$25 Million to Make Federal Way Light Rail Shovel Ready

Today, Senator Tracey Eide and Sound Transit Boardmember Pete Von Reichbauer (along with other boardmembers and CEO Joni Earl) proposed that Sound Transit commit $25 million to do design, engineering and environmental review for light rail not just to S. 272nd St. (the endpoint planned for 2023 in Sound Transit 2), but to Federal Way Transit Center.

This way, if future funding became available through another Sound Transit ballot measure, a state funding package, or federal match, Federal Way would be ready to go immediately. This still has to get through committee and a full Sound Transit board vote, but with four boardmembers present, that sounds likely.

Senator Eide also confirmed that negotiating this began before the legislative session – before Federal Way mayor Priest’s legislative temper tantrum. It was pointed out early in the meeting that Federal Way was invited to the table when revenue projections first put light rail in jeopardy – and didn’t show up. Even despite the adversarial relationship Priest has continued to pursue, Sound Transit and the state have worked together to ensure that Federal Way is served as well as possible.

The big question I asked was whether there was state funding in the works to help get Federal Way on track. Senator Eide, a vice chair of Senate Transportation in Olympia, replied – “That’s why I’m here.” Perhaps with her leadership, Sound Transit could see increased legislative support in years to come. I look forward to it!




Comments

  1. Kyle S. says

    This should be conditional on 1) a transfer payment from the City of Federal Way, and 2) removal of all zoning restrictions along Highway 99.

    Why do we keep giving, giving, giving to these suburbs, and then screwing over Seattle?

    • Ben Schiendelman says

      None of this money comes from Seattle.
      I don’t think this should be conditional on anything. Sound Transit has the money to do this. I suspect this acceleration basically just uses money that would otherwise have been held back for construction. Then Sound Transit can go looking for state or federal sources to help.

      • Kyle S. says

        I was speaking in generalities. None of this money comes from the North King kitty, but it’s still money committed to the waste of time and resources that is sending Link to the middle of nowhere. Meanwhile, Sound Transit could be spending its time designing and promoting actual useful transit infrastructure in Seattle and the denser environs surrounding it.

      • Alex Francis Burchard says

        To be honest, the city limits of Seattle aren’t probably large enough to adequately handle ALL population growth in this region(even at uniformly high density), our region is a SOLID place that is set to grow a LOT in the future, might as well build rail out a little ways so that we can upgrade the suburbs later as we need more space, while it is relatively cheap to do so now, then we can more easily block development further out and say, look, this area is set to go, build here, stop clear-cutting for new development!

      • Ben Schiendelman says

        Alex, honestly, Seattle could easily handle the entire state’s growth for the next century. We just panic at the idea of doing so – imagine how walkable the city would be! Disaster.

      • Alex Francis Burchard says

        Perhaps, but its not like we’re going to be returning the current suburbs to nature, so we might as well turn them into legitimate city, and develop the infrastructure to do so before they become city so they develop right.

      • Matt the Engineer says

        But rail’s ability to do this all depends on removing one concept: parking lots. ST has shown the desire to put these in at far-end stations to “build ridership”. Where is this ridership built? Often the far suburbs, since they have a new faster way to work and free parking. Any time we make it easier and cheaper to commute from far, far away people will choose to do so because homes are larger and cheaper out there.

      • Alex Francis Burchard says

        The GMA should take care of preventing that for us though, and if not, we best strengthen it so it does.

      • Matt the Engineer says

        No. The GMA curbs sprawl at the extremes, but there are a thousand holes in it. The only access to light rail should be through transit, bicycles, and feet. Otherwise light rail is worse than more freeways – at least with freeways drivers will have to pay for parking once they get to work.

      • Matt the Engineer says

        Here’s some analysis I ran a year and a half ago of populations in Seattle, King County, and WA. Things have actually become a little bit better since 2008, but it still stands that the GMA has not had a massive effect on moving populations into cities. I’ll take little effect over no effect, but the best way to keep sprawl from happening is to allow more building in cities, and to make it easier and cheaper to live in those cities. Making it easier and cheaper to live in the far suburbs – or even the regular suburbs – works in the wrong direction.

      • Bernie says

        Seattle could easily handle the entire state’s growth for the next century.

        That’s a wee bit of an exageration. If Seattle increased by 830,000 it would achieve the same density as San Francisco and have a population approaching 1.5 million because it’s almost twice the land area of SF. But the GMA projections for just the next decade are a State wide population growth of 906,000. It certainly could absorb the lion’s share of King County’s project growth of 180,000 by 2020 and even the additional 148,000 forecast growth for 2020-2030. That would make it a city of roughly one million.

      • Mike Orr says

        272nd is already voter-approved. 320th is just two miles further, and is a city center rather than the outskirts. If the extension were 320th to 340th then it would be unreasonable.

        “Otherwise light rail is worse than more freeways – at least with freeways drivers will have to pay for parking once they get to work.”

        No, light rail is better than freeways, because of the gas not used and the lesser congestion (which reduces the pressure to widen the freeway).

      • Matt the Engineer says

        Congestion reduction is a short-term effect. Over time, people realize they can live all the way out in the cheap and large houses without too painful of a commute. This builds sprawl, and congestion returns.

        This happened to the bay area with BART. BART was partially sold as congestion relief, but it just helped people move farther away. How is the bay bridge commute these days – any better than when BART was built? Nope.

      • Bernie says

        the best way to keep sprawl from happening is to allow more building in cities, and to make it easier and cheaper to live in those cities.

        There is nothing holding up building in Seattle except the economy. There’s an army of commercial real estate agents that would be more than happy to sell you a property you can develop multi family. Living in the city, especially close to the CBD or in trendy neighborhoods is always going to be more expensive than housing in the sticks. You have to create an environment where people are willing to spend the extra money. Good public schools, hassle free mobility, clean safe parks, and an overall urban fabric that appears organic rather than contrived. But the number one thing has to be job creation close to where people want to live. It doesn’t do much good to build apartments in Seattle and have people commute to Redmond or vice versa.

        Long Commutes Burn Employees Out

      • Mike Orr says

        “BART was partially sold as congestion relief, but it just helped people move farther away.”

        People were moving to the outskirts before BART. They would have continued to do so even if BART were never built. Maybe at a slower rate, but not that much slower because only a small percentage of commuters use BART. You can’t say that people who don’t use BART were motivated to move to the outskirts because BART exists: that doesn’t make sense.

        I know people who live five minutes from BART and use it only when their car breaks down and they have to pick it up from the shop. (But they do use motorcycles most of the time to minimize use of the car.) They moved from SF to El Cerrito not because of BART but because they found the right-sized house at the right price. That’s why most people are marching out to exurbia, and they’re doing it regardless of whether BART exists. Given that they’re there, we can either provide transit so they aren’t driving as much as they would otherwise, or not provide transit so that they become entrenched in their cars and vote against future transit measures.

        Also, think of the children. :) People who grow up in areas with no transit are less likely to support transit when they grow up, because their entire life’s experience is that there’s no way to get around without a car. But if they see the commuter bus or frequent transit, and they meet people who ride it, and maybe they ride it sometimes, they’ll be more inclined to support transit when they grow up.

      • Matt the Engineer says

        “They moved from SF to El Cerrito not because of BART but because they found the right-sized house at the right price.” And I have a feeling they wouldn’t have moved there if their commute was twice as long.

        Bay bridge daily car count: 270,000 vehicles
        BART passenger count: 335,500

        Sure, they aren’t all crossing the bay. But that has to be a significant portion of the bridge capacity. Considering the Bay Bridge is at capacity more or less from 5am to 7pm, doubling the car load would be impossible (unless people start working at night). Would they have built a second Bay Bridge if BART didn’t exist? I’d guess not, if they had removed San Francisco’s restrictive zoning rules instead, and focused on urban transit rather than suburban transit.

      • Mike Orr says

        I’m beginning to feel that if you want to combat sprawl, the way to do it is to combat it directly: either encourage or force people not to live in low-density neighborhoods on the edges. Attacking transit is the wrong target. Europe does not refuse to extend rail to outlying districts: people commute an hour or more to London by train, and the Rhineland (a similar size to the Bay Area) has 24-hour half-hourly S-Bahn trains between the cities (like BART and Caltrain). What I like even better, Gatwick, Duesseldorf, and Zurich airports have mainline train stations right at the airport that’ll take you to any large or small city in the country (with transfers of course). You don’t hear Europeans say, “Cut off rail service to the suburbs and outlying districts”, instead you hear them saying, “Improve the train service.” The right way to combat sprawl is to densify suburban centers, increase jobs at those centers, improve transit to industrial sites, and densify city neighborhoods. Not to limit transit between every area, which is counterproductive.

      • Mike Orr says

        Re the Bay Bridge: of course they’d have to build another bridge if BART weren’t there, just like Portland diverted money from the Mt Hood freeway to build MAX. Isn’t it good that they put the money into transit rather than another bridge?

        Underlying this is an assumption of the “legitimate” number of trips that should be crossing the Bay Bridge, either by car or by transit. Some drivers would say the proper number is “Twice the current capacity of the bridge, plus BART” (i.e., we should build a second bridge). People like you might think the proper number is “Zero”, or “10,000 per day”, or “Less than the capacity of the current bridge.” But these are just arbitrary numbers. They aren’t based on the populations of San Francisco and the East Bay, or the ideal number of jobs and ideal number of dense neighborhoods on each side of the Bay, or how many “legitimate” trips would remain after everybody were redistributed in an ideal manner. That’s the only way to say how big the bridge+BART “should” be. Absent hard calculations, I have to assume that half the traffic on the bridge is legitimate, all of BART’s capacity is legitimate (especially since it covers an area of 2+ million people), and 24-hour BART would be even better (perhaps truncated as Daly City-Berkeley).

        PS. Of my El Cerrito friends, one works in SF or Oakland I think, the other works in Concord. So there’s a reverse commute for you.

      • Mike Orr says

        The beauty of this plan is it does the cheap “shovel-readiness” studies now, and then shifts the burden to Federal Way/South King/Pierce to say, “Here’s your rail line, you find a way to pay for it.” This both makes the proposal concrete (speeding up the completion date if it’s eventually built), and puts the responsibility on the affected communities to raise funds for it (or to decide they don’t want it enough to raise the funds).

    • says

      Kyle, it sounds like you mistakenly believe Sound Transit is an agency whose mission is to serve the city of Seattle.

      • d.p. says

        Sam, it actually sounds like Kyle mistakenly believes Sound Transit is an agency whose mission is to provide rapid transit that anyone will actually use.

  2. Rod N. says

    I would like something more than a Sound Transit bus to West Seattle. PLEASE.

    Density in West Seattle is increasing big time. Please. Just a four mile branch line from SODO to Alaska Junction. PLEASE. In spite of what Ben S. claims, it will work. Heck. Just transfer at SODO. Every dang train from/to West Seattle does not necessarily have to go in the tunnel. Please. A four mile branch rail line. Please.

    • Brent says

      “I would like something more than a Sound Transit bus to West Seattle. PLEASE.”

      … a mostly empty bus to West Seattle, every time I’ve ridden it. The 560 is ST’s 42.

      Want to make light rail to West Seattle feasible faster? Stop wasting money on the silly 560, let Metro run the 120 all the way to the airport, and spend some north subarea money instead on engineering.

      • Tim Whittome says

        Sound Transit has continually had problems with its buses to West Seattle. The old 570 was never popular.

        My suggestion for the 560 would be to end the line at Burien but to begin it in Redmond or even Bear Creek P&R. Neither city has any direct service to SeaTac and I think it would be an important link for both the citizens of these two city areas and for Microsofties in need of travel to the airport.

        This is off-topic but a response anyway to the comments above.

      • Rod N. says

        Yeah, Brent. You bet. Like the ST 560 is the only bus to West Seattle. Get a grip. There are many, many buses to West Seattle. And many, many to Alaska Junction. Check it out some time. Nice comment though. Well thought out. LOL.

      • Brent says

        “Like the ST 560 is the only bus to West Seattle. Get a grip. There are many, many buses to West Seattle.”

        Wow, you put words in my mouth that have no relation to what I said. Of course, I know there are many buses to West Seattle. What does that have to do with the utility (or lack thereof) of the 560?

      • Brent says

        Tim,

        Does the 560 segment between Renton and Burien really have that much purpose? The segment from the airport to Renton I can understand.

        From the airport to Burien, the 560 is duplicative with the 180, and poorly interlined to add frequency.

      • Rod N. says

        Brent, hello. You brought up the ST 560. I brought up a four mile spur to SODO from West Seattle. I agree on one point you make: ST 560 is next to worthless.

        I guess that is what West Seattle gets from Sound Transit. A nearly worthless bus. Yippee.

      • Matt the Engineer says

        [Brent] ST won’t get that done for decades and decades. If Seattle Subway really gets going you might have a chance, but again – I’m guessing at least a decade and probably more.

        [ot]

    • Bernie says

      How about paying for it? Understand that the 560 only goes to West Seattle because the East subarea subsidizes it. The North subarea pays exactly zero toward ST Express; including “all those Micosoft employees” that use the 550 to commute from Capitol Hill.

      • Brent says

        Bernie,

        Are you resisting the idea of eliminating the western portion of the 560?

        Why pick a fight when we seem to be in agreement for once?

      • Bernie says

        From a sub area equity view the only reason for the 560 to extend to West Seattle would be for people living in W. Seattle and working in Renton. Or, if the additional fare revenue made that leg profitable. I doubt either condition is met. But cutting off the tail won’t mean additional ST service hours to West Seattle on a different route.

      • Brent says

        Straight question looking for a straight answer: Is the 560 partially funded through the south subarea?

      • Mike Orr says

        The 560 is an all-day route, meaning it’s not just for commuters but for general circulation into and out of West Seattle. It may or may not be a good route, but saying it’s for people who live in West Seattle and work in Renton misses the point. People in West Seattle go to the airport, Southcenter, and Bellevue. People in Renton go to Bellevue, Southcenter, the airport, and sometimes West Seattle. They may live in any of these areas and work in another, and their job location may change from year to year. That’s the point of the 560, for general circulation along the south side of the lake.

      • Mike Orr says

        Oh, I forgot it’s peak-only west of Burien. Well, it’s for general circulation east of Burien.

    • Brent says

      Sorry to divert the discussion to the empty 560 from having ST provide bus service between downtown and West Seattle.

      There are plenty of neighborhoods all over town and all over the county that get no service from ST, but are overserved by Metro (like West Seattle is). And then there are other places that are underserved by Metro and overserved by ST.

      I prefer to look at service by the transit agencies from an overlay view rather than a “Is my neighborhood getting at least its fair share of service from X agency?” view.

      Yes, West Seattle is accepting some density. But all the service being saved is not serving that density. To put it another way, the Admiral District shouldn’t get to keep overservice just because the Triangle and Delridge are growing upward. But the C/D line frequency, especially in the evening, is threatened by diverting the service hours away from the dense neighborhoods. Even if it doesn’t end up happening this round, Metro does cut frequency as an efficiency all the time.
      .

      I used to think that the 577 and 177 were an accounting trick to balance the books between Metro and ST. Now, I’m beginning to believe it was a political idea to show Federal Way that both transit agencies are serving them. I hope “What does ST do for West Seattle?” doesn’t lead to an interlined ST and Metro route serving the same path, with poor interlined scheduling. (Well, okay, it already does between SeaTac and Burien Forced Layover Center.)

  3. Brent says

    Game, set, match Tracy Eide. And her opponent, Mr. Priest, may see himself get sent off by the voters after his latest clown act.

    • Bruce Nourish says

      Sounder, the Sounder extension to Lakewood, Tacoma Link, and a fleet of 59x buses providing express service to Seattle.

      • Ben Schiendelman says

        Just as they requested!

        And, of course, they get Link closer to the county line, so that next time around they could actually get connected to the system. :)

      • Brent says

        Since Pierce County will benefit significantly from getting light rail to Federal Way TC, would they have any interest or ability to do an inter-subarea loan to expedite South Link?

    • Atenhaus says

      If this becomes a reality, I would like to see expedient and reliable feeder service from PT or ST to Federal Way. Hourly service from the 402/500/501 would be woefully inadequate.

      • Bellinghammer says

        By cutting the 574 back to Federal Way, you could double its frequency for the same cost. So you could have 15-minute headways and 30-minute trip times from Lakewood-Tacoma-Federal Way. Total trip time to Seattle from Lakewood would be about 80 minutes…much slower than the 592, but nearly equivalent to the 594.

        With LInk in Federal Way, you could also cut the 574 and 577 entirely and instead retool the 590/592/594 as an I-5 trunk route with 10-minute headways all day, stopping only at Lakewood Sounder, SR512, TDS, FWTC, and then on to DT Seattle. (DT Tacoma riders would transfer via Tacoma Link.)

      • Cheesewheels says

        If all of that Pierce and south king bus service become feeders for Link in FW, we’d have really good cause to create a Duwamish bypass for Link to avoid the Rainier Valley. This stretch, along with Link south to 320th, HAS to run faster than 55mph.

  4. Brad Schuster says

    Brent: you are not well versed on sound transit or king county metro routes. The 560 is an express line to serve Bellevue to Renton and Sea-Tac. Of course the ridership from Sea-Tac to West Seattle is not going to be heavily used. The poster before is referring to Downtown Seattle to West Seattle. Ridership on these lines are very strong all day. Let’s see how a Rapid Line works from Seattle first. If metro can provide dedicated HOV lanes across the west Seattle bridge and new viaduct, this will prove to be just as effective and 100 million dollars cheaper than a light rail line.

    • LWC says

      Problem is, rapid ride won’t even serve the most used West Seattle corridor: the 120. You want to see well-used bus service? Hop on the 120 at 9pm on a Sunday night. When the rest of the city is asleep, you’ll more than likely have to stand in the aisle half-way to White Center. It boggles my mind why this route isn’t on the Rapid Ride short list (I know… AWV mitigations, Gregoire’s veto, etc. But still).

      • Brad says

        I agree. Burien, White Center, and Westwood Village via Delridge has the most high density housing and biggest public transit user demographic of West Seattle. King County Metro really needs to study the west Seattle Rapid Line more closely. A line to the Junction will serve peak commuters well, but a Delridge line is the best route for all day ridership.

      • reality based commute says

        Metro will tell you that the 120 is the next candidate for Rapid Ride treatment.

      • Jason says

        Oh, great! RapidRide on the Delridge corridor. So the 120 will have its frequency reduced and will gain unnecessary peak overlay routes!

      • Mike Orr says

        The reason Delridge is passed up is there’s no way a north-south route can serve both it and Alaska Junction. That’s not Metro’s fault, it’s the way the hills go. It would have been absurd to bypass West Seattle’s center and main transfer point.

    • Brent says

      Brad: I didn’t call for reducing West-Seattle-to-downtown bus service. I called for eliminating 560 (or rather, the segment from the airport to the Alaska Junction), so that improved service on the West-Seattle-to-downtown segment could be expedited. Sorry for any confusion.

      • Brad says

        Brent: I agree, the Burien to West Seattle portion of 560 is not wise service hours used. ST has already reduced this segment to weekday peak hours only. (long overdue) Dedicating these peak hours to some other line is the sensible thing to do.

  5. says

    From Seatac to Northgate, Link will crisscross I-5 three time. From Seatac to Federal Way, I would like to see Sound Transit try to top itself and crisscross I-5 at least four times.

  6. says

    Should it take decades to build a subway?

    On Dec. 31, the Chinese capital opened a new subway line and greatly expanded two others. This year it plans to open four more. A total of eight new lines are under construction. The city started expanding the system in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics, and has kept pushing forward ever since. In 2001 it had 33 miles of track. Today it has 231.

    Meanwhile, when you hear the completion dates for big U.S. transit projects you often have to calculate your age to figure out if you’ll still be alive. Los Angeles’s Westside subway extension is set to be finished in 2036. Just five years ago, New York’s Second Avenue Subway was supposed to be done by 2020, a goal that seems laughable now.

    http://www.salon.com/2012/02/04/should_it_take_decades_to_build_a_subway/singleton/

    • Matt the Engineer says

      I’ve seen how they dig subway tunnels in India – guys with shovels. A road construction project I saw in China consisted of guys on little scooters with huge trailers filled with bricks, stones, and sand shuttling miles at full speed (like 30mph) on a highway to the construction site. Seattle built our first big tunnel – the Great Northern Tunnel that goes from King St. Station to the north end of the waterfront – in around a year. Using shovels. Complain about quality all you want, but the thing’s still there well over a century later.

      Let’s see – 350 workers at $100k (after load) each working for a year – that’s $35M in labor. Not bad. Let’s assume to fit in with OSHA requirements we cut the amout of work they do in half, and that’s $70M in two years. Still not bad. But then we’ll need engineering studies to make sure the buildings above don’t fall in. Add a year for that. And grouted shoring for the same reason. That will be another year. Then there’s the politics to get the thing funded – that’s half a decade at least. And the campaign to get this process started – that’s a few more years. And all of the studies that the article mentions. And the re-votes when our politicians start fighting and decide they don’t want the tunnel anymore. And the construction of the stations. And laying the track, and electrical, and building ventilation systems…

      (hey! Martin is quoted all over that article!)

  7. eddiew says

    http://www.soundtransit.org/Documents/pdf/st2/transitexapansion/Appendix%20C.pdf

    see page c-8 for a graphic of the slim “pencil line” depicting the slim ridership forecast for the southern Link extension.

    below, find some ST data on the Link piece between Kent Des Moines and South 272nd Street.

    http://www.soundtransit.org/documents/pdf/projects/planning/S29A_Link_Kent_Des_Moines_Rd_to_S_272nd_St_via_SR_99.pdf

    the funds pledged this week fund planning only.

    • d.p. says

      Man, that skinny little ridership line is pathetic. And at 2/3 of the operational costs of the entirety of East Link!

      (Nevertheless, I call equally loud “b.s.” on that comically thick line north of Northgate. Even if every single current bus passenger wound up on the train, you’re less than 1/4 of the way there. Where the hell are all those “new riders” coming from?)

  8. Seattle Citizen says

    Instead of spending $25 million to study expansion, they should spend it to close down Sound Transit, plug whatever tunnels they’ve dug, and give people their severance checks. Yes, it would be an outrage, but it’d save a lot of money in the long run. Fixed-rail mass transit is a 19th century approach to the 21st century city.

    • d.p. says

      If by “21st century city” you mean “sprawling, unwalkable, traffic-choked hellscape full of fat assholes,” then I’ll take the time-machine technology, thank you very much.

      Of course, cities like Shanghai and São Paulo being much more “21st century cities” than this delusional backwater you call home, I’m just going to conclude that you have absolutely no idea what words and dates mean.

      • Seattle Citizen says

        Have you ever been to Shanghai? You’d prefer to live there to living in Seattle because they have a subway? I don’t even know where to start with you!

      • d.p. says

        We’re only 11 years into the 21st century, Citizen.

        And yes, for the record, I stand by my comment that Seattle is a “delusional backwater” and will remain that way if it wallows in complacency.

  9. Cheesewheels says

    LOLWAT

    The poverty in those cities you mentioned is astounding. Not to mention the pollution. And traffic? It’s actually WORSE, despite their public transport.

    • d.p. says

      The poverty in the United States in 1890, and again in 1930, was astounding too.

      In 1900, you wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference between the U.S. and Mexico, economically speaking. Only a few decades later, we conquered the world.

      I repeat, we are only 11 years into the 21st century. And Seattle is primed for future irrelevance.

  10. K says

    Sigh.

    I didn’t get a chance to reply in the Jan 5 post on South Link to FW, wherein every single person jumped on top of Federal Way and went at it with bar soaps in socks.

    Thanks for that.

    I actually live in Federal Way, though.

    Is it Federal Way’s fault that tax revenues are too low? Not entirely. It certainly does have serious issues with zoning, and serious issues with a Lake Wobegon mindset. Of course, that’s not entirely the City government’s fault, either; it’s the fault of the old-timers who still hold noteable sway over city affairs, not helped by a catch-22 wherein renters are treated like second-class citizens and therefore see no reason to stay in the city when their lease is up and their rent increases — or that comparatively few of them vote.

    Federal Way is making moves towards some amount of density. For six years now, it’s been sitting on a 4-acre piece of land directly west of the FWTC. The city wants to partner with or sell with covenants to a developer that will build dense mixed-use. It found a developer in 2008 that wanted to build. Poof. It found another developer in 2010 that wanted to build. Poof again. Now there’s a third developer who wants to build…. and wisps of smoke are starting to swirl around this one too.

    Now, the city can’t control (well, it can, but out here, no one would dare) the rates property managers set for their vacant spaces. I’m a Keynesian and think that, if demand is low, and supply is high, you need to lower prices to meet demand, but that doesn’t happen apparently in property management logic. I wouldn’t know.

    As for a walkable path from FWTC to the Commons, it’s called 20th Ave S. Yes, you have to cross 320th, but there’s a light *right there*. There’s also 23rd Ave S, which is not as optimal, but technically gets you there.

    Now, FWTC wasn’t an ST2 project. It was an ST1 project. It started construction in 2004 and finished in 2006. ST2 passed in 2008.

    And you know what else? It’s full every day. 5 stories, 1900 spaces. To the point that they actively ticket and tow people who try to squeeze in up against the ends of parking rows.

    There’s demand. Lots of it. All we need is transit to meet the demand. See above statement about supply and demand. (I suppose they could raise fares to reduce demand, but is that what you really want?)

    What do I want to see ST do? Well, quit giving themselves (the board) exorbitant salaries for one. For another, eliminate subarea equity entirely. It is counterproductive.

    I put it to you that Sound Transit’s sole reason for existence is to improve transit connectivity within the entire RTA corridor. Subarea equity effectively throws a wrench in that mission. Instead of connecting the entire corridor, it will only connect those parts of the corridor that have enough rich people buying things. Meanwhile, those parts of the corridor that have poorer people, with less money to spend buying things, get the shaft. Like, in this case, Federal Way. (RV only got Link because it was cheaper to run it through there, not because ST thought RV connectivity was a priority. FW has no such advantage.)

    So why should FW have an increased sales tax burden — the same increase as Bellevue, where ST is actively spending extra money on court costs to fight the city et al, and elsewhere in the RTA — while being denied timely service expansions? Seems like a fair question.

    Not enough people have put the screws on ST. Federal Way has, and everyone’s in a tizzy. Of course, it’s not their city getting screwed, so they really have no frame of reference from which to throw their stones. ST gives Seattle/Bellevue/Renton great service, so what is FW’s problem? Um, because ST doesn’t give FW great service, that’s what.

    Anyway, back to your rock pile to throw your stones, everyone. I’ve got my helmet on.

    • Zed says

      “Well, quit giving themselves (the board) exorbitant salaries for one.”

      The board members are unpaid.

      “For another, eliminate subarea equity entirely.”

      The state legislature would have to do that.

      “ST gives Seattle/Bellevue/Renton great service, so what is FW’s problem? Um, because ST doesn’t give FW great service, that’s what.

      Light rail in north Seattle (the only place that actually needs rail) is ten years behind what was promised because of increased construction costs and the “social justice” of serving south Seattle first, have Seattle politicians threatened ST with lawsuits and gone after them through legislation? No. But the minute it looks like light rail to Federal Way might be delayed the mayor throws a temper tantrum. That’s what annoys people.

    • Martin H. Duke says

      K, no one is blaming Federal Way for the recession. Federal Way politicians seem to blame Sound Transit for it, though, which is equally incorrect.

      I don’t know where you get the idea that ST boardmembers draw salaries, or how the salaries of 18 people could possibly make a serious dent in ST’s revenue situation.

      Subarea equity is a matter of state law, so I’m not sure why you think ST can be pressured into abandoning it.

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