There are people who would like to try to solve congestion problems by providing lots of highway capacity. There are people who prefer an option other than the deep bore tunnel (Nick Licata is a good example) but believe that WSDOT cannot be moved off the DBT plan. I can understand, and in a way respect, those positions.
The way some pro-transit, pro-tunnel proponents square the circle is to claim the tunnel is a transit investment. As Adam suggested, that’s just silly. The reasoning appears to be that although no bus currently connects the relevant markets, one could in the future.
By this definition, any new highway project is also transit project. The R.H.Thomson Expressway or the Cross Base Highway or I-605 would all quicken trips between hypothetical buses traveling between their endpoints. To call the DBT a transit project strips the term of all meaning.
Wonkier reasons this is bogus are below the fold.
- No transit money. Although the original deal had $190m in capital investment, that hasn’t materialized. All that remains is mitigation funds: that is, temporary money to run buses during construction, which is standard issue for any major WSDOT highway project.
- The DBT has the least transit investment of the three options.
- No bus routes will run through it. There is no HOV or transit lane in the tunnel, and Metro isn’t looking for new corridors to invest in.
- No bus routes should run through it. If we are to take seriously the idea of frequent, gridded, comprehensible routes based on quick connections, then routes that bypass downtown, the biggest connection node in the system, are simply unacceptable.
People have their own reasons for supporting the tunnel, and those can be very well be consistent with the values they hold. But no one should support the tunnel under the illusion that it’s a transit project.