I look at this package with the knowledge that in 50 years, my oldest son will be 80 when it’s paid off. My granddaughter will be 55. Their ability to make public investments relevant to their lives and times will be severely limited by this package. Should I be so lucky, I will use my pension until I am 110 years old to pay my share!
Is Sims argument, “this’ll take too long, so let’s do nothing and just wait and THEN do something.” Huh?
Anyway most of his points fall flat:
Projected light-rail ridership to Bellevue and Overlake is lackluster because of indirect routing. Traveling from Capitol Hill to the Microsoft campus via downtown Seattle and Mercer Island is slow and cumbersome. The retrofit of Interstate 90 for light rail will slow express-bus service and increase commute times to Issaquah, Sammamish and North Bend.
There’s already express bus service there that carries 10,000 people a day. We need rail for the other corridors.
He spends a paragraph complaining about the package’s size:
If approved, we will see the largest tax increase in state history. Starting in January, car-tab taxes will triple, and the sales tax will be 9.5 percent (10 percent in King County restaurants).
and in the very next paragraphs, complains that the delivery is too slow and that the package doesn’t do enough:
The benefits of this package are far from immediate. Even if on schedule, 60 percent of new light rail won’t open until 2027. Light rail across Lake Washington is at least 14 years away. The Northgate extension is 11 years away…
This roads-and-transit plan just doesn’t move enough people.
Which is it, Mr. Sims? Do you want an expensive package that delivers lots improvements quickly, or do you want a relatively low tax rate that spreads out expenditures over the long term?
Emphasis in the original. Martin shows that many of Sim’s points in the article are not salient (van pools, congestion pricing, etc.) and that he has very few arguments against the package other than what the Sierra Club has been preaching for ages now.
Sims talks about “But the plan still calls for landscaped lids in Medina, the wealthiest neighborhood in our state, financed with regressive taxes on the working poor” when his Metro buses are funded by a .9% sales tax and run buses through Medina as well! Those in glass houses…
I suspect that Sims is playing politics because he is in charge of Metro, and doesn’t want to see his bus fiefdom usurped by rail. It comes through strongly in the piece as he talks about van pools and express buses, the domain of Metro, the agency he runs. Of course he wants the money into his agency! He is playing a silly game though, since rail will along bus funds to go to other areas, thus increasing transit numbers on a large scale.