Newish commenter “phantom” captures the angst of Ron Sims’s decline:
I am mostly just disappointed in Executive Sims. He was one of the few politicians I felt was driven by conscience, and I have always been supportive of his initatives.
That includes the 2006 vote for Transit Now. During the campaign, it was emphasized that buses could be brought online in terms of months, not years (a dig at light rail construction times). So, the measure passes, and we find out that RapidRide won’t see the light of day in Ballard or on Aurora until 2013. That’s seven years out from 2006. Central Link is being built in six, groundbreaking in 2003 and completion in 2009. All we’ve seen is a few busses added to sparsely populated locations in outlying King County, and a few off-peak trips added to the 8 and 44.
Now, we’re finding that gas prices are eating up the funding for even that.
Sims’ last minute meddling in ST2.1 to funnel money into Metro Transit is disappointing, especially considering he sits on the board and could have voiced these opinions as 2.1 was being crafted over the last several months. He should have spent the spring lobbying the state Legislature if Metro Transit was having budget issues.
I wonder if Sims will even run for re-election next year. He seems a bit disengaged from all of this debate, except now to say at the very last minute, “more money for local bus systems instead.”
My opinion is that we’ve put off building a real mass transit system for 40 years, and now we’re suffering the consequences. Gas prices suck, busses in Seattle are standing-room only, we all sit in wretched traffic and there really is no immediate short-term relief. We need to bite the bullet, account for our lackadaisical transit planning, and get this thing passed. In our current system, we will have to suffer through it for a few years, but there is still light at the end of the tunnel (pardon the pun). Central Link opens next year. Hopefully, we will have a federal government and executive administration more friendly to funding transit, and perhaps a state Government that will re-think how we do transportation around here (regressive sales tax funding, tolls, etc).
I’m not ready to say that Transit Now was a bad measure to vote for, but I’ve been groping to express similar thoughts for a while. Bravo, “phantom.”