This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.

One more thought on the BNSF-AAW deal. Ron Sims’ spokesman sounded a little bit defensive about the whole thing:

Triplett said government would be more responsive to citizen concerns than would a private firm: “Who would you rather have decide how many trains should be coming through the Eastside: a combination of King County and Sound Transit, or a private entity whose goals you don’t know about?”

More likely, King County and Sound Transit are concerned about how the project will reflect on them. After all, most of the public isn’t discerning enough to know the difference between a privately-financed rail project and a public one (Orphan Road readers excepted). If All Aboard Washington’s plan didn’t work for one reason or another, the bad press would rub off on ST, like it has with the Monorail debacle. People lose faith in the whole idea of rapid transit.

For example, I overheard someone walking by the new streetcar tracks in South Lake Union who said to a friend, “oh this is for the new Sound Transit streetcar… the streetcar to nowhere!” You have to wonder, will she vote for the Roads and Transit package this fall, or will she be turned off by the fact that Sound Transit is building a streetcar to nowhere, even though Sound Transit has nothing to do with the planning, funding, or operation of said streetcar?

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