supporting the proposition.

    Highway expansion makes global warming worse, and this ballot measure does not even purport to put us on the path to 80% reductions by 2050. RTID and Sound Transit did not even bother to study the issue. The truth is inconvenient to light rail supporters, but it is a truth we have to deal with. Vote this down and demand a better plan that actually fights global warming. That will include light rail, and a lot fewer roads than Freeman and the Seattle Times want.

  31. 31

    ArtFart spews:

    25 Hey, you wanna talk spending? So what the hell has a half-trillion dollars’ worth of war bought us? And yes, the comparison is relevant.

  32. 32

    spews:

    Great post Goldy. I talked about this today too.

    http://betterdonkey.org/node/1057

    The Times arguement that adding roads will solve congestion is so idiotic that it’s almost laughable.

    For every 10 percent increase in roadway capacity, traffic increased 9 percent within four years’ time. Roads don’t solve anything.

    But the Times doesn’t have to actually read any books on this subject to get a clue on why adding roads doesn’t work. A simple Google search and a click on the Traffic Congestion article will easily give you the best line that even the Times editorial board could understand:

    Adding road capacity has been compared to “fighting obesity by letting out your belt”

    I guess to the lumbering, stuck-in-the-past Times editorial board, that sounds like a delicious idea.

  33. 34

    relax spews:

    Enough with the histrionics! Vote this first effort down. The electeds need some leverage. This way they can tell all the contractors “No, you can’t get your full wish-list next time.”

    Soon we’ll see a more modest plan. One emphasizing repair (not new highways), and paid for by a balanced financing package. Yes, there will be more money for light rail. Light rail is not going anywhere, chicken-littles.

    And for those of you who haven’t got the message yet, a massive sales tax increase is not the “best and only” way to pay for things. Just because Julia Patterson told you that, you don’t have to believe her!

    Sims is correct. This package is too expensive for the average Jane, and the demand side needs to be addressed immediately (eg, tolling based on when and where the vehicle is driven). Those are just two of the points he makes that we should heed.

    The lege is already making noises about Plan B, and we’ll be better off waiting for that.

    When faced with one option that has as many flaws as this one does, go with what your gut is telling you. I’ll let you figure out what I mean by that.

  34. 35

    spyder spews:

    Just a note on AZ; outside of Phoenix the state’s highway system is all too capable of expanding across dozens of lanes. Open flat (for the most part) desert makes that easier than does a congested built-up city along a coastline. There are six and eight lane boulevards in Tucson that go to nowhere, and two-lane wide, one-way streets that carry an entire university’s traffic. They don’t seem to care. It is also unfair to mention AZ in relation to WA in nearly every way actually as one is an evergreen state and the other an everorange one; we could propose to move some of these trolls down there, where they would feel right at home with their kindred wingers.

  35. 36

    please pay attention spews:

    @ 29

    One can care about global warming and be deluded that we can vote this down and get light rail without building those roads.

    As for the Sierra Club and Cascade Bicycle Club–neither even bothered to poll their membership–easy to do in the electronic age. If they had, I think they would have found their members divided evenly.

    Vote this down and you may not get light rail for even longer.

  36. 37

    Puddybud spews:

    Joe Pine was gargling with box cutters when e pixel-farted this: “As long as ostensibly liberal papers like the Seattle Times offers some crank meteorologist from Colorado equal billing sith 99% of the world’s climatologists”…

    Joe Swine, do you know who Bill Gray is? He’s mentored dozens of scientists Joe Swine. He’s the World’s Most Famous Hurricane Expert Joe Swine. He’s the guy who pretty accurately predicts the potential hurricane numbers during the coming tropical storm season Joe Swine. But he missed the storm blowing in your small single cell cranial orifice Joe Swine. He’s done this year after year, every year for about 50 years Joe Swine. The Weather Channel calls him in to address the next season Joe Swine.

    Oh no, Dr Bill discussed statistics demonstrating there were 101 hurricanes from 1900 to 1949, in a period of cooler global temperatures, compared to 83 from 1957 to 2006 when the earth warmed.

    “The human impact on the atmosphere is simply too small to have a major effect on global temperatures,” Dr Gray said.

    Notice no one in the liberal MSM has printed his comments from North Carolina? Why is that? Agenda maybe…?

    “It bothers me that my fellow scientists are not speaking out against something they know is wrong,” he said. “But they also know that they’d never get any grants if they spoke out. I don’t care about grants.”

    “I’ve been in meteorology over 50 years. I’ve worked damn hard, and I’ve been around. My feeling is some of us older guys who’ve been around have not been asked about this. It’s sort of a baby boomer, yuppie thing.”

    “Few people know what I know. I’ve been in the tropics, I’ve flown in airplanes into storms. I’ve done studies of convection, cloud clusters and how the moist process works. I don’t think anybody in the world understands how the atmosphere functions better than me.”

    Yes, Joe Pine, this “quack” is the foremost hurricane person in the world. But not in your mind! Did you have Perfesser DJ as an instructor?

  37. 38

    Two Thumbs Down spews:

    “Roads & Transit” is by the richest, for the richest.

    They want what this package offers? Let ‘em pay for it. Yes – that means MSFT, WAMU and the Realtors would have to pay. Good. They can afford it.

    Do not fuck your neighbors for decades. Want to strike a blow in favor of the little guy? Vote no.

  38. 39

    ArtFart spews:

    31 “‘Adding road capacity has been compared to “fighting obesity by letting out your belt’

    I guess to the lumbering, stuck-in-the-past Times editorial board, that sounds like a delicious idea.”

    Well, it’s not surprising that someone working there might come up with a metaphor like that, considering they are right next door to 13 Coins…

  39. 40

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @28 “As long as all the competing, pushmepullyou interests and jurisdictions continue to do what they do, we’ll get nothing but packages like Prop 1. The whole thing needs to be deconstructed, given over to a single agency responsible for all transportation planning and funding, and operated on behalf of all affected citizens.”

    For once I agree with you, Piper. However, our democratic governing process is ill-suited to produce rational proposals that are sound from both an engineering and dollars-and-cents standpoint. Where I part company with wingnuts is that, unlike them, I won’t insist on a perfect transportation plan (or a perfect election system) as a condition of building transportation (or holding elections) at all. I tend to go with the “perfect is the enemy of good” school of real-world pragmatism. But where I part company with the Prop. 1 boosters on this page is their definition of good. That aphorism, in my view, doesn’t apply to Prop. 1; in my opinion, Prop. 1 is a case of “awful is also the enemy of good.”

  40. 41

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    There are times when high-handed exercise of executive power may be a good thing; after we’ve demonstrated that local political processes are incapable of producing a feasible regional transportation plan, perhaps the governor should direct the head of WSDOT to impose a rational and feasible regional transportation plan. Sometimes, there comes a time when someone needs to stand up and tell everyone else to shut up, and hand out give orders. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what needs to be done and how we should pay for it.

  41. 43

    Joe Pine spews:

    “A rational compromise is arrived at when both parties benefit from it.” Some old Greek Guy

  42. 44

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @30 Of course it’s relevant, but it’s also water over the dam. We can’t get back the trillion dollars Bush blew in Iraq. But that’s somewhat of a red herring. What we need to do is stop the local politicians who think they can spend a billion dollars on sports stadiums, then spend the same billion dollars again on schools, then spend billions on light rail, then spend the same billions again on Puget Sound, then spend them again on the gigantic bill coming due soon for water and sewer infrastructure rebuild, ad infinitum. The planners, bureaucrats, and politicos — and, above all, the people who sit on regional planning councils making decisions to spend our money — utterly fail to understand that I (and you) can’t hand over the same dollar 100 times for 100 different projects and 100 new taxes. What our so-called leaders consistently fail to do is what every head of household MUST do, which is to sit down and figure out an overall budget for ALL the household’s needs that stays within the household’s total income. If we leave these so-called “leaders” to their own devices, they quite literally will impose hundreds of thousands of dollars of future tax obligations on each one of us. We have got to learn how to say “no” to these fools before they bankrupt us all.

  43. 45

    OneMan spews:

    @40: What makes you think that a plan by fiat would be any better than what’s on the table right now? Why would the Governor and SDOT not succumb to political forces that might make their plan worse than Prop 1?

    This might not be the best plan evar but I’m convinced that acquiring and building on the right-of-ways NOW will help control and direct the growth that’s coming anyway.

    As has been pointed out multiple times before, waiting another 5 years for another plan that might not be better and could be worse is a bad idea in my book.

    -OM

  44. 46

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Roger Rabbit,

    The GDP of the Sea-Tac-Bellevue area is approaching $200 billion PER YEAR. Surely, such a place can afford, let us say, $60 billion spread out over twenty years. This works out to around 1.5% of regional GDP per year. Not much.

    Frankly, as a nation, we are undertaxed. The GOP has been very successful in promoting the idea that, in the public realm, you can get something for nothing. And I agree with you that RTID’s financing is regressive. That, to me, it what makes it a tough choice, nothing else.

    The environmental concerns raised by the Sierra Club are also valid. But when gas goes up to around $150/gallon (witch might be sooner that one thinks), the busses will fill up–believe it or not. Your car will be on blocks outside your burrow. Besides, your price is too high.

    Best Regards,

  45. 47

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    R. Rabbit: “…..perhaps the governor should direct the head of WSDOT to impose a rational and feasible regional transportation plan. Sometimes, there comes a time when someone needs to stand up and tell everyone else to shut up, and hand out give orders.”

    You mean turn it over to ‘the Decider’? Democracy is messy. For shame. You know better.

    “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what needs to be done and how we should pay for it.”

    Well, all available evidence would point to exactly the opposite conclusions. A magic bullet technical ‘solution’ is a fantasy. Our state’s resolute failure to consider sane tax policies is well known (i.e., the need for a progressive income tax), and the political obstacles are huge.

    Yr. Obd. Servant,

  46. 48

    MagneticPersonality spews:

    “Rog, it’s not an investment, as you very well articulate @26…It’s SPENDING on a breathtakingly large and uncontrollable basis. In for a penny, in for billions of dollars.”

    I love it when die-hard war supporters like Piper Scott try to play the “fiscal conservatism” card.

    War spending in Iraq is nearing $500 billion, with another $500 billion to go. (ie, Roads & Transit for every state in the union, including Idaho)

    Unlike the money we piss down the toilet overseas for Piper Scott’s little Neocon experiment, the $18 billion (over 20 years, as opposed to 5) these anti-everything clowns are whining about IS indeed an investment here: local jobs, local companies, local suppliers, etc. And, unlike Iraq, when the project is done, local people benefit.

    And, no, they are not government jobs. They are private sector jobs.

    In contrast, the private sector jobs in Iraq go mostly to foreigners.

    Contractors employed in Iraq by U.S. tax dollars, according to the most recent government data:

    21,000 Americans,
    43,000 foreign contractors
    118,000 Iraqis

    And that is just fine for freedom-loving “patriots” for Piper Scott.

    In fact, if you take a look at all the major employers funding Prop. 1, they read like a “who’s who” of major donors to both the Democrat AND Republican parties. (But, in Roger’s mind, the word “employer” has dirty implications.)

    If Roger decided to leave his pensioning, he might be able to get one of these “job” things. He could even make enough take-home to pay that $200 per year in one day. Imagine that!

  47. 49

    MagneticPersonality spews:

    “The environmental concerns raised by the Sierra Club are also valid. But when gas goes up to around $150/gallon (witch might be sooner that one thinks), the busses will fill up–believe it or not. Your car will be on blocks outside your burrow. Besides, your price is too high.”

    So, Roger, Mr. Single Occupancy vehicle, is sure high gas prices will force “somebody else” on to a shitty bus stuck in traffic, and is now suddenly concerned about the environment?

    If I’m stuck in traffic, I would much rather be in the confines of my car, rather than crammed on to a Metro bus. I could walk or ride my bike faster than these things during rush hour.

  48. 51

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    @48: Dear Mr. Personality,

    I did not say if people being forced into busses was good or bad. I simply offered the opinion that future events (such as peak oil) will leave us little choice.

    Single occ. vehicles are very nice. The future for them is very glum. Economically, they (and the lifestyle we have built around them) are an extravagant waste of resources.

    Busses are slow, crowded, and not very pleasant. This can be changed.

    Human extinction: Most species manage to hang around about 10 million years (average). How are we doing?

  49. 52

    MagneticPersonality spews:

    “They want what this package offers? Let ‘em pay for it. Yes – that means MSFT, WAMU and the Realtors would have to pay. Good. They can afford it.”

    Sorry, Two Thumbs Down, but Washington State Business already bears the highest burden of taxes already, among the 7 Western States. Because we do not have an income tax, the individual actually gets off pretty easy.

    You and Roger may feel otherwise, but the stats tell the story: http://www.tax.utah.gov/esu/burdens/wtb_2003.pdf

    This populist whining reminds me of red states complaining about the blue states receiving their subsidies (when the exact opposite is true) and Eastern Washington complaing about subsidizing Western Washington (when the exact opposite is also true)

  50. 53

    MagneticPersonality spews:

    “Busses are slow, crowded, and not very pleasant. This can be changed.”

    Ya think, Proud to be an Ass? You mean like painting them different colors, covering the wheel wells, and giving them a new name: “Bus Rapid Transit.”

    Since Tom Delay was the founding father of BRT, I’m sure I can trust your answer.

  51. 54

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @44 “What makes you think that a plan by fiat would be any better than what’s on the table right now?”

    By process of elimination. Since we can’t possibly do worse, logic argues that state-level fiat will be better.

  52. 55

    Two Thumbs Down spews:

    Magnetic: That is a completely meaningless ranking of states. “Business taxes as a percentage of gross state product” does not measure anything relevance. MSFT and Boeing sell worldwide for example, that ranking does not begin to capture whether or not those two companies are paying thier fair share of state and local taxes for the infrastructure that benefits them (as an example).

    The REASON that businesses should pay for light rail is that they are the immediate and direct beneficiaries of the services. The worker bees can live in far-flung exurbs, and be swooshed to their cubicles near the rail stations downtown. The realtors should pay for it (another example) because the prices of the houses in the new subdivisions out in the exurbs will be sky-high.

    THAT is why business taxes should fund light rail – those are the beneficiaries of the services.

  53. 56

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Dear Mr. Personality,

    My review of our posts would appear to indicate that you and I agree on many things. You seem to have a problem with busses. Right now, so do I (as stated above).

    However, in a setting of very high gas prices, and possibly even fuel rationing (a distinct possibility if you believe the peak oil crowd), the auto will be a relic–so much scrap metal in the driveway.

    Under those circumstances, I don’t forsee having a problem riding the bus. I might even consider ways to improve the experience of riding in them (I’ve ridden them plenty). I’m sure they can be developed, the lunatic Tom Delay notwithstanding.

    It beats starving in the suburbs, or trying to walk 18 miles to work. If you have a different solution to my rather grim scenario, by all means, clue me in.

    Please don’t tell me to go win the Lottery. I tried that one, too.

  54. 57

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @45 “The GDP of the Sea-Tac-Bellevue area is approaching $200 billion PER YEAR.”

    Are you sure of that figure? Washington’s GSP (gross state product, the official terminology) for 2006 was 253 billion. If 200 of that is in Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, the rest of the state is producing only one-fifth of the state’s entire output. According to government statistics, the figure for the Sea-Tac-Bell metro area was about 166 billion for 2005.

    But let’s say $60 billion over 20 years (= $3 billion per year / 2 million people = $1,500 per year per person) is 1.5 percent of the region’s domestic output. I merely wish to point out that’s not 1.5 percent of our income going to taxes; that’s 1.5 percent going to NEW taxes on top of the federal, state, and local taxes we’re already paying.

    Another problem is that tax burden is not proportionately distributed. Whipping out my handy calculator again, I see that Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit’s share of that $200 billion is $200,000. I assure you our income is not $200,000.

    So, when and if I can find who’s got the missing $150,000 or so, and when and if I can get it back from whoever’s got it, I’ll write a check for $1,500.

    Until then, I suggest you try to get that check from whoever’s got the money.

  55. 58

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @45 So, according to your statistical analysis, I’m supposed to be able to afford a $1,500 a year tax increase? (Keeping in mind this isn’t the only tax increase I will be asked for over the next several years.)

    Since I consider you a “friendly” I’ll restrain my mirth and save those HARs for our wingnut foes.

  56. 59

    Greg spews:

    All of this goes double for Seattleites bitching and moaning about the transportation problems on the Eastside. Suck it, you crass urbanites.

  57. 60

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @45 (continued) I’ll compromise. Let’s raise the local option gas tax by 50 cents. If I consume 3,000 gallons of gas a year, I’ll pay $1,500 for light rail without complaint — if I can spend $10,000 a year on gas, then I can afford to pay a $1,500 transportation tax! Buuuttt … if I consume 100 gallons of gas a year, I’ll owe only $50. I won’t complain about $50; I can somehow squeeze that out of our household’s $25 monthly gasoline budget.

  58. 61

    Gitai spews:

    I oppose it because I like the Arboretum and don’t want to dedicate money to more fucking roads.

  59. 62

    Two Thumbs Down spews:

    Magnetic: Instead of your ranking of the western states by “business taxes as a percentage of gross state product,” we need to look at something useful.

    Let’s look at how much state and local taxes are paid by the top eighty percent of most profitable companies in the Puget Sound region, as a percentage of their revenues.

    Then compare that low-single-digit figure to the numbers here, in this Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy report:

    http://www.itepnet.org/wp2000/wa%20pr.pdf

    It shows Washington has the most regressive tax structure for people in the country.

    That’s why trains that help out businesses should be paid for by businesses. We don’t need more sales taxes.

  60. 63

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @46 “A magic bullet technical ’solution’ is a fantasy.”

    Interesting you should mention that, because a “magic bullet technical solution” is exactly what some mass transit fans think light rail is. My view of Sound Transit is more prosaic: One piece of a multimodal approach to the problem of moving people and commerce in the quantities and for the distances required by a complex modern economy.

    The debate I’ve been conducting here boils down to two things, both of which are simple concepts: Affordability, and tax distribution. Prop. 1 is flawed on both counts, so I’m voting against it. That’s not a vote against light rail, and shouldn’t be interpreted as such. If you can get the money from big employers, car commuters, and/or high income households, then build a trillion dollars of it, and I won’t object. I’m willing to put $50 a year into the kitty, even though I’ll never ride on it and probably won’t live enough to even see what my money bought. But if you want $1,500 a year from me, being a fellow liberal I’ll keep my response and simply say, I’m not good for that kind of money. What I don’t have, I can’t give you. That’s the way it is.

  61. 64

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The thing about cars is that when someone else buys a 10 mpg behemoth and uses it to commute 50 miles a day, he’s paying for it himself. There’s even poetic justice in the idea of Mark the Whining Redneck buying his gas from Roger Rabbit! What is fundamentally different about Prop. 1 is that it gets money for widening 405, laying 50 miles of light rail track, and all that other stuff by taxing me when I buy toilet paper to wipe my furry butt with! Leave my TP alone and get the money from the car drivers, and you’ll hear no more squawking from me. Or, if you have a really wild imagination, you might even think of getting some of it at the toll booth and fare box!

  62. 65

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    @56, 57: The figures I found showed the meto area in 2005 with a GDP of $185b (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Throw in 5% growth over the last couple of years…presto, $200 billion.

    As for the 1.5% new taxes in the context of our regional economic output–I would still argue this is not very much. It puts the project in proper perspective of the overall economy. You attempt to generalize from the particular.

    Your $1,500/yr. individual tax “raise” takes the project totally out of this context. Will raising the sales tax to 9.4% cause you to pay that much in added tax? That’s one half of one per cent! To incur your feared tax ‘increase’ of $1,500/year, you would have to have annual spending subject to WSST in the neighborhood of $300,000.* Since you inform us regularly of your inadequate pension, somehow I doubt this is the case.

    Since you are a friendly, I shall simply state: ball in your court.

    *This figure would be reduced if you throw in added licencing fees, but I don’t know what the projections are in that regard.

  63. 66

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Roger: I am all for user fees and gas taxes, too. That RTID didn’t take this route, even a little, is a crime. That we agree on.

    PS: Still making up my mind about this bugger.

  64. 67

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @47 “the $18 billion (over 20 years, …”

    Just to clarify, the $18.5 billion (not $18 billion) cost estimate is denominated in 2006 dollars, and is already obsolete as $18.5 billion no longer buys as much concrete, steel, and labor as it did last year.

    To clarify further, when the $18.5 billion is adjusted for inflation and interest costs, the actual number of dollars that needs to be collected over the 20 years is 38 billion, not 18.5 billion.

    And that, of course, is the OFFICIAL estimate, and when was the last time you saw an official estimate that didn’t itnentionally lowball? When was the last time you saw a public project that didn’t have cost overruns?

    The last time we went through this, the amount of money we were told Sound Transit cost bought a lot less rail than we were promised in return for our money. Why would anyone think it will be different this time? Forget a Phase 3 tax increase to pay for another light rail expansion; they’re going to tell us we have to cough up the Phase 3 tax increase just to complete Phase 2.

  65. 68

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    What is it about you humans that makes you so good at not learning anything from experience? Remember the $1.75 billion monorail that came in at $11 billion?

  66. 69

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    This is the exact reverse of what I try to do in the stock market, ergo, invest $1.75 and get back $11, so that I can afford to pay taxes dreamed up by people who charge me $11 for $1.75 of public works.

  67. 70

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @68 By the time you figure in transaction costs and income taxes on the “gain,” I don’t even break even on that deal …

  68. 71

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    So, Roger: What will our regional GDP be in 20 years, adjusted for inflation and productivity increases?

    You are not arguing fairly. You are reasoning the same way the wingnut chicken littles do when they talk about the Social Security ‘crisis’. They are full of crap.

    I ask that if you want to scare us with big numbers, use them fairly, and in context.

  69. 72

    seattle lib spews:

    I agree with goldy – I almost always go with the sierra club – but Ron sims and the Sierra Club are just plain wrong here.
    the trogolodytes who say we don’t need transit improvements need to sit in traffic wasting fuel for longer periods of time. this is the best we can do right now – and we need a light rail that works. Busses are part of the problem – they block traffic and get stuck in it. Every other major city in the world has subway or rail – the idiots who are against this are the same kind of people who said that I-5 would never fill up – now they are saying rail won’t reduce congestion. Sierra club is waiting for the perfect global warming solution – HELLOOOOO – light rail is a hell of a lot more efficient and less polluting than any other idea out there AND sitting in traffic is the worst for the environment.
    Have they never heard of small steps – what does the sierra club propose that could actually pass with the voters????

  70. 73

    scotto spews:

    The Sierra Club opposes Prop. 1 because they’ve sadly succumbed to their Naderite demons.

    The Naderite comparison is off in several ways, one of which is that the massive highway expansion in Prop 1 will make global warming worse.

    Here is a more apt comparison: Carl Rove has set up an election for you, but you are pleasantly surprised to see that Barak Obama is running for vice president. You love Obama so you gleefully check “YES to Obama” and hurridly mail in your ballot. Only later do you think about Obama’s running mate. For an environmentalist, a vote or Road & Transit is like a vote for Obama & Cheney.

  71. 74

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @70 “So, Roger: What will our regional GDP be in 20 years, adjusted for inflation and productivity increases?”

    I don’t know, but I can tell you what mine will be: Either zero,* or exactly what it is today.

    * They cut off your pension when you’re dead.

  72. 75

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @70 (continued) I have no problem with imposing inflation-adjusted taxes for inflation-adjusted public spending on people who get inflation-adjusted salaries.

    Let’s try this another way. If you want to use general taxes to pay for billions of dollars of additional light rail, then get the money from me with a state INCOME TAX. This is much less of a problem for me if, over the next 20 years, I’ll have to pay for it with a percentage of my income instead of a percentage of how much I pay for a roll of toilet paper. Given how much shit we rabbits produce, I’d think you humans would understand my fear of being unable to afford toilet paper.

  73. 76

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    If I have to pay for it with a percentage of my INCOME, at least my taxes won’t go up faster than my income. That is NOT true of the sales tax, because prices are going up rapidly, and my income is not going up at all!

  74. 77

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Also, while we’re embroiled in this Prop. 1 debate, let’s not lose sight of the key topic of this blog:

    Republicans are unpatriotic, troop hating, Constitution hating, American hating, fascist pigfuckers!!! In two words,

    REPUBLICANS SUCK

  75. 79

    please pay attention spews:

    The Sierra Club and Kemper Freeman are partners in trying to defeat our best chance at 50 miles of light rail. Kind of reminds me of 2000, when Pat Buchanan said he thought Nader was right on about several issues.

    Sierra Club + Kemper Freeman = Less rail, more roads

  76. 80

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Rabbit:

    @74: Cute, but irrelvant answer.

    @75: Agree. That our exhalted Democratic elected officials cannot all get on board and LEAD on the income tax issue is an act of political cowardice that I find shameful.

    @77 & 78: Pointing out the obvious sometimes just has to be pointed out. Props to you.

    Regards,

  77. 81

    MagneticPersonality spews:

    And if you want to talk about regressive taxation, PTBAA, check out the Ron Sims Sierra Club plan: congestion pricing /Lexus Lanes/Dynamic Tolling.

    The further away you live (ie affordable housing) the more you pay.

    People will be begging for the more progressive sales and mvet taxes if their social engineering experiment ever gets deployed!

  78. 82

    arlene spews:

    “The further away you live (ie affordable housing) the more you pay.”

    Those fixed rail routes and freeways on the eastside will spawn McMansion suburbs to sprout like mushrooms. Housing will be insanely expensive fifty miles out. Why do you think the realtors are pumping money into the “pro” campaign?

  79. 83

    MagneticPersonality spews:

    “It shows Washington has the most regressive tax structure for people in the country.

    That’s why trains that help out businesses should be paid for by businesses. We don’t need more sales taxes.”

    Three questions, then, Two Thumbs Down:

    1) how in the world did you come to the conclusion light rail only helps businesses, and not individuals…including individuals trying to get to WORK.

    2) how would business go about paying for “their” train?

    3) tell us how it is the Sims Congestion Pricing plan (or gas taxes, for that matter) isn’t more regressive than sales taxes.

  80. 84

    spews:

    RTIDStinks: “But the real debate for our future is whether we will spend billions of dollars to make global warming worse, or whether we will create a transportation plan to fight global warming.”

    No transportation plan is going to reduce CO2 emissions in absolute terms. The problem is too big. CO2 reductions will require carbon taxes and/or emissions caps, a conversion of 80% of our carbon-emitting fuels to renewables, and long-term development not centered on cars. This plan doesn’t do that, but neither would any hypothetical alternative. It does, however, create a no-car alternative for some people, which helps in the long-run goal of transit-oriented development. (The recommended tolls on 520 and 90 also represent early steps in the right direction.) In every other sense, global warming is a red herring.

    This also isn’t about limiting congestion, because with our projected growth we’re going to have more traffic congestion regardless. The positive benefit is relative to doing nothing, not an absolute benefit.

    That leaves what this is really about: do we build a rail system to provide an alternative to driving, or not? We have 40 years of experience is what it means to answer “no” to that question. Voting no just means an increasingly bad version of the status quo.

    As for those who say this isn’t an investment, realize there is a positive return from all this. That’s what makes it an investment and not just pointless spending. Transit brings development and increased economic growth. In the long run, that defrays much of the short-term cost.

  81. 85

    MagneticPersonality spews:

    “Those fixed rail routes and freeways on the eastside will spawn McMansion suburbs to sprout like mushrooms.”

    Good try, Arlene. Try following the north line to Lynnwood and the south extension to Tacoma, and show me where these exclusive neighborhoods are.

    McMansions next to rail stations on the east side? Where do you people come up with this mythology? Bellevue is doing Portland-style mixed use, ala the Pearl District. Let me guess, you’re against that, too.

    The Realtors are pumping money into the Pro campaign because they support density and walkable communities. You’re living in the 80’s.

    So, why is Kemper Freeman and developer Mark Baerwaldt pumping money into your campaign? You enjoy taking blood money?

  82. 86

    Ronald Holden spews:

    If you live in Federal Way and work Renton (to use one of the examples cited), you shouldn’t be. Work closer to where you live, or live closer to where you work, or just work from home, and we wouldn’t have these 40-mile commutes.

  83. 87

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Dear Mr. Personality, you write: “The further away you live (ie affordable housing) the more you pay.”

    This is a sad fact of life and physics. And actually, if you think about it REALLY HARD, this fact applies whether or not we have Lexus lanes, dynamic tolling, or whatever.

    And you also conveniently fail to mention the fact that we MASSIVELY SUBSIZE suburban sprawl, beginning with the home ownership mortgage interest exemption, perhaps the biggest subsidy we currently have in our decrepit, tottering, ‘make the rich richer’ tax structure. A subsidy which, by the way, acts to artificially increase the value of existing housing stock.

  84. 89

    MagneticPersonality spews:

    “The REASON that businesses should pay for light rail is that they are the immediate and direct beneficiaries of the services. ”

    Missed that one. Sorry, TTD.

    Quite the logic leap there, Two Thumbs Down. For a smart-sounding guy, it sure was easy for (and lazy of) you to suddenly decide rail benefits business, not individuals.

    Light rail ridership in PDX on Saturday is 80-90% of their weekday patronage – if the same thing occurs here, should business get a refund for weekends?

    Tell us how that would work.

    And since your Sierra Club decided light rail to the UW was just fine, should the University of Washington pay, the same way “big business” should pay?

    Too bad your theories don’t work in the real world, no?

    What planet are you posting from, anyways?

  85. 90

    MagneticPersonality spews:

    “If you live in Federal Way and work Renton (to use one of the examples cited), you shouldn’t be. Work closer to where you live, or live closer to where you work, or just work from home, and we wouldn’t have these 40-mile commutes. ”

    Ah, ronald holden brings back the “me, me, me, I, I, I -centered” approach. Yeah, like everybody can just go work for themselves. And like people get to chose where they work, what time they work, etc. Join us in the real world, dude. This stuff all looks real good on paper, though.

    You either rent, already own a home in some expensive neighborhood, or are just projecting because you realize the economic realities put you right in the position of the people you criticize.

    Btw, ronald. Federal Way isn’t that far from Renton. How’s about all you Seattle-centric chaps leave your bubble for a day or two. Go on a field trip. Find out how the other 80% lives. I dare you.

    “This is a sad fact of life and physics. And actually, if you think about it REALLY HARD, this fact applies whether or not we have Lexus lanes, dynamic tolling, or whatever.”

    The sad fact is that young families are being pushed out of Seattle, PTBAA. Because of the price of dirt. And, no, spending a buck or two on gas is a little different than a heavy toll DESIGNED to keep poor and middle class people off the road. (the rich guys could care less about $10 each way)

    “And you also conveniently fail to mention the fact that we MASSIVELY SUBSIZE suburban sprawl, beginning with the home ownership mortgage interest exemption, perhaps the biggest subsidy we currently have in our decrepit, tottering, ‘make the rich richer’ tax structure. ”

    You mean the biggest middle class tax break in the history of the world? First, the dreamers need to deliver an income tax. Then, you can reform Social Security and Medicare. Then, how’s about doing aways with middle class tax cuts. Sounds easy enough.

    On paper. And in the halls of academia!

  86. 91

    OJ Sampson spews:

    Magnetic Personality:

    I guess I see where you are coming from. Your position is that businesses only are supporting Roads and Transit because 1) they’d make big money off it, or 2) the only taxes raised are those that make our regressive tax structure worse for people, which are taxes that are insignificant to the largest employers. Otherwise, NO businesses would support this measure, especially because there is no cost controls on Sound Transit to prevent taxpayer-bailouts.

    Have I got that about right?

    I don’t hear you saying that businesses would support any new taxes, tolls, etc. to make up the funding shortfall for I-405, SR 520, cross-base highway, or all the SR2/I-5 work. Correct?

  87. 92

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Dear Mr. Personality,

    I’m not quite sure where you are coming from. Are you opposed to RTID because of its regressive funding mechanism? You never really come out and say. As to a couple of your other gems:

    The sad fact is that young families are being pushed out of Seattle, PTBAA. Because of the price of dirt.

    And this means what, exactly? This is happening all across the country. We have a system that subsidizes this pricing model and the observed development feedback loop. Big box sprawl and endless suburbs are a massive waste of resources. We shall be forced to realize this sooner or later. The serious question is what to do about this. What do you recommend?

    And, no, spending a buck or two on gas is a little different than a heavy toll DESIGNED to keep poor and middle class people off the road.

    Economically, it’s the same. $100/gal. gas will have the same effect. Only the rich will be able to drive. I’m not too thrilled about having my taxes pay for roads that I can’t afford to drive on.

    You mean the biggest middle class tax break in the history of the world? First, the dreamers need to deliver an income tax. Then, you can reform Social Security and Medicare.

    It undoubtedly was a marvelous way to encourage home ownership, but cheap oil also made this possible. Cheap oil is coming to an end. The question is what do we do to deal with this oncoming fact of life….what’s your solution?

    PS: Social Security is doing just fine. Medicare needs some attention. A true progressive income tax would be a great help to address our common social needs.

    I truly fail to understand where you are coming from on this issue….right now I’m leaning toward voting yes. Convince me I am mistaken.

  88. 93

    OJ Sampson spews:

    Magnetic Personality:

    The failure of the legislature and the proponents of RTID/ST2 to say what other taxes will be needed to complete the 50 or so projects those proposed local laws mandate is a big problem. Don’t you agree?

    Talk about buying a pig in a poke. What other taxes will come cascading down on us and our neighbors? More sales taxes – those are what the current crop of elected officials like most of all.

    The funding gaps on all the 63 or so projects, plus overruns, would never have to be paid off by taxes on businesses, would they? Businesses and local governments want this tax package passed only because they pay close to nothing.

    That leaves individuals and families to tax for the myriad shortfalls. Large additional taxes, beyond those approved by voters, imposed forever.

    The targets of this punitive and sneaky RTID/ST2 tax policy: individuals and families. Many of them haven’t even been born. Most of the people who’d pay most of the tax don’t even live here now. It hurts the elderly and those on fixed incomes by far the most.

    And if Roads and Transit passes? The electeds would smack more taxes upside the heads of people who can least afford it, to make up the funding gaps plus overruns.

    Brilliant.

  89. 94

    MagneticPersonality spews:

    Yep, OJ Sampson. You’re doomed. We are all doomed.

    Better move to Idaho!

    Please?

    “Economically, it’s the same. $100/gal. gas will have the same effect.”

    That was quite a leap, PTBAA.

    Besides being regressive, Two Thumbs Down’s congestion pricing plan rewards rich SOV drivers. If you read Sims’ interview with Tony Ventrella on the subject (Bush-style fake news) all Sims can talk about is making the roads work BETTER…as in MORE THROUGH-PUT. As in MORE DRIVING. The whole point of the genius Sierra Club plan is to keep poor and middle class people OFF the roads, and on to Ron’s fossil fuel buses…while the people who can afford to drive DRIVE MORE.

    The thought process here is…well, not very well thought out.

    And, no, I am not against RTID. I am against Sierra/700 Club elitists preaching to suburbanites that that they are sinners.

  90. 95

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @80 “@74: Cute, but irrelvant answer.”

    How do you figure? My pension stays the same until I’m dead. When I quit breathing, it stops. So let’s say I’m still around 20 years from now. What will inflation have done to my pension by then? Why should I volunteer to help inflation destroy my ability to feed myself, keep dirt and tree roots over my head, and pay for my veterinary care even faster by voting for a massive, regressive tax increase that socks the elderly — for something I won’t even use? If you want my vote for this thing, quit fucking me over.

  91. 96

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    It’s pretty fucking relevant to me whether I have to pay this tax increase. I’m trying really, really, really hard to be public-spirited and civic-minded, but this hits my vital interests.

  92. 97

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @83 “tell us how it is the Sims Congestion Pricing plan (or gas taxes, for that matter) isn’t more regressive than sales taxes.”

    That’s easy. If you’re not employed, you don’t pay for congestion pricing, and you’re exposure to gas taxes is minimal. The commuters who will pay this are in a position to bargain for pay raises. They may not get sufficient COLAs to keep up with inflation and taxes, but at least they’ll get SOMETHING. Retirees on fixed incomes, who have less income to start with, get no COLAs. We have no way to pay this. It comes out of our essentials.

  93. 99

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @84 Why do you (and others) assume that voting “no” = no light rail? Find a better way of paying for it, and I’m in.

    A $100,000,000 auto powered by a Perpetual Motion Machine that never needs fuel and emits no exhaust may be a great solution to 1) peak oil, (2) global warming, and 3) gas taxes; but if your plan is to ask me to buy it for you, I’d tell you that part of the plan needs more work.

  94. 100

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Voting “no” will not kill light rail. It will send the regional transportation plan back to the drawing board. It will force the powers that be to fix Prop. 1’s defects. There is no such thing as “today only!” and “sale ends!” where public works are concerned. There’s always tomorrow.

    I hope some of you don’t shop for $500 washing machines the same way you shop for $38 billion transportation packages.

  95. 101

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Rabbit: “How do you figure?” Well, since you didn’t answer the question, that’s how.

    By your logic, you are opposed to any and all sales and\or property tax increases since they will eat into the fixed part of your income.

    And yes, there’s always tomorrow, but then there is that bird in the hand thing.

  96. 102

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    “That was quite a leap, PTBAA.”

    Really? So tell me the difference. Are you saying that driving habits will be different if gas is $100/gal. because the price is market driven vs. a tax that raises the price? I am curious to hear this unique theory of human behavior.

    As for ‘preaching’, I have an opinion. I am not an ‘elitist’, and I live in the burbs. I feel this lifestyle is unsustainable for our society, but I do not blame individual suburbanites as ‘evil’.

    But if you would rather ascribe to me some kind of dark motives and then attack them, then I say go fuck yourself.

  97. 103

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    The Roger Rabbit theory of public finance: “Just go to the laundromat……forever,” because there is always ‘tomorrow’. Isn’t that a Barbra Streisand song?

  98. 106

    thor spews:

    Frank Blethen signed on to the Kemper Freeman program years ago, so this editorial opposing improving transportation is not a surprise.

    It was a crack up to see the Times urging that we just build more roads, roll out more buses to support more sprawl and call land use planning “utopian” on Sunday, and the turn around and pronounce global warming a real problem on Monday.

    Is Freeman spending any of the $200,000 ihe gave to the NO campaign at the Times? Of course he is.

  99. 107

    Chris spews:

    I find myself with extremely mixed feelings on Prop 1.

    First of all this ballot measure is a mess. On good government grounds alone I’m inclined to reject it.

    Second I resent the tying of the RTID portion with ST phase 2. If this goes down in flames it won’t be clear what signal the voters will be sending. Did they not like the roads? the transit? overly complex and poorly written ballot measures? raising taxes? Sadly I think our spineless political “leadership” will take the wrong message from this.

    Third I just can’t abide the road capacity expansion in this measure. Especially the funds for widening I-405 and the “cross-base” freeway in Pierce county. While I recognize there are transportation projects that need funding, most of them aren’t in RTID.

    Frankly there are plenty of congestion points that could be fixed with simple low-cost measures like lane re-striping, and signal timing. While there are some like the east end of the West Seattle bridge that would take a major rework of the interchanges there it still would be cheaper than adding lanes or rebuilding the viaduct. There are many more examples of these choke points around the region (SB 405 to WB 90 anyone?) where fixing them would greatly improve traffic flow and help use existing capacity more effectively.

    Fourth I am very pro transit and actually wish phase 2 had more rail and a more aggressive construction schedule. Is there any reason phase 2 couldn’t be built out in just a few years if managed properly? So if the transit portion was standing on its own I’d vote for it.

    So the summary is I want the transit and am willing to pay for it, but don’t know if I can hold my nose and pass the parts of Prop 1 I don’t like.

  100. 108

    Break Point spews:

    “Third I just can’t abide the road capacity expansion in this measure. Especially the funds for widening I-405 and the “cross-base” freeway in Pierce county. While I recognize there are transportation projects that need funding, most of them aren’t in RTID.”

    Like what, Chris? How is it everybody always has their own pet freeway/arterial they like to drive on. You are trying to tell me 405 and 520 “don’t need funding?” Leave the bubble for a day. Do some fact-finding.

    Take a second look, Chris, because you can’t do surface + transit along Alaskan Way without completing the final section of 405, which includes 2 HOV lanes, btw. If 405 is not upgraded, I-5 will be a mess for decades to come. How many HOV lanes do you see going through Seattle on I-5, both directions?

    PS – Cross-base will never get built in its entirety. If it is built, it will be heavily tolled and will have great bus service. Read the plan.

  101. 109

    WorkingStiff spews:

    Ronald Holden says: “Work closer to where you live, or live closer to where you work…”

    That’s easy for you: There’s a Taco Bell in virtually every neighborhood these days…

  102. 110

    spews:

    They don’t need more money for light rail. What they really need to do is properly manage the money they are getting. How many times have we driven past a road project, roundabouts being constructed, bus overpasses, and wondered what the hell are they thinking. I can think of a few times. I’m voting no; not because I don’t support transit projects, I’m voting not because I don’t trust the city’s ability to manage the projects as it is. Anyone remember the light rail that was approved a half dozen and spent millions on before, it was voted down with nothing ever happening? Apparently not.

  103. 111

    James spews:

    A “fetching, utopian vision”…? But wait… what about Portland, where the Times’ own Danny Westneat recently found that city’s transformative rail system to be “fast,” “cheap,” “reliable,” “quiet” and “mostly pollution free”…?

    Yes, well, Danny Westneat spending a few days on Portland’s rail system is hardly a thorough study of its effectiveness and popularity with citizens. Westneat was also a big fan of the Seattle monorail at one time (unfortunately, when he finally started paying closer attention and turned against it, a good deal of money had been spent).

    And Portland is not Seattle. Question for you Goldy: how and to what extent will Road and Transit reduce Seattle’s congestion? Whatever side of the argument you’re on, this is the primary issue for the majority of voters.

  104. 112

    eric spews:

    Comparing Seattle to NYC is just asinine and pretty typical of Seattle’s sense of self-importance.

  105. 113

    eddiew spews:

    It was sweet that Fairview Fanny ran the two op-eds simultaneously with the Kemperfest editorial: one supportive by TCC and business; one opposed by Sierra Club and Cascade.

    A key reason I am a negative vote: the RTID relies on the sales tax for one-third of its revenue. This is unfair, regressive, and inefficient.

    The RTID had the power to use more tolling or the local option gas tax instead of the sales tax. Or, they could have lobbied the Legislature for different tax powers.

    Note the nice anti RTID ad in the P-I this morning by Ed Newbold, Pike Place Market artist. Was it on B-3?

  106. 114

    Steve spews:

    Actually, there is a need for new freeways. I suggest a new freeway down the middle of Mercer Island with a new Lake Washington bridge crossing the southern end of Mercer Island. New roads to ease congestion! How could the Times editorial board object to that?