Stand-up guys step down: Weeks & Horn resign from Monorail

Seattle Monorail Project Board Chair Tom Weeks, and Executive Director Joel Horn, have resigned:

TO: Seattle Monorail Project Board of Directors
FROM: Tom Weeks and Joel Horn
DATE: July 4, 2005

Effective immediately, we are stepping down from our positions as Chairman of the Board and Executive Director with the Seattle Monorail Project.

Two weeks ago today, Seattle Monorail Project staff delivered to the Board a fixed-price contract to build the 14-mile Green Line along the voter-approved route from Ballard through Downtown to West Seattle. The proposed agreement to design, build, operate and maintain the Monorail is within voter-approved funding limits.

The agreement, however, was overshadowed by the interest costs of the finance plan. Though we tried to explain the complex, long-term financing proposal, and called for apples-to-apples comparisons with other major regional transportation projects, the Board and the people of Seattle have made it clear that the proposed financing plan will not work and that a better plan must be developed.

We take full responsibility for the current situation and feel that it is in the best interest of the Project to step down.

I’m a pretty cynical guy, and part of my role as a political blogger is to be pretty damn cynical. But I have to say I’ve been somewhat disturbed by the way some journalists, pundits, talk-radio hosts and other bloggers have cynically personalized their attacks on the Monorail by attacking the SMP staff and board.

There was no scandal, no corruption, and no grand deception. By all accounts the SMP staff and board are stand-up citizens, who have worked hard to achieve an ambitious vision. Yes, they have failed… but there is no shame in that.

From the beginning Joel Horn said that if they could not deliver on the promises made to voters, then they would not build the Monorail. Saddled with a revenue source that fell way short of projections, it has proven impossible to propose an acceptable financing plan to build the promised system. The SMP and their allies on the Seattle City Council could have arrogantly pressed on with constructing the Monorail despite public opposition to a half-century or more of car tabs. That they have responded to public criticism by pausing the project, and potentially killing it, should be an opportunity not to personally attack SMP board members and staff, but rather to celebrate a process that works.

By stepping down, Horn not only proves himself a man of word, but he also demonstrates his continued dedication to the vision.

The Monorail began as a grass-roots effort to provide Seattle with an environmentally sustainable mass transit system that would get people out of their cars. The public embraced the Monorail. The citizens of Seattle voted four times to support it. People still want the Monorail, but they want a better financing plan to pay for it.

We want what’s best for Seattle and we firmly believe that we owe it to our children, our grandchildren and the environment to build the Monorail

Comments

  1. 1

    David spews:

    Classy of them to take personal responsibility for having put forward an unpopular financing plan. By stepping down, the focus can shift from them (and the people demanding their resignations) back toward the Monorail itself, and how we might build and finance it (if we can).

  2. 2

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    I remember in 2000, the Executive Director and Director of Light Rail at Sound Transit quit after a similar fiasco. The successor of the latter came from Denver, where Light Rail is blossoming. Unfortunately, we cannot find somebody in the US that has a track record of building a successful Alweg-type Straddle-beam Monorail. Our current one is great, and it seems the City Council made the right call rebuilding the trains after the Memorial Day Fire and returning both to service. The only successful large-scale Alweg Monorails operating in the world are in Japan and Malaysia. The Alweg principal is the best Monorail, as unless the beam collapses, there can never be a derailment.

  3. 3

    spews:

    The key is that a way is still found to acceptably finance the Monorail. People still want it, and this should not be a reason to kill the Monorail, but to go back to the drawing board and get a better, or more affordable plan and deal.

  4. 4

    righton spews:

    If they were so stand up, they should have from the onset said, “we are political guys, not capable of building a monorail; you guys need to hire a transit person, or Boeing type, or even construction type, someone w/ more of the skills for this than us.

    I’d love to see the tally of how the $150mm was spent; I’m guessing if it was their own money it might have been..say…about 1/2?

  5. 5

    ConservativeFirst spews:

    I’m glad these guy stepped down. But why is it “admirable”? Shouldn’t it have been clear that things were going awry when tax collections were a fraction of expected, and costs were much higher than expected, and only one bidder stayed in for the entire bidding process? These, among other thigs, were all red flags to me, but didn’t seem to be to those in charge.

    “Blind faith in anything can get you killed”

    -Bruce Springsteen (or him quoting someone else I’m not sure)

    Goldy:

    “From the beginning Joel Horn said that if they could not deliver on the promises made to voters, then they would not build the Monorail. ”

    They’ve pretty much not delivered on any of their promises. Seems like hey should have shut down the project and then stepped down. Now that I could admire, someone sticking to his word.

  6. 6

    scottd spews:

    righton: they should have from the onset said, “we are political guys, not capable of building a monorail; you guys need to hire a transit person, or Boeing type, or even construction type, someone w/ more of the skills for this than us.

    Surely, you are not stupid enough to think that the Board Chair and Executive Director sit down at a drafting table and design a monorail themselves? They hired engineers and contractors to do that job — i.e. transit people. Their main problem was that the funding source did not yield sufficient revenue. As I recall, part of that problem was the Legislature’s reluctance to close a loophole in the excise tax.

  7. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I suspect many people voted for the Monorail figuring they would register their cars at P.O. boxes outside the city and avoid paying the tax. In other words, it’s a great idea if the other guy pays for it. When the Legislature closed the loophole the freeloaders squawked and floated a Monorail-repeal initiative. The Great American Dream — getting something for nothing — has left the station and reality is standing on the platform. It will be interesting to see if Seattle residents are willing to ante up for what the project really costs. This saga isn’t over yet, but it appears we are now at the point where people have to put their money where their mouths are. My guess is the project is in deep trouble because once something isn’t free anymore people don’t want it.

    Maybe we should apply that same principle to the Iraq war and see what happens.

  8. 8

    rujax206 spews:

    I voted for the Monorail every time.

    I live in and register my cars in Seattle and pay the extra charge.

    I WANT the damn thing built!!!

  9. 9

    prr spews:

    I am just happy to see someone have accountability of this city.

    These two screwed up.

    Regardless of what Rabit or Scottd have to say on this matter.

    They created the plan, so when it fell short it was their plan. As to the accusations of a mass exodux of Seattlites registering their cars in other counties. What and absolute load of crap.

  10. 10

    Righton spews:

    Scott; ignoring the insult…

    I think I’m unqualified to build a Monorail. Yeah, unqualified to be its Chair, its COO, or its construction and engineering guru.

    You can invest personal cash today, say in real estate stocks (REITS). If doing so, would you rather invest in one with the top dogs, and all others experienced in their work, or would you rather invest in one where a smarty pants CEO hired some real estate gurus?

    I’d rather see the CEO have some clue, some backgroudn in the work. Because we have few transit systems or companies in the US, you have to stretch your “filter” a bit. But someone from say NASA or Boeing (large scale project integration skills) or even large construction. Both lean heavily on managing lots of disparate groups and deliverables.

    I really don’t know Horn’s relevant skillset in this. He brokered some deals for Wright Runstad, worked on the commons, has an MBA, but beyond that, say for urban transit, he’s really done nothing: never run a large org, never managed a construction project, never run a transit system, never driven a bus. Heck that cab driver (Falkenberry) is almost as qualified as Horn….

  11. 11

    DT spews:

    I am paying $700 a year towards the monorail, and I still support it. However, I agree that there has to be a better way of financing it. I will be at the meeting tonight at Ballard High School to listen to what the Board has to say. I only hope that a hostile crowd doesn’t overshadow any good ideas that are left on the table. See you guys there?

    David T.

  12. 12

    ConservativeFirst spews:

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.c.....il05m.html

    “It was unclear yesterday whether Horn will receive a financial package.”

    Waste of taxpayers money to give him (or Weeks) severance.

    Especially after this:

    “A week ago the agency was trying to sell the financing deal, with a $120,000 advertising campaign and an insistence that it made sense to spread costs to future generations riding the trains. Car-tab taxes for the monorail currently average $130 a year.”

    I thought the ad campaign was extremely irresponsible. I think they spent their severance already.

  13. 13

    prr spews:

    Conservative @ 11

    I could not agree with you more,

    the have been spending ad dollars like a drunken sailor.

  14. 14

    Chuck spews:

    Roger Rabit@6
    “I suspect many people voted for the Monorail figuring they would register their cars at P.O. boxes outside the city and avoid paying the tax. In other words, it’s a great idea if the other guy pays for it.”>>>

    Yes that is the typical liberal theory.

  15. 16

    Richard Pope spews:

    There are no problems with the Conorail that a little bit more taxes wouldn’t solve. The Conorail has lots of ability to impose additional taxes:

    http://www.leg.wa.gov/rcw/inde.....imeout=500

    For example, the MVET on vehicles licensed in Seattle can be increased from 1.4% per year to 2.5% per year — nearly doubling existing revenues.

    The Conorail can also impose a flat $100 per year vehicle tab fee in addition.

    Further, the Conorail can impose property taxes of up to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation — i.e. $600 per year on a typical $400,000 Seattle home.

    There is also a 1.944% rental car tax authorized, which really wouldn’t generate much money.

    All of these require a vote of the people. Should be a winnable proposition in extremely liberal bleeding heart Seattle.

  16. 17

    Chuck spews:

    Why dont you guys try new something that might actually work, give the Monorail lock stock and barrel to a private interest for a period of 25 years after completion of the expansion. The private company would recieve the taxes in exchange for building the system and wouldnt be bound by prevailing wage laws. He would then be able to operate the system (and do 1st class maintenance as well), collect tolls, then in 25 years after completion Seattle would have handed to them a complete monorail mutch like they voted for.

  17. 18

    Chuck spews:

    The Boeing Company might even be someone to undertake this…they can rename it Boeingrail.

  18. 19

    Righton spews:

    Chuck; love it.

    Best way to expose or prove the tax/subsidies is to see what private enterprise might ever want to run it. Private guy might come back and say, “no way; i’d have to charge $10 a ride, and my research says riders won’t pay that”, or maybe they alternatively would say, “wow, people would really embrace this if we ran it on a tight schedule, ran special express runs, etc, etc.”

    I wouldn’t put Boeing in charge of running it, but your uber point is spot on.

  19. 20

    prr spews:

    here’s a nother though.

    Why not open the Bonds up for public purchase?

    If I could buy them now and get paid dividends over the next 50 years, I’d be all over it.

  20. 21

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    14

    That sounds a lot like the kettle calling the pot black, Chuckie dearie. The Bush administration is shoving ALL the costs of its military adventures, tax breaks for the ultra-wealthy, and corporate corruption onto future generations. No Republican is currently in any position to talk about liberals freeloading off other people. There is NO ONE in America today sucking more deeply at the public trough than right wingers, and strangely, they are the ones who complain loudest about the public trough.

  21. 22

    Richard Pope spews:

    I think Tom Weeks and Joel Horn should be called “hold-up” guys, and not “stand-up guys”. Joel Horn was getting an annual salary of $185,000 — equivalent to the MVET paid on 1,497 average Seattle vehicles ($8,825 MVET value x 1.4% = $123.55).

    http://www.soundpolitics.com/archives/003777.html

    As of August 2003, the Seattle Conorail Project had 23 employees making over $95,000 per year — i.e. 1/3 of their 69 employees were right at or above the six figure level. Presumably, that figure is a good bit higher these days.

    Just think — it took the MVET revenues from more than 20,000 Seattle cars just to pay the inflated salaries of the top two dozen or so Conorail employees.

    Evidently, spending ballooned since August 2003, since the Conorail is supposedly $110 million in debt as of today, and it will take several more years of MVET just to pay off the debt.

    The Conorail official website has the address “elevated.org” — which is appropriate to describe their levels of taxation and spending. It may have been a Conorail for Seattle taxpayers, but it was a gravy train for Horn, Weeks and their fellow travelers.

  22. 23

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Transportation has to be designed and built for peak traffic, not average traffic. Despite flex-time scheduling by some major employers, Seattle’s commuter traffic is still packed into a few peak hours in morning and afternoon. If some of that traffic could be shifted to other times of day the need for additional capacity could be reduced without building more infrastructure. More could be done with employers to coordinate the work hours of people who are filling the commuter lanes during peak hours.

  23. 24

    Richard Pope spews:

    Roger Rabbit @ 21

    I am not pleased with the costs of the Iraq operation. Somewhere around $200 billion at present, and could be $600 billion if things keep at present level for several more years.

    But two wrongs do not make a right.

    The Conorail would have been a lot more expensive on a per capita basis. $11 to $14 billion was the total estimated cost, including interest.

    Seattle has 571,480 people estimated as of 2004, which is 1/513.85 of the 2004 U.S. population estimate of 293,655,404.

    Extrapolate the per capita costs of the Conorail onto the U.S. population as a whole, and you have something between $5.652 trillion and $7.194 trillion — many orders of magnitude higher than the actual, or even the potential, costs of the Iraq operation.

    The “Big Dig” in Boston (population 589,141) is also costing over $14 billion — apparently actual costs, as opposed to potential costs, since that project is going to be completed.

    While the Iraq operation is certainly more expensive than it should be, or could have been imagined to be, Democrats in liberal bastions such as Seattle and Boston have proven to have a much greater proclivity to needlessly burn taxpayer money than have George W and his crowd.

  24. 25

    prr spews:

    Rabbit,

    I’d like to hear how you feel the cost of the Iraq war is supposed to translate into funding for the monorail?

    Let’s be honest here. Washington State has done nothing to support this administration and you feel federal funding should be coming to a city project?

  25. 26

    Ivan spews:

    Righton @ 10 said:

    “I really don’t know Horn’s relevant skillset in this. He brokered some deals for Wright Runstad, worked on the commons, has an MBA, but beyond that, say for urban transit, he’s really done nothing: never run a large org, never managed a construction project, never run a transit system, never driven a bus. Heck that cab driver (Falkenberry) is almost as qualified as Horn….”

    I am a Monorail supporter, and I agree with Righton for once. Sorry, Goldy, but this guy did more to kill the project than anyone. After the BS that Horn spewed trying to run the Commons con by the taxpayers, he should never have been allowed near any public project. I don’t want anything to do with any project that this self-serving, self-aggrandizing glorified schmoozer and snake-oil faker has any connection with.

    I supported the Monorail despite him, and I support it today. The next financing plan (and trust me, there will be a Monorail in Seattle whether Sharkansky and his gang of mouth-breathers want it or not) had better not be just another cushy job-creator for yuppie dealboys like Joel Horn.

  26. 27

    Chuck spews:

    Roger Rabbit@21
    No the typical liberal at work is the guy that says YOU arent paying your share, I want YOU to pay more, YOU still arent paying enough, MY car is registered in Euphrata!

  27. 28

    Righton spews:

    Ivan;
    I think the monorail is one of those rare issues that splits or confuses the party lines. I’m right wing but in some ways want a monorail (heck all guys like trains). I think if you had confidence in the thing being built as advertised, many would go for it. Its just that w/ a city/state history of overpromise/underdeliver, coupled w/ pretty green/naive operators, its hard to spend that kind of money.

    I don’t think Monorail (perhaps my personal opinion) had that nasty feeling that Sound Transit has had. That is, most I think felt it had decent routes, was yes, just a start, but was focused on real traffic issues (unlike ST). So while ST gets knee jerk backlast, Monorail wasn’t there yet.

    Of course I think their hiding the overruns, etc, cost them the goodwill that people afforded them.

  28. 29

    Chuck spews:

    Roger Rabbit@23

    First you need to put more than 8 people on the bus during “peak” or “rush” hour before you design anything more for “peak”. People dont want the bus exept the downtown Seattllies (Tacomans or those in Spokane downtown) thus that is the population that need to pay for their ride. Now I as a taxpayer dont mind paying the initial startup costs of a system (buying buses, building initial terminals, rail cars or whatever, at some point (sooner is better) make it walk on its own and dont make me carry it on my back for an eternity as it becomes a fat bloated beurocratical nightmare.

  29. 30

    Artie spews:

    The monorail route and station siting is fundamentally flawed in the same ways as is Sound Transit’s Link LRT route to Seatac. I expect neither these rail projects will succeed in their goals.

    Link LRT bypasses South Center, the only major destination along the route, a destination more important than Seatac. Without South Center, there is little reason to ride the trains’ southbound direction. Result: jam-packed trains during rush hours, and mostly empty trains at all other hours of operation; South Center growth becomes car-strangled; Tukwila residents need for commuting and long-distance travel grows beyond Link’s capacity and traffic congestions continues to worsen.

    The monorail employs this same sort of bonehead engineering in its route and station siting. None of you know what I’m talking about and never will. It’s too complicated for you. Go play with your toys. The world is run by crooks and their useful idiots.

  30. 31

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Reply to 24

    Richard, let’s do apples-to-apples math, not apples-to-oranges math. Divide $11.4 billion by 50 years and you get $228 million a year. Divide that by 571,480 and you get $398.96 per person, per year.

    Now let’s divide $300 billion by 2 years. You get $150 billion a year. Divide that by 293,655,404 and you get $510.80 per person, per year.

    Clearly, the Iraq war costs more than the Monorail.

  31. 32

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I’m not saying I support either the Monorail of the ETC’s pie-in-sky financing scheme. I would merely observe that if we spend $400 a year per nose on the Monorail you get some sort of transportation system for your money. If you spend $500 a year per nose on the Iraq rathole you get lots of dead young Americans and you create a new terrorist haven. Seems like a lousy investment. Of course my whole point is that those of you who voted for G. W. Bush did something far more reckless and imprudent than those who voted for the Monorail.

  32. 33

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Reply to 25

    I never said anything about federal funding for the Monorail. Where did you get that from?

  33. 34

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I’m merely pointing out the hypocrisy of those who criticize the Monorail but support this president’s actions no matter how wrong, reckless, irresponsible, or expensive they are.

  34. 35

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    29

    The Seattle commuter buses I rode on for years were standing-room-only every day. I would get on a bus and ride south to the Pioneer Square station just so I could get a seat on the bus going north. Every big-city transit system is subsidized. If you take away the subsidies and charge people the true cost of a ride (about 4 times the fare), most riders will stop riding the bus and take their cars. Now you have another quarter million or so cars trying to get onto I-5, SR-99, 520, and the downtown streets and everything comes to a stop. The bottom line is that we can never build enough freeway lanes to move all the people who have to go from once place to another. How many metropolitan areas are there that rely exclusively on cars, and how well does that work? Have you ever been in Chicago during rush hour? The traffic jams there are 50 miles long.

  35. 36

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Gee, it seems like you LEFTIST PINHEADS who are so desperate to realize your Seattle Utopian “Smart-Growth” dreams are finally starting to crack under the pressure of actually coming up with a viable plan that you can pay for.
    LEFTIST PINHEADS pride themselves as “VISIONARIES”..
    Pathetically, the visioning stops long before you figure out how you are going to be able to pay to build it and maintain it.

    Thankfully, this is NOT my ox to gore.

    Roger Rabbit appears nearly suicidal in his rantings about transportation in Seattle. FUCK YOU you scwewy wabbit!!!
    If you LEFTIST PINHEADS believe for a second that the Feds are going to help you….think again.

    I try not to gloat at the plight of my fellow human beings but you LEFTIST PINHEADS deserve this. Repeal the Growth Management Act….and perhaps you will see some help. Continue to control the entire state and feel the wrath.

  36. 37

    pbj spews:

    Only Goldy could spin a boondoggle like this into something “positive”. Gee, by Goldy’s logic, I guess Nixon was a “stand up guy” too because he resigned.

  37. 38

    Richard Pope spews:

    Roger Rabbit @ 24

    If you want to do apples-to-apples or oranges-to-oranges comparisons, let’s assume that the Iraq operation is financed by the same sort of 50 year junk bonds that would result in $11.4 billion (six times the original principal) being paid for a $1.9 billion Monorail.

    I will take your figure of $300 billion for the Iraq operation, and multiply it to $1.8 trillion with Monorail style financing over 50 years. That is $36 billion per year. Divide that by 293,655,404 and you get $122.59 per person, per year.

    You came up with $398.96 per person for 50 years in Seattle with the Monorail. So the Monorail would cost more than three times as much per capita as the Iraq operation, even if the U.S. government sold total junk bond to finance the war and took 50 years to pay them off.

  38. 39

    Righton spews:

    How do you boys feel being saddled w/ $150mm or so of debt that only bought you plans; imagine any private individual chasing a pipe dream of a project only to end up deeply in debt.

    What’s the lib spin or reaction to the 9 figure spend on planning?

    (I’d also imagine behind the scenes Nickels and others are delighted, now you have money for the Viaduct)

  39. 40

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    These LEFTIST PINHEADS are “Visionaries” RightOn.
    They don’t want to be burdened with things like how they are going to pay for something…or accountability for pissed away money. HELL NO!!! They just keep RightOn VISIONING!!!!

    I think my LEFTIST PINHEADED pals have gone stark-raving MAD due to inhalation of car and truck fumes living in their beloved Seattle sitting in traffic jams. It’s hysterical. Kind of a LEFTIST PINHEAD version of Mad Cow Disease. Let’s call it Mad JackAss Disease!

  40. 42

    Chuck spews:

    Roger Rabbit@@35
    “If you take away the subsidies and charge people the true cost of a ride (about 4 times the fare), most riders will stop riding the bus and take their cars.”>>>>

    Dont buy your formula at all, but if it were so that if I built you an entire buisiness and you couldnt run it without breaking even after recieving said buisiness as a gift from taxpayers (buildings, equipment and so on)…perhaps it doesnt need to be there. Aditionally you could also look into the “freebies” like free rides for city, county and state riders. No passes, pay as you go, no free ride for jurors, and so on.

  41. 43

    ConservativeFirst spews:

    RR @ 35

    I have ridden the bus at peak times, and they are full, but most other times they are pretty empty.

    “If you take away the subsidies and charge people the true cost of a ride (about 4 times the fare), most riders will stop riding the bus and take their cars. Now you have another quarter million or so cars trying to get onto I-5, SR-99, 520, and the downtown streets and everything comes to a stop.”

    Your claim of quarter of a million more cars, is a gross exaggeration. Try 33,000 additional cars per day during peak commute times, or 81,000 total per week day. That’s if everyone riding a Metro bus to downtown got off and drove a car by themselves. Even without a subsidy, I’m sure some people would still ride the bus.

    http://www.downtownseattle.com.....tation.cfm

    “In 2003, King County Metro transit provided 122 routes, including the Waterfront Streetcar, which serves Downtown Seattle on weekdays. The weekday service averaged 81,000 riders each way, including 33,000 leaving Downtown during the evening peak period. On weekends, King County Metro has 59 routes serving Downtown, averaging 40,000 riders each way on Saturdays and 29,000 on Sundays. Metro also operates a free ride zone from 6 am to 7 pm. The boundaries for the ride free zone are Battery Street to the north, S Jackson Street to the south, 6th Avenue to the east and the waterfront to the west.”

  42. 44

    righton spews:

    You forgot the Everett sounder; for $1billion its taking 100 cars off the street (or more likely people off some bus)

  43. 45

    John spews:

    @ 44

    1 billion with a B? For one spur of a commuter heavy rail system shared with freight? It’s not like any track had to be laid. You expect us to buy that?

    How does it feel to be wrong so much?

  44. 46

    Chuck spews:

    John@45
    “How does it feel to be wrong so much?”>>>

    We dont know, John with the paper ass, when you sober up long enough to rationally talk after so much drinking liberally, you can let us know how it feels when you are wrong practacly everytime your mouth moves!

  45. 47

    righton spews:

    John, #45.

    Thanks for the softball. ” The current capital cost projected by Sound Transit is $1,200,000,000–a $550 million, 85 percent cost overrun in constant dollars. It may go higher.”
    from bettertransport.info and plenty of other sources.. :)

  46. 51

    John spews:

    @ 47 again

    I read the source you provided wrong all the time. Guess what – you’re wrong again!

    The article refers to “Sounder” which from the surrounding context means Tacoma/Everett, 82 miles – all spurs not just Everett.

    So it’s not just “100 cars”.

    If you’re not just practicing at being wrong all the time, what are you doing? Going for a winger propagandist job at faux news, newsmax, wnd, etc?

  47. 52

    Chuck spews:

    pbj@50
    Hell while we are on the subject I can give you nothing for a mere 10 million, that is a 90% savings! And I will even pay myself and all of my employees above and beyond the prevailing wage laws!

  48. 53

    righton spews:

    John; do the math; its > a billion for like 1000 total people a day. Amortize it say over 10 years (cuz surely after some time they’ll need capital money beyond this)….so about the same 1000 people (its not different people every day. $1.2 billion w/ no interest is 120mm per year, again for say 1000 people for that year.

    I’m lazy on looking this up, but raw math on the above says $120,000 per person, per year for the next 10 years.

    Pay me that and I’ll never drive my car again…

  49. 54

    John spews:

    @ 53

    Yes, there’s a valid debate to be had over the merits of the system being built vs. scrapping the whole thing and substituting a “smart bus” system that the other side seems to want.

    But your side of the debate is not helped by not getting the facts straight.

  50. 55

    righton spews:

    John, you make this so easy.

    Plenty of good links showing the Capital cost now expected to hit $1.2 billion by 2009. And the Everett leg is alone $377mm of that. Add to that the annual operating cost (in 04, just 4 trains cost $18.55 mm total). And in 04 they carried 900,000 passengers.

    Here’s the fun part. 900,000 means 450,000 round trips. Divide by say 300 days (its 260 weekdays, i’m adding a few just cuz some do ride on weekend). that’s 450000/300 or 1500 round trip riders per day.

    So divide 1.2bb by a charitable 10 year span, you get 120 mm and then add the ops cost of 18mm; you get 138mm to take 1500 people off the freeway. That’s $92,000 per person!!

    But lets say in 3 years you get 5x or 7500, shoot, lets say its 10,000. Then you have some more trains, maybe annual costs of operating now $50mm (guessing you double some runs). So its 120mm plus 50mm or $170,000,000 divided by 10,000 round trip riders. That’s $17,000 per person.

    As almost live said pre-Sound transit, “for that kind of money we could buy every man woman and child a way bitchin’ Camaro..

  51. 57

    John spews:

    “for that kind of money we could buy every man woman and child a way bitchin’ Camaro.

    In addition to the 2+ vehicles everyone owns now belching more carbon, guzzling more gasoline from increasingly expensive imported oil and clogging up more roads causing everyone to complain even more.

    Ha. Ha. Funny.

  52. 58

    righton spews:

    John,
    You really think we’d notice 1500 more Camaro’s on the highway? And maybe a diesel locomotive is as noisy and nasty as a bunch of cars?

    I”m all for rail (love trains, love going to europe and japan and riding rails), but the facts, especially on Sounder are stunningly bad…

    Imagine just paying these people cash, say that $17,000 per person, or over 300 days, $56 a day. Pay me $56 a day and I’ll wedge into a bus.

  53. 59

    John spews:

    Wrong all time @ 58

    Not 1500 – “every man, woman and child” as the joke went. The joke fell flat with me.

    My God are you dyslexic!?!

    I’ll reserve any more judgement on the merits of Sounder until I’ve read more about it. For right now I see it as an investment whose ship may yet come in.

    Based on your track record here I’m not ready to concede anything. So far you’ve equated 82 miles of Sounder with the spur from downtown to Everett, changed 100 to a thousand, and made “every man, woman and child” equal 1500.

  54. 60

    righton spews:

    johnny boy, surely you jest…

    $1.2 billion capital only, another $14mm this year alone for opex, and this year only 900,000 total trips, which is you assume all are round trips (pretend its commuters pulled off the roads), equates to very few riders.

    Why are you proud of spending that kind of money on an EXISTING rail line…they didn’t build any new track…

    Again, the subsidies are immense and i’ll endure your ignorant personal jabs (go read the financials and we’ll talk mano a mano, comprende cabron?)

  55. 61

    John spews:

    consistently wrong @ 60

    Who said I was proud? You said it not me. I’m saying I’ll reserve judgement until I know more. I’m not buying anything you say. Once more I’ll remind you that you started this when you implied 1 billion dollars was spent on the “Everett Sounder” which took “100 cars” off the road.

    Entonces chinga te, buey!

  56. 62

    righton spews:

    John, i was wrong; approximating. You mean there is much of a difference in spending 1.2 billion (plus more to run the sucker) versus 1bb just for 1/2 of it; that is, I don’t care if its $500mm or $1.2bb; they aren’t laying track; merely fixing things up.

    And 100 riders for Everettt isn’t much different than 1500 for the whole thing. Give me like 20,000 riders a day, that will start sounding better than those cars clogging I5.

  57. 63

    John spews:

    Thank you for admitting something. I wouldn’t have raised a stink if you hadn’t distorted the picture to begin with.

    Now remember that Sound Move was presented to the voters as costing 650 million in current dollars – not chump change.

    “Merely fixing things up” as you put it means boarding facilities, parking garages, track improvements, passenger cars, locomotives and agreements with players like BNSF – not cheap items.

    Now as I admitted before it is perfectly valid to debate the merits of scrapping this system versus adopting the “smart bus” system that the critics and some winger talk show hosts seem to want.

    I don’t see ridership increasing appreciably even in the face of $100/barrel oil that we may see by the end of the year. People have invested in their cars and need them to work 2+ jobs in this “new economy”.

  58. 64

    righton spews:

    If the stupid train from Everett didn’t take as long as a car ride, plus drop you in a pretty incovenient place…..morons at Sound Transit aren’t in the business of Rapid Transit, but rather “mass transit”. You might get a handfull of folks to be suckers for “slow/mass” transit, but until you make the product good (e.g. either fast, or easy or both) you won’t get people out of their cars.

    Smart bus is a red herring; just to say you like transit when in reality you might hate the whole thing.

    build something that is cost effective/efficient whatever, that is actually good. I’d argue Metro, Marta, Skyrail, etc are good examples, even if likely wildly overpriced. But to have combo of a) stupid design, and b) way overpriced is a double that doesn’t work.