Stimulus dollars build rail, create jobs


US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood held a press conference in Seattle today at Sound Transit’s Link Operations and Maintenance facility on Airport Way, to highlight how the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (i.e., the stimulus package) is funding sustainable transportation projects and putting people back to work here in Washington state. Joining Sec. LaHood at the podium were Gov. Chris Gregoire, US Senator Patty Murray and Mayor Greg Nickels, a pretty high-power group, but I thought the best explanation of the impact of stimulus dollars on our local economy came from Lee Newgent of the Seattle Building and Construction Trades Council, so that’s the video clip I’m posting first.

More clips coming as I slog through the editing process.


  1. 1

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    Seems LaHood has been promoting streetcars and Light Rail lately. He was in Portland for the dedication of Portland”s newest streetcar. Loved the lettering on the side, it said “MADE IN THE USA”. The first ones Portland put into service at the beginning of this decade, were built in the Czech Republic and came here via a slow boat, a journey that included transiting the Panama Canal.(Instead of off-loading on the East Coast and moving it by rail).

  2. 3

    ArtFart spews:

    2 Who cares? It’s no more important than whether or not a couple dozen Hollywood luminaries drive their Priuses to the Oscars instead of their Bentleys.

    It’s what the rest of us do that matters.

  3. 5


    nolaguy @4,

    Well, we’ll have all that infrastructure the stimulus dollars built. That in itself is a boon to our economy, just like all the public works projects from the New Deal.

  4. 6

    Mark1 spews:

    Well isn’t that nice Goldy. Maybe you can get off your unemployed ass and apply for one of these “newly created” jobs then, no?

  5. 7

    Bluecollarworker spews:

    Once this thing is built most of these jobs will be gone and it will do little to help the everyday worker. This is a welfare project for developers and it is a sham coming from a party that ordinarily claims to be for the working class.

    Screwed Again!

  6. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @6 Why should Goldy work, when wages are taxed 3.2 times as much as capital gains? What he should do is concentrate on his blog, build it up, sell it, and pay the 10% capital gains tax instead of the 32.65% tax on middle-class wages.

  7. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @7 If you think you’re being screwed now, just vote Republican and be really screwed!!!

  8. 12

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    @7: Workers get screwed in any event because we as a nation have consciously adopted social policies that inexorably shift income upward. However, insofar as the stimulus is used for projects that will help us improve output productivity (infrastructure, education, etc.) then national wealth is enhanced and we stop eating our seed corn.

    Then it’s a matter of how to slice up the pie. Beats building casinos.

  9. 13

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    @11: It started with #4, went to 7, got confused at 9 & 10, ended at 11.

    So it’s 7 come 11, 10-4 over and out……..


    Lucky 13

  10. 14

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    Their is one part of the rail business that the stimulus has not touched, and that is the backside, the repair business. Amtrak is going to be putting some money into track improvements, but that is on the NEC, and any stimulus-funded locomotive repairs would probably be done in house in their shops in Delaware and Indiana. A few months ago Coast Engine and Equipment Company announced it was closing due to lack of business. One of their final jobs is taking awhile, and the closure has been pushed back nearly a month, from July 3rd to July 31st. One of the jobs they are still doing, refurbishing Narrow Gauge Diesel locomotives for the White Pass and Yukon up in Alaska. They underestimated in April the amount of business still in their pipeline. I have seen the reason, railroads have laid up locomotives due to the recession. Just look at UP’s Van Asselt Yard near Boeing Field, and BNSF’s Interbay Yard.(I had a temp job last week with a company in that area last week, and got a good glimpse of the dead line there while waiting for a 15 that was on Sunday Schedule because of the holiday(even though it was on a Friday).

    What I saw on the siding near Boeing Field was not just older UP units, but what looked like variations of the EMD SD70 Series, those are almost brand new. Turns out, older units have a chance to avoid mothballs, or what BNSF calls Laid Up in Good Order(LUGO), as the higher horsepower SD70s are not too suited for branch-line service, but some are showing up on Regionals and short lines now. Fuel Efficiency was a big thing the past few years.

    As for the Portland Company I mentioned earlier, they already have orders for 13, and there are other cities considering modern streetcars, and with Buy American Act rules if Federal Money is used, they got a good chance of winning that business. United Streetcar just missed out on a potential big contract in Toronto, but the same Canadians that were making a big deal about Buy American and the stimulus, put a rule in the contract that said 25% content had to be Canadian. That was for 204 streetcars to replace life-expired vehicles.

  11. 16

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @12 The problem is deeper than income shifting, although that’s part of it. There is, in this country today, a deep-seated disrespect for workers — especially in the business community and among the Republican power elite.

    If you work for a living, you’re treated as lower than dirt. This attitude was birthed at the top and worked its way down the social rungs to ordinary consumers. Go into any business establishment today and observe how some customers treat “the help” and you’ll see what I mean. Or it a while in any government office, where it’s even more obvious, and watch how the public treats the public servants on the other side of the counter. After years of rightwing vilification of government, the general public has been conditioned to believe they have a license to abuse government workers.

    Cheap labor policies; the political system’s collusion with business practices that rip off workers; the legal system’s blind eye to worker injustices; the Republican tax code’s discrimination against wage earners; societal tolerance of abusive employers; abusive labor policies like working off the clock, split shifts, rotating shifts; the payment of obscene monetary rewards to executives and entrepreneurs for laying off workers, closing plants, and sending jobs overseas; ad nauseum — why should anyone work under conditions like this?

    I don’t work! Screw work! Nobody should work! Not under this system! America has turned into a gigantic sweat shop!

  12. 17

    Mark1 spews:


    Oh, big, bad, child-like Darryl and his feeble, little chickenshit comeback. I’m so hurt. I asked a legitimate question. Goldy is raving over these “new” jobs coming to WA., so being unemployed himself, why won’t he apply? It’s a simple Q. And my mental health is fine, I have this this thing called health insurance for that if it weren’t. Off you go, regards to your brother.

    We’re waiting Goldy….Goldy? Are you there?

  13. 18

    Mary Johnson spews:

    Unemployment numbers are about to drop like a rock in Central Puget Sound. That wonderful news comes courtesy of ST.

    Sound Transit is creating over 50,000 new jobs just in the 2009-2010 biennium. Dollars spent on transportation infrastructure multiply like bunnies, and create good-paying, family wage jobs. ST is spending a billion dollars every year and that translates into beaucoup new jobs.

    This story downplays the real extent of all the new jobs ST is creating.

    Unemployed? Able-bodied? Go down to the union hall! There are great jobs begging to be filled NOW.

    Here’s the skinny:

    Last updated October 17, 2008 2:16 p.m. PT

    The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that 47,500 jobs are created for every billion dollars invested in transportation projects. [Note: Phase I and Phase II are $25 billion worth of spending!]

    An accurate tally of how many jobs would start with the project-related tasks, those in management, design or the construction itself. Add to that entry-level apprenticeship programs — especially those designed for young people or minority groups.

    Or you could measure the direct contracts that will be made with local businesses. “A $10 million investment yields $30 million in sales,” the study says.

    Let’s be clear about this: These are jobs that will not come to the region if we do not expand mass transit.

    Rail, unlike bus systems, opens up all sorts of additional development opportunities (that’s another way of saying, “Yes, even more jobs”). Portland’s experience is that $6 billion in development occurred within walking distance of MAX light rail stations since 1980. There are similar findings in Dallas and San Diego, where property values around the light rail stations jumped by double-digits.

    Sound Transit is a critical public works project. A one-half cent boost in the sales tax seems a reasonable price to pay for so many new jobs.

  14. 19

    X'ad spews:


    I dunno. Sounded to me like a direct hit and a funny one. You shouldn’t take yourself so seriously. Nobody else does.

    Run along to Papa Klynical.

  15. 20

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Obama continues to plummet!

    Tuesday, July 07, 2009

    The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that 33% of the nation’s voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty-six percent (36%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of –3. Those figures reflect the highest level of strong disapproval measured to date and the lowest level recorded for the overall Approval Index

    Young people under 29 voted 2-1 for Obama.
    They got him elected.
    In return, they are getting a massive debt caused by Obama’s Big Government boneheaded ideas and squandering hundreds of Billions on Bailouts and things that have ZERO to do with Economic Stimulus.

    Wait until 2-3 years from now when the young people realize they have been duped by Obama’s Utopian Marxist Agenda!
    The cruel joke will be on them!

  16. 21

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    5. Goldy spews:

    nolaguy @4,

    Well, we’ll have all that infrastructure the stimulus dollars built. That in itself is a boon to our economy, just like all the public works projects from the New Deal.

    So Goldy, what is your plan on how to payback the massive debt we have incurred with this Porkulous Package and all the other Obama spending???
    I’m just askin’

    Obama & Biden are klueless.
    Is this just wishin’ and hopin’???
    Seems like it.
    They keep mis-estimating things..not a lot of confidence.

    The interesting twist is that the under 29’s voted over 2-1 for Obama. You could make the case they got him elected. Yet the cruel joke of paying all this back will ultimately be ON THEM!!
    Goldy, the reason this country is in such a fiscal quagmire is overborrowing and overspending. Obama is doing the very same thing that got us into this mess.
    I guess we can all work for the government..and ask for handouts if we chose not to work.
    There is absolutely no incentive at this time to invest, risk capital and create jobs.
    We’re going fishing and hiking!

  17. 22


    Mark1 @ 17,

    “I’m so hurt.”

    Awww…isn’t that sweet. Mark the angry lunatic is SENSITIVE.

    “I asked a legitimate question.”

    Not really. You asked an irrelevant question.

    “Goldy is raving over these “new” jobs coming to WA., so being unemployed himself, why won’t he apply?”

    Really? Is Goldy unemployed? I don’t think you really know what you’re talking about.

    “It’s a simple Q.”

    And a retarded one, to boot!

    “And my mental health is fine, I have this this thing called health insurance for that if it weren’t.”

    Health insurance? Good for you, Squirt. Now please, please make use of it…

    “Off you go, regards to your brother.”

    Now you are creating a fictitious family for me? That’s just craaaaazzzzzzzyyyyyyy!

  18. 23

    czechsaaz spews:

    Just slightly off topic.

    I caught some “Hannity” at the in-laws. He listed as “stimulus waste” the $$$ going to dredge and deepen Puget Sound.

    “Wow Sean, never mind that deepening the shipping channel provides short-term, well paid, maritime construction jobs and the finished product will provide access to larger container ships and cruise liners which will lead to more longshoreman and cruise terminal jobs. Wow, Sean, you are a colossal buffoon.” The silence and the stunned look on the in-laws who’ve never so much as heard the “Hann-illogic” questioned before was EPIC!

    Now if you want to argue environmental impact vs. commercial impact, you might have a point. But claiming that increasing port traffic is a waste of money is incredibly stupid.

  19. 24

    smitty spews:

    Thanks for not filming the entire audience, do you intentionally hate law enforcement? I heard that Sound Transit saved King county Sheriffs 30 jobs by contracting with them? i think those jobs are valuable and forever and yet you cut the cops out of the video.