This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.

Most of the time I’ve been arguing for the passage of Prop. 1 I’ve admitted it’s about 75% to 80% of the project I want. I would have done some things differently if I got to play regional transit planner for a day. I’d build a 300mph rail link between Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver. I’d build an elevated people-mover between Queen Anne, Pioneer Square, Ballard, Fremont and Capitol Hill. I’d do all sorts of wild stuff.

But, of course, no one’s going to ask me to be transit planner for a day, and that’s probably for the best. Instead, I get to vote “yea” or “nay” on this thing. And I’m voting “yea,” as you know if you read this blog with any regularity.

Anyway, today I got an email from a reader who’s 100% behind the measure. I thought I’d share it because it’s a concise, cogent argument.

A lot of press has come out on this, about the price tag and the effects of adding more roads and the value of adding mass transit. Some people see this as a compromise measure, and even some of the supporters say that they’re holding their noses while they vote in favor. I couldn’t disagree more; I think this is a GREAT measure that does all sorts of great, important things that benefit all of us in a number of ways. It builds trains all the way North and South and East. It widens major roads, fixes problematic bridges and creates more efficient routes for people and freight. A few points:

1) It’s not “too expensive”. That’s what things cost these days. Imagine how expensive it will be if we wait. Not only the increasing cost of materials and labor, but the cost to our economy and quality of life as traffic gets worse and 1,000,000 more people move to the region. And yes, we’ll be paying for it for a long time, but we’ll be using it even longer!

2) We have to build roads. How dare we force the average working person to move out of Seattle because of lack of affordable housing and then criticize them for driving when they don’t have a viable alternative. Not everyone can afford a condo in Belltown and walk to work. We can encourage people to carpool and and drive more fuel efficient, lower emission vehicles, but there are going to be more and more people and freight using roads to get places for a long time to come. And buses use roads too, people!

3) Alternative approaches like bus rapid transit, congestion pricing, and tolling simply will not be implemented soon enough and extensively enough to handle all of our tranportation needs. This measure is an investment in our existing needs and helps us build toward a practical, effective regional transportation system.

4) The sales tax is what we’ve got to work with. Property tax increases are capped thanks to good ol’ Eyman. Write your representative about implementing an income tax and then hold your breath until it passes. The only thing more regressive than the sales tax is putting the burden of our transportation systems deficiencies on lower income people who have to live further and drive further to work on inadequate highway systems.

I believe in this measure. I believe it’s the right thing for our region. And I think it will do great things for all of us. Please vote for it. Tell your friends to vote for it. Thanks.

It occurs to me that one thing that gets lost in all this debate is that Prop. 1 really isn’t all that radical. It continues the Puget Sound’s gradual progress towards regional planning, smart growth, light rail, and highways (mostly with HOV lanes) and development inside the urban growth boundary. Sure, it’s got a big price tag and a long time horizon, but it really is just the next step in a long process that began with the passage of the Growth Management Act in 1990.

Vote yes and let’s keep the ball rolling in the right direction.