Today the Seattle Times has an editorial rejecting Proposition 1 – as we knew they would.
There’s a long and interesting story here, and I’m sure you’ll hear more of it as time goes on, but this is the gist.
The Seattle Times supported Sound Move up until one crucial point. When the University Link / North Link alignments were chosen, an alternative that would have gone up Eastlake was included. I haven’t found the original comments in the environmental impact statements yet, but the Seattle Times stopped being in favor of light rail the moment it didn’t serve their headquarters at Denny and Fairview.
This is par for the course. Most of the arguments in this piece are misleading, a couple are actually lies.
- Sound Transit money can’t help Metro, Metro has to go to the legislature to get more funding.
- We don’t have an income tax, that’s why we have a higher sales tax than some. Total taxes in this state are actually pretty low.
- The 0.9 percent Sound Transit wants to collect would carry more passenger miles than all the other bus agencies in the region combined, and then once we pay back the bonds, we’d only need 0.4 percent to operate it. Claiming buses are cheaper when the same amount of money covers capital *and* operations of light rail is obviously false.
- The 0.4 cents Sound Transit collects today remains whether or not this fails. Their claim of ‘another’ 0.9 cents is false.
- Bus lanes can’t go on Bellevue Way – we tried floating that, and there was overwhelming opposition. They can’t go on I-5 in downtown, either. The places where we are most congested are the same places we don’t have the room or the political will for bus lanes. The opposition in 1968, in this very paper, made the same claims. 40 years later? A couple of bus lanes here and there.
- I-90 is not losing bus capacity. Sound Transit not only builds light rail on I-90, but also adds HOV lanes to the outside to replace the express lanes. This claim was false.
- Buses wouldn’t be ‘kicked out’ of the downtown transit tunnel until 2020 – when the light rail that replaces them will carry more passengers. This was misleading.
- When you don’t compare to the alternatives, you don’t get to complain something’s too expensive. HOV lanes don’t fix our problems – only new right of way will.
The only people ‘slighted’ here are certain Seattle Times editorial board members who can currently use the I-90 express lanes to get to work. They might have to carpool.
This is about now – buses and commuter trains now, and starting now on building more rail. I guess the Times would rather we build light rail even later. But that’s been their argument for 40 years. Hasn’t it been long enough? People are moving to transit in droves.
Shame on the Seattle Times for the same simplistic argument again. They say do nothing about our transportation mess. Proposition 1 offers a real plan.