Watch at: http://video.soundtransit.org/stream
2:20: Mayor Nickels speaking about what’s at stake, how the package has been a result of a lot of work. Thanks staff for working on it and providing the Board tons of data. Says we have a solid plan – it would increase ST ridership over 80% by 2030, and increase transit’s ridership share by 65%.
2:22: An investment of 69 dollars a year for each adult in the Sound Transit district – for most, about the same as a single tank of gas. “This package allows us to break out of the highway and sprawl, and gives us alternatives to sitting in our cars on the interstate.” He talks about all the other expenses of driving, mentions that tolls are coming on SR-520. Compare $1700 a year for tolls to $69 a year to build light rail.
2:24: “The debate is action versus inaction, stalemate versus solutions.” By 2030, Link, Sounder, and ST Express will carry more than 109 million trips a year (and ten billion passenger miles, he doesn’t mention that). It’s time for show and tell. For those watching, have a look at the “Additional Documents” over on the right side of that page, where you can have a look at the PDFs that summarize the plan and its finances.
2:27: Ric Ilgenfritz points out some cool statistics. This would give us 53 miles of Link. Lynnwood 5 years sooner, Overlake 7 years sooner, Star Lake (S. 272nd) 5 years sooner. 65% increase in Sounder service – longer platforms, more trains. We have a tentative agreement with BNSF already! Also a 25% increase in the ST Express bus fleet, 97,000 additional service hours with half front-loaded in 2009, and half in 2014. Local municipalities won’t just “get a parking garage” this time, they’ll get partnership funds they can use on parking, pedestrian and bicycle access, and more – the choice will remain local.
2:29: 2030 ridership would be 358,000 daily riders (readers, you know this is understated, doesn’t include TOD). 99,550 tons of CO2 reduced per year from new transit riders and bus->rail conversions (wow).
2:43: Larry Phillips (who I hope will run against Sims next year – let’s see how Sims votes) just pointed out that the ST2 plan specifies tax rollbacks after the plan is complete. One less ridiculous attack on Sound Transit!
2:45 pm. Discussion of the plan starts. Reardon moves, someone seconds (I didn’t catch who).
3:10 (I’m back): Board measures are speaking about the plan, what they like and dislike, what a great idea it is to plan in the long term.
3:19: Sims is seriously trying to say that Sound Transit should help fund Metro. Sound Transit CANNOT fund Metro’s service. It would be illegal! Sound Transit is NOT in the business of building routes that meander through Seattle. It is in the business of connecting our urban centers with mass transit. He is trying to treat it like Metro, when it is a completely different animal.
3:22: Paula Hammond is working with Sims now. This is ridiculous – they’re asking Sound Transit to stretch their financials to King County Metro’s service. Ladenburg just came back and said “Let’s make it all three counties, and then it’s equitable” (essentially). Hammond and Sims can’t fight against that – it’s fair. Note that Ladenburg just defused a lot of this by pointing out that it primarily serves King County. He’s very good at this – which is why he’s running for Attorney General. Claudia Thomas is speaking against the Hammond/Sims amendment as well.
3:29: Personally I dislike this amendment. It would make Sound Transit financials less solid. Julia Patterson is asking about how this would reduce Sound Transit’s debt coverage levels. She’s asking if there’s a danger to other subareas, increased risk. I agree with her point – this would be bad.