On The Road To 2008 - Commentary on issues as we countdown to the next opportunity to change the direction of America

Friday, November 02, 2007

More Seattle Times Rubbish on Proposition 1

As if their first editorial on this wasn't rubbish enough, the Seattle Times came out with a second editorial today that is just complete bollocks.

Here are the "highlights":
financially, Proposition 1 is mostly a light-rail vote. That is where
five-tenths of the six-tenths of a cent of new sales tax goes.
There is more money in this particular package targeted for light rail. That's true. However, when balanced with previous road heavy transportation funding packages, the equation is pretty much even, with perhaps an edge to roads. However, who writes these editorials? "Five-tenths" = 50%. 50% of "six-tenths of a cent" = three-tenths of a cent. 50% does not equate to "mostly". I'm just trying to follow their math. It doesn't make the point they seem to be trying to make.
Even if people ride it, it is only one line, Sea-Tac Airport to downtown Seattle
Umm... so that's why you build more lines, so it isn't the only line! Oh, and people will ride it. Why would they think people wouldn't? In cities all over the world that have light rail transit, the trains are packed with riders. "If people ride it". Give me a break!
will soak up money that could be used to better effect all over the region.
I just have to groan at such a vague argument. Come on Seattle Times, please give us specifics. This package seeks money for road and transit projects all over the region. There is something for everyone in it. They say you can't please everyone all of the time, but this package is the result of years of political give and take. Every argument against it has been considered and weighed by those that made the necessary compromises to draft a package that met as many of our needs as it could. The political reality is that this is as good as was possibly, and those purists that would want more road projects or more transit projects have to understand that. Without finding a middle ground, no package would ever have made it this far. The representatives of the people did their part, now it is time for us to pass this sucker and get started on the many projects it funds.
The region could have buses with dedicated lanes and more-frequent service, van pools, bike lanes, flex hours, congestion pricing, traffic-signal alignment and, here and there, more road lanes.
It almost sounds like they are making the case that we should predominantly forego the infrastructure changes and institute a thousand little things, kind of like Cary Moon and Danny Westneat were saying regarding the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Yet, the Seattle Times editorial board never supported that approach for the Viaduct, so why would this work for the region as a whole, when it wouldn't work for Seattle? And just where will those dedicated lanes will come from? Thin air, without impacting the congestion the paper and opponents of Proposition 1 believe can be solved by another package? News flash: it can't. And I'm sorry, biking to work from Redmond may work for some, but it doesn't work for me.
Our second reason is that it buys more light rail with a half-cent addition to the sales tax
You just said "three-tenths of a cent". And are you talking percentages or cents? Congratulations if your real point is to confuse the reader. Regardless, if that's all it takes to buy us light rail, I think we'll come to see that as a bargain years from now when we're still stuck in traffic in our cars and buses because we decided to do nothing - again. And again. And again.
Since the 1920s, we have funded roads with a gasoline tax
With opinions like these, certainly the people of the region have done so no thanks to the Seattle Times.
We undertook to fund the ill-fated Seattle Monorail Project with a car-tabs tax. That made some sense, even if the monorail did not.
Actually, MVET alone for Monorail made no sense. It was too small a source of funding and by stubbornly sticking to it the Monorail board doomed the project. That and Mayor Nickels lack of support to drive through a solution to make the quad-pro-voted project work.
And further, at 9.5 percent, and 10 percent at restaurants, the sales tax would be getting very high.
"Very high"? Waaaaah! You do realize you pay no state income tax, right? I guess not.
A tax that high is not good for retail business or the consumer, and particularly not good for people with low income.
Substituting an income tax with a sales tax isn't good for people with low incomes at all. I wonder if it hurt the Seattle Times to even have to use that argument?
Our third reason for opposing Proposition 1 is that so much of the light-rail investment goes to places that even the supporters of light rail privately agree make no sense.
Really? How convenient that their agreement on this is private. Actually though, it's the opponents that publicly agree it makes no sense. They're simply not the people who will actually benefit from it, so they don't support it. That's not driven by common sense, it's driven by self-centeredness and greed.
That includes the segment from Sea-Tac Airport to Tacoma, and from Northgate more than halfway to Everett.
Heaven forfend we service those people in Tacoma and Lynnwood! And let's cut the Tacoma bashing. This isn't all about getting people from Seattle to Tacoma, it's about getting people who live near Tacoma into Seattle or to the Airport. Does the Seattle Times really think that people there don't fly or work in Seattle? But I forget, only people on Mercer Island do that.
The proposed line to the Eastside has a different problem: It takes up two center lanes on the Interstate 90 Floating Bridge.
Oh, right, those "reversible" "express" lanes that are typically empty during rush hour commutes. I think Will says it best on this one.
Those lanes could carry more people in buses, because buses can drive a few lengths apart
Already happening dudes: but it's called a traffic jam!
trains have to have several-minute "headways."
Oh no, not trains! They run on schedules that are predictable, and carry larger amounts of people, and don't get stuck in traffic, and have... headways! Oh, the humanity!
Rail on I-90 would leave two lanes empty most of the time, even at rush hour. And, that means light rail will reduce the capacity of the bridge, particularly to people from Sammamish and Issaquah, since the light rail wouldn't go there.
Have these people ever taken a bus? Are they only worried they'll lose access to their "express" lanes? Isn't this really the Mercer Island Times? Or perhaps Reagan Dunn is writing these editorials. Wait, he actually supports Proposition 1!

This entire editorial is nothing but a load of codswallop. It is simple: we have a choice. More of the same traffic, same getting nothing done, same transportation funding woes, same dearth of real transit solutions. Or we can cast a simple "Yes" vote on this measure, and get things rolling on building a future that keeps us moving and establishes a real transit system in the region.

This is our chance to make that choice. Are we going to listen to naysayers like the Seattle Times and rue this moment years from now when we still have nothing, and have done nothing? That's up to you and me.

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