Ben Schiendelman at Seattle Transit Blog has the latest on studying the Ship Canal Crossing.
In order for this study to give answers that the city needs in time for Bridging the Gap and Sound Transit 3, it needs to start at the beginning of 2014. It takes three to four months after the council approves funding for a project for the scope to be written, bid on, and the contract awarded, so the funding has to come well before the beginning of 2014 – really, now.
So on Monday, council member O’Brien ran an amendment to the first quarter supplemental budget to fund the study starting now, instead of in 2015, where it’s currently scheduled.
O’Brien, Conlin, Bagshaw and Harrell voted for it, and the other 5 opposed it. So it failed, and as such:
This may have been the last chance to have the ship canal crossing study done early enough that it could influence BtG or ST3. I plan to get more details from SDOT about the shortest possible timeline for the work, and whether it could still provide guidance before being entirely complete. I’ll report back on a path forward in the next few weeks.
OK. Ben goes over the reasons they opposed it and here’s what he has to say about Licata:
Licata, the same day as the amendment, ran an insert in the Seattle Times with one of the worst false premises I’ve ever seen in Seattle politics. On Metro, it says: “We must not reduce its service in order to build major new rail projects.” This is unreal – in no universe is Metro’s funding shortfall related to rail. The worst part about a campaign message like this is that it makes people less able to understand what’s going on with transit funding – and because they’ll waste their time on a fake battle, it makes getting Metro revenue harder. It’s completely irresponsible on Licata’s part.
Sound Transit has a different budget than Metro. Neither one is controlled by the Seattle City Council. Spending city money on rail, or in this case, studying a rail corridor doesn’t take county money away from buses. This is so confusing. I really just wish I could follow his argument here.
Also, I feel like maybe with the ad implying that buses are the most reliable form of transit, neither he nor whoever wrote the piece has ever been stuck on a bus as it inched along stuck in traffic. Maybe they never had a bus pass them at a stop even though it isn’t even near full (or for that matter when one is full). Maybe they’ve never seen two or three of the same route bunched up together after waiting a long time. Maybe he’s never had One Bus Away screw up* or been on a snow route.
Don’t get me wrong: yay for our many aspects of our bus system. It’s pretty amazing in the urban core with the bus tunnel and with 3rd Ave closed off to traffic. If you don’t mind waiting you can get pretty far out. What it isn’t, what it can’t be as long as it uses the same lanes as cars, is reliable.
*I love One Bus Away, but occasionally it tells me things that aren’t exactly true.