Andrew Austin at the Bus Stops Here argues that the Tacoma Streetcar proposal is regional partially in response to my post about the subject. His argument is basically that the streetcars are cheaper than light rail, and the streetcars are pro-Pierce County and pro-Tacoma rather compared to Sounder or Express buses which favor Seattle as an employment center.
Andrew is off on the streetcars being cheaper than Tacoma Link, he claims that “using the same amount of money [as extending the streetcar to Tacoma General], extending the LINK with streetcar at-grade technology, and taking it to Stadium, 6th Ave., and Portland Ave., would be a better deal.” That’s impossible. Tacoma Link is the exact same type of streetcar the, made by the exact same company, as the Seattle streetcar is. Tacoma Link is not the same technology as Central Link which has much larger and faster cars. So it wouldn’t be cheaper, it’d be exactly the same cost, since it’d be exactly the same thing.
Secondly, the argument that building more streetcars would be good for Tacoma and could help Pierce County from “hav[ing] e to ship 30% of our brain power and workers to Seattle forever” goes completely against the notion that it is regional. I could argue that Seattle shouldn’t rebuild the 520 to ship workers to Redmond (though traffic there is about 50/50 each way), and the argument is clearly against regionalism.
I think the Tacoma Streetcar system is an awesome idea, and if Pierce County voters, about a third of whom live in Tacoma, feel that is the best use of their Sound Transit dollars they should get it. But it’s important to keep the details straight.
Hat Tip to Erik from Tacoma Urbanist.
An anonymous commentor asked why I hate the Tacoma streetcars. I don’t, I’m 100% for them. I just am not sure if the rest of Pierce County would want to see their ST2 money spent on those streetcars. If Pierce County does, then they should absolutely be a part of the proposal. I like Streetcars a whole lot more than express buses.