The whole Bellevue Link alignment dispute has inspired admirable inquiry into the sources of anti-transit opinions. There are obviously a multitude of reasons that people might oppose new transit projects, and some of them are easily refuted. I would never be selected as their spokesman, but if I were to make a charitable attempt to understand the mindset it would go something like this.
About 64% of King County households never ride the bus at all. This number is 44% even in the well-served Seattle/Shoreline area. Although some may be waiting for improved service, many others simply cannot imagine themselves voluntarily taking transit. This doesn’t mean they oppose the existence of Metro, but they do see transit as a social service for people who simply cannot drive. If you can’t picture yourself using the service, the externalities (like noise) are more significant it it’s coming to your neighborhood.
For virtually any social service, I think you’ll find that non-users are generally pretty disinclined to invest heavily to improve quality. You may support public housing, but probably would be miffed if they started building public housing with marble floors and gold fixtures.* In the case of Metro, they do an adequate job of getting you there, as the slogan goes; the route may be unpleasant, or circuitous, or slow, but it exists for the vast majority of King County homes and jobs. In this view, improvements in quality — better Metro routes, or the quantum jump to light rail — are frivolous spending.**
Needless to say, I don’t find this line of argument convincing. Quality transit can get people to use cars less, and that has various positive externalities. Moreover, a lot of us are interested in making cities denser; car-dependence is an obstacle to that and will not scale as well. However, I think it’s more valuable to understand this view of the world than casually dismiss concerns as racism or unfathomable ideology.
* There are some issues with the public housing analogy, but you get the point.
** Viewed this way, faux advocacy of BRT is not so much insincere and cynical as an attempt to bargain rail fans down, i.e., “yes, the train is nice, but would you take half as nice for half the price?”