One more voice for Eastside Rail…

The Everett Herald has a piece about Eastside Rail from the Snohomish perspective. Nothing new for King County Transit heads, but nice quotes like this:

A private company’s bid to run commuter trains from Snohomish County to Bellevue is gaining traction with the Snohomish County Council.

GNP Railway is proposing six commuter trips from Snohomish to Bellevue weekday mornings and six return trips in the afternoon. Supporters say the figure could someday double to 12 each way.

Growing traffic woes and a dearth of cash for road projects makes the idea is so appealing that county attorneys are drafting cooperation and confidentiality agreements between the county and train operator, County Council chairman Dave Somers said.

I don’t know much about GNP (I have sent the mails around), but if they are promising twelve trains a day, I sort of disbelieve them. Sounder costs a lot of money to operate, and they don’t run that many. Though the idea of private transit companies makes me optomistic. If a company can run transit, we should absolutely let them.


This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.

To follow up on serial catowner’s post below, one thing I’ve not mentioned enough is the federal Dodd-Hagel bill to create a National Infrastructure Bank.

Obama’s on board, and Hillary Clinton’s a co-sponsor as well. The Campaign for America’s Future has a good overview of the legislation:

Perhaps most importantly, the selection criteria required by the National Infrastructure Bank would encourage the federal government to undertake projects that are significant to the country’s long-term well-being: rather than stop-gap measures to repair existing problems, such projects would take into account new challenges like climate change, the growing importance of urban areas, and the need for more affordable housing, while at the same time confronting the more typical concerns associated with economic growth (increased air, highway, and port traffic). A database with details about each infrastructure project and its funding would provide at least some public oversight.

Metro Buses Falling Late

The PI has an interesting article about how Metro buses are falling late more than before because of the increased ridership. A bus is considered “not on-time” if it’s more than five minutes late, and the on-time percentage for buses is down to 74%, and overcrowding is to blame:

Two or three more people boarding or leaving a bus at a stop or elbowing past standees might add only seconds to the delay, but over the length of a route, it adds up, Obeso said. If the cumulative effect makes the bus more than five minutes late to a scheduled stop, the bus is categorized as not on time.

Bus ridership has gone up significantly over the last few years, driven by growth in population and employment and by increases in the cost of driving a vehicle because of rising gasoline prices. In 2007, Metro recorded 110 million passenger boardings, which was an all-time high and 7 percent more than in 2006.

Meanwhile, on-time performance has declined, dipping to a 12-month average of 74 percent in early 2007, the latest period for which Metro provided information.

It does seem Metro is working on solutions, and one of them strikes me as only too obvious.

Metro also applies other strategies to keep the buses running on time. In arrangements coordinated with city traffic engineers, some buses are equipped with devices that send a signal to traffic-light controls when nearing an intersection so that the light will stay green for a few extra seconds to let the bus through.

Other bus-borne devices can trigger a red light for the curb lane to turn green a few seconds before all lanes get the green light, allowing a bus to pull away from the curb and merge into the travel lanes ahead of the traffic flow.

Metro also expects to take delivery in April of 22 60-foot articulated buses bought with the proceeds of a sales tax voters approved in 2006, allowing for expanded service.

The agency would like more riders to buy prepaid passes — and plans to introduce passes in the form of plastic cards embedded with computer chips detectable by proximity sensors — to “make the transaction quicker at the door,” Obeso said. And it will experiment with systems that let passengers board at any door on the bus.

Want people to buy more bus passes? Install pass vending machines at park-and-rides and in the transit tunnel. It’d be an easy way to ensure people have the proper fare when the bus comes around.

Sierra Club Letter

Mike at Carless in Seattle has the text and analysis of a Sierra Club letter to Sound Transit. It would appear that rumors of the Sierra Club coming out against the next package are somewhat exaggerated.

There are some particulars in the letter that this blog has disagreed with in the past, mainly for tactical reasons (congestion pricing, park-and-rides, etc), but it’s good to see the Sierra Club participating constructively in the process. What’s important is that the perfect isn’t the enemy of the good again; when they don’t get everything they want, the reasonable thing is to do is fall into line for the election, rather than ally themselves with Kemper Freeman.

I Promise

To Mark, Joanne and Alex. I will not cry when I get to step on a moving Link car later this year.

I Promise! (Ben won’t believe me…)

Gregoire Wants Light Rail on the Bridge…

Over the Columbia. The new I-5 bridge over the Columbia would allow Tri-Met’s Max rail to cross over into Vancouver Washington. I guess they would have to change their name to Quad-Met?

From the articile:

Making light rail part of a new Columbia River Crossing would serve Clark County residents who want an alternative to commuting by car to Oregon jobs, Gov. Chris Gregoire told a Portland radio interviewer Wednesday.

In an interview with Emily Harris, host of KOPB’s new call-in public affairs program Think Out Loud, the governor stopped short of saying inclusion of light rail will be a condition for state participation in the project. But she made her support for the mass transit option clear.

Light rail would cost more initially than bus rapid transit on a dedicated freeway corridor, but it would save money on maintenance over the long term, Gregoire said. Light rail also would allow Vancouver residents to move around their own city car-free, she said

Interesting. Now about that 520 bridge, Mrs Governor…

Bikes on the Bus

Aus-Car the Transit Grouch complained the other day about the “wave-off” bicyclists experience when the bike racks are full. I’ve always wondered why they have only put space for two bikes on most buses, with only three on some of the new bike racks. It seems a constant problem even in the winter on the 545, where at least a bus comes every five-ten minutes at peak time. Waiting ten minutes to get on a bus because the rack is full is a problem, especially if your bus comes only every hour or half hour.

Aus-Car is incorrect that each train only holds two bikes. Each car has racks for two bikes, and each train will have two cars at the minimum, and more bikes could theoretically be brought onto the cars and held by their owners. Still, two isn’t a lot, and I feel the bike-computers pain.

Other cities have different policies around bikes. When I took Caltrain between San Francisco and Mountain View (talk about a reverse commute), there were bike cars on each train with space for 40 bikes. And fold-up bikes could be taken on any car. That might be the solution for the bus-bike commuter.

What do you think? What is your experience with bikes on the bus and other forms of public transit? I’m especially interested in hearing about the bike experience on Sounder if anyone knows.

Making the Transition


Regarding my previous post, nickb asks:

My question is how did the transition happen. Was it more just a matter of you stopped using the car and started using just public transportation?

In a sense, yes, it was as simple as using transit instead of a car. However, it takes some actual effort to discover that it is possible to get where you want without that car you’re used to. For me, it was a process of migration and discovery, each step intentional, encouraged by the reasons I described earlier, but also testing the waters to ensure that I wasn’t choosing the path of martyrs. Happily, I can attest I was not.

The important benchmarks in my transition, which may be helpful in making yours, were:

1) Using Transit as a Commuter
As I wrote, busing it to work was a given, and it served the important role of introducing me to transit here. This was a significant step for someone whose transit use was previously non-existent as a child of the suburbs, and in Austin limited to my weekend use of the E-Bus (aka Drunk Bus) which runs between the University of Texas Campus and 6th Street (infamous for its numerous bars & venues).

But then, if you’re reading this blog, you’re already familiar, so we may as well go on to step two…

2) The arrival of Google Transit
Don’t get me wrong, the King County Trip Planner is pretty good. But Google Transit (previously mentioned) does it much better, because it allows you to interact visually with your options on Google’s draggable, zoomable maps. This is a matter of night and day for anyone as visually-driven or memory-challenged (where was that street again?) as I.

Better still, it recognizes and accepts far more place names and address formats, so you need not hunt around for the address or answer questions about whether you really meant PL instead of Place. It’s free and highly recommended. To use it, you can either use the link above, or from any Google Maps directions page, click the “Take Public Transit” link in the upper left, once you have your destination plotted.

3) Taking the One-Less-Car challenge
The one-less-car challenge (also mentioned previously) offers incentives for those who commit to not using their vehicle for a set amount of time. The program isn’t active yet for 2008 (we’ll update you when it is), but you don’t need the program to get its most powerful benefit, which is the commitment itself.

Like others who have used this program, it was taking this challenge that pushed me to go out and try the other ways of getting around which I wasn’t used to; to rent a Flexcar even though I had my own car out on the street, or to take a bus to a seemingly out-of-the-way place. Only to find that the experiences where painless.

So look for the return of the challenge, or, if you’re able and willing, simply challenge yourself to go without your own car for a while. You may find it easier and more liberating than expected.

4) Renting my first Flexcar (now ZipCar)
For the foreseeable future, there will be parts of Seattle that aren’t well-traveled by transit, where either there is no route when you need it, or there is no direct route. Sometimes, those place happen also to be your destination for the night. My first Flexcar rental was also my first trip out to the (AFAIK) sleepy and suburban Mercer Island.

It was a pleasant trip, and easy to manage, in the time of computers (to find & reserve the car) and cell-phones (to extend the reservation if necessary).

I’ve since taken out a ZipCar, and the experience was the same, but a bit friendlier. For example, I find their web experience more intuitive, and there’s never a need to carry around the car’s key, because your card always does the locking.

5) Taking a bus out into the Unknown
Or in this case, Greenlake. All my time here, I’d traveled to and from my friends’ place in Greenlake via auto. But finally the aforementioned commitment pushed me to check out the other options (found via Google Transit), and I found them quite pleasant. The point being, just because you’ve never taken a bus over that way, doesn’t mean it’s inconvenient to do so. I’ve since traveled as far as Everett without incident.

A Step Not Yet Taken: Put the Internet in my pocket
The next big enabler I see in my future, which I’ll suggest to you all as an option, is the extra ease which will come once I have the internet in my pocket, via a web-enabled phone. Both for transit and ZipCar, a certain small amount of planning is necessary, to minimize waiting time and to know the route, or to find and reserve the car. Having the internet available from the street means that no matter where I am, or what I’ve been doing that day, if it comes up that I need to get somewhere unexpected, I can pull up these sites and find my way. Thus I’m a little more free, which of course is the goal.

So after all of these, I’ve made a successful transition. Everyone’s needs are different of course, or as they say, your mileage may vary, but I’ve found these steps are a sensible way to try things out.

Sound Transit in Pierce County

The Tacoma New Tribune, usually a Sound Transit supporter, has warned Sound Transit that putting a ballot iniative that doesn’t light rail from Tacoma to Sea-Tac might cost the Tribune’s support. Their reasoning is explained in this blog post from the Tribune’s editorial board. An excerpt:

We are dismayed at the possibility that some on the Sound Transit board seem to be backing away from the agency’s historic commitment to a rail connection between Pierce County and Sea-Tac airport (and points north). When the region approved a mass transit system in 1996, the chief benefit for the South Sound was the prospect of a light rail connection to heart of the Puget Sound economy. The board should know: This editorial page will not support a Sound Transit ballot measure that effectively precludes regional light rail for Pierce and South King Counties. If money is short, what’s available to be used to buy right-of-way for a planned line.

In a later blog post, David Seago brings out the latest governence reform details, which now might appear in the form of ballot initiative.

During an email exchange today with Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg on that matter, he also argued that Sound Transit should hold off until 2009 to go back to voters for Phase II expansion. Ladenburg stepped down as Sound Transit chairman last year but remains on the board for the rest of this year.

All that being said, I’m still not sure this is the right year. I understand the advantage of high voter and young voter turnout, but we are falling into a national recession. Even if the local economy remains good as I think it will, the national economy may well affect the vote.

Also, it appears that John Stanton is prepared to put his “governance change” proposal forward as an initiative and fund signature gathering to get it to the ballot this year. While I think his plan is poorly thought out and dangerous for Pierce County, he has the money to get it on the ballot and distract from any Sound Transit measure.

Plus, once Light Rail opens in 2009 in King County, I think we get a lot more
people as supporters, since this is what has happened around the US in the past.

Stanton confirmed today that supporters of forming a single regional body to govern both mass transit and road construction are exploring an initiative campaign to put it on the November ballot.

Like Ladenburg, the TNT ed board and most Pierce County elected officials are wary of regional governance, fearing that the needs of the metro Seattle area will dominate, to the detriment of Pierce County.

I hope that Stanton initiative doesn’t make it to the ballot. And I think Ladenburg and the Tribune are right, that if an elected board came to power, it would benefit Seattle’s immediate suburbs to the detriment of both Seattle itself and Pierce County. It would be a lose-lose to many of the people who want transit the most. Here’s a little more reading about Ladenburg’s feeling on ST2.

The scary thing about a governance reform initiative is that it would be voted on by the whole state, while its effects would only be felt in the Sound Transit district.

Cars: Not Cool, Really Expensive!

The US will spend $440 billion on gas this year, $1,465 per person, and more than $2,100 per driver. With gas prices at more than $3.28 on average nationwide, the New York Times is demanding stricter fuel standards again, just four months after they were tightened for the first time in 30 years. It’s kind of obvious the changes were too little, too late and won’t make much of a difference. The Times also seems to call for a higher gas tax, seeing as we pay so little relative to the rest of the world.

Meanwhile, in Japan, the youth there aren’t even interested in cars. According to the Wall Street Journal:

Unlike their parents’ generation, which viewed cars as the passport to freedom and higher social status, the Internet-connected Japanese youths today look to cars with indifference, according to market research by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association and Nissan. Having grown up with the Internet, they no longer depend on a car for shopping, entertainment and socializing and prefer to spend their money in other ways.

A survey last year of 1,700 Japanese in their 20s and 30s by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Japan’s biggest business newspaper, discovered that only 25% of Japanese men in their 20s wanted a car, down from 48% in 2000. The manufacturers’ association found that men 29 years old and younger made up 11% of Japanese drivers in 2005, roughly half the size of that group in 1993.

The streets of Harajuku are filled with consumers like 20-year-old Kazuto Matsui. “Young people can borrow their parents’ car, and I think they’d rather spend money on PCs or iPods than cars,” says the student with shaggy hair who is in no rush to get a driver’s license. While Mr. Matsui says he may want a car some day, “trains will do” for now.

Too bad we don’t have trains yet, many people my age (mid-twenties) that I talked to are interested in ditching their cars but don’t really have a choice sometimes. What would be interesting to see, is that now as teens are waiting longer to drive, whether in 10 years, when those kids are in their mid-to-late-twenties, they’ll drive less than my generation. I bet they will, and with more efficient cars, the state might get to greenhouse gas goals without unpopular driver-limit mechanisms.

Electric Cars

This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.

After watching Who Killed the Electric Car? the other night, I’ve posted some thoughts about electric vehicles here.

This comes just as Subaru and the New York Power Authority have commenced testing on Subaru’s new R1e for potential sale in the US.

Southbound Sounder

This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.

The “reverse-commute” Seattle-to-Tacoma Sounder train has posted pretty tepid numbers thusfar, but it has other benefits:

[ST Spokesperson Linda] Robson said the reverse commute allows the agency to offer a fifth northbound train in the morning despite having room to house only four trains at a time in Tacoma. The fifth train starts in Seattle and picks up passengers on its way to Tacoma before heading north again.

Robson said the train gives commuters another option besides driving or taking the bus. And she said Tacoma’s growing economy was a factor in the decision to begin the service.

The number of passengers heading south is relatively small.

In January an average of 38 people boarded the southbound train each morning. By comparison, the new northbound train departing Tacoma at 5 a.m. saw an average of 509 passengers in January.

Robson said the number of reverse-commute passengers is about what the agency expected. But she thinks it will grow as the agency expands service.

Sound Transit will launch another reverse-commute train – along with a sixth northbound morning train – in September. Early next year it plans to add a seventh northbound morning commute trip.

We’re still far away from the 30 trains a day that we were originally promised, and both BNSF and ST share some of the blame for not being able to meet that promise.

Still, Sounder’s making great strides. If, in fact, we’re not going to build light rail to Tacoma, it makes sense to really invest in the Sounder system, with more dedicated rights-of-way, switches, and grade-separation. Clearly that’s a big piece of the so-called “ST2.1,” so we’re getting there.

Even More Tacoma Streetcars

I’ve been thinking more and more about the Tacoma streetcars, and the more I think about it, the more I like the idea. So Pantograph Trolleypole pointed out that Portland built six track-miles of streetcar for $56 million. In the latest ST2 proposal, Sound Transit looks like it might invest $222 million on express buses in the South Corridor. If equal proportions come from South King and from Pierce, and assuming Pierce is 60% of the population of the South Corridor (it’s a bit more) that would be $141 million for Express Bus. At that price, it’s almost 18 track-miles of streetcar, enough for a 6th Ave extension, a Portland Ave extension, and a lot more. That doesn’t event include the Tacoma General Hospital extension already planned. Here’s another analysis comparing a potential Tacoma streetcar system’s cost to ones being built in New Orleans and Washington D.C. The cost in that piece are less than the Portland system.

Consider the economic importance of keeping employers like Russell Investments in Tacoma, and the opportunities to add new employers in Downtown Tacoma, and I think the investment might payoff more in the long run than express bus service.

I don’t know whether the modern streetcar proposal would get Federal funding, and it may take more funding sources than just cutting express bus, but I’m coming around to the idea that there are ways to make a larger streetcar investment work out for ST2 for Tacoma.

Ferries Round-Up

Washington State Ferries has begun running ads, and has made almost $165,000 in three months with four advertisers. They are slowly ramping up the ads across the state, now with just a few ads at Colman Dock and Bainbridge terminal. I’ve always thought ads on transit was a quick and easy way to make up. Down in San Francisco, BART, which is relatively light on the ads compared to trains in Europe or Japan, makes 14% of its operating revenue from advertising.

New Plans for the Mukilteo ferry terminal are smaller, and don’t have the parking garage the original did. The original plan was for a $148 million terminal with over-the-water holding lanes, and a commuter garage. There will still be some Sound Transit parking, and the connector for Sounder. But more of the land near the beach will be used for the holding lanes, so there will be less development near the Terminal.

Washington State Ferry Chief is holding public meetings over the next month to introduce the new Assistant Secretary of WSDOT, David Moseley. The new ferry chief is holding a meet-and-greet.

Meetings will be 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. with the exception of San Juan Islands at Friday Harbor, which will be 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. due to the sailing schedule.

  • Monday, March 24 – Bainbridge Commons, 402 Brien Drive, Bainbridge Island
  • Tuesday, March 25 – Kingston Yacht Club, 25915 Washington Blvd. NE, Kingston
  • Wednesday, March 26 – South Colby Elementary, 3281 Banner Rd. SE, Southworth
  • Thursday, March 27 – Camp Casey, Auditorium B, 1276 Engle Rd., Coupeville
  • Monday, March 31 – Norm Dicks Gov. Center Meeting Room, 345 6th St., Suite 100, Bremerton
  • Tuesday, April 1 – City Hall Council Chambers, 904 6th St., Anacortes
  • Wednesday, April 2 – Mullis Senior Center, 589 Nash St., Friday Harbor
  • Thursday, April 3 – McMurray Middle School Multi-Purpose Room, 9329 SW Cemetery Rd., Vashon Island

Bent Plates

This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.

New photographs suggest that the support plates on Minneapolis’ I-35W bridge may have been bending as early as 2003, but the regular inspections missed it. Something to think about after last weekend’s routine viaduct maintenance…

Transit Information Technology Survey

The transit-obsessed at the UW are considering some projects that would improve or add to innovations like the mybus website.

Besides the fact that UW is a pretty good school, it’s not surprising that a Seattle institution would be a leader in creating all these tools. After all, they’re necessary for most people to decipher byzantine bus routing and scheduling. In other cities, people just take the train with its comprehensible route map and short wait times.

Feel free to leave your preferences in the comments, where the students can read them:

A group of students from UW are about to start on some cool transit information technology projects. We have a bunch of ideas on what to do and would like feedback from people on what they would use most or which of our ideas would be the most useful to the general public. So far we have created a sample of one of these ideas, but we would like feedback before we move forward with other projects.

Our ideas include:

1. One Bus Away

In this application, people will be able to enter an address or click on a google map and be able to see where their nearby bus routes go and what destinations are served along the route. We have created a basic version of this website for destinations in Seattle. Here is a link to that website.

2. Commute Calculator

People will be able to enter an address and then our program would tell them the average travel times via car or bus to major employment centers. Users could also just enter their current work address as well. This application could also show the cost to use transit compared to the cost of using a car.

3. Redo BusMonster

In this application we would beef up bus-monster with more graphics and more tools for people to use. We aren’t sure about what features we will add yet, but they will be cool.

4. Advertising with real-time info

Here we would try to start an advertising business with mybus arrival times and ads displayed in prominent storefront windows. We would rent unused space by windows in businesses next to a bus stop. Then we would charge other companies to be able to advertise on our computer screens which would switch between real-time bus arrival times for perhaps 30 seconds and then business ads for 30 seconds.

Thanks in advance for giving us feedback.

Congestion Pricing

This Op-ed does a great job explaining the history of the brand of congestion pricing that is coming out of Washington. It’s interesting to note that environmental groups that think congestion pricing is the solution to traffic problems are on the same side of the fight with neocons who think that no public money should be spent on transportation. It’s also scary to think that the money for congestion pricing studies are coming straight out of federal bus service money.
It’s a good read.

More Tacoma Streetcars

Update Below
Andrew Austin at the Bus Stops Here argues that the Tacoma Streetcar proposal is regional partially in response to my post about the subject. His argument is basically that the streetcars are cheaper than light rail, and the streetcars are pro-Pierce County and pro-Tacoma rather compared to Sounder or Express buses which favor Seattle as an employment center.

Andrew is off on the streetcars being cheaper than Tacoma Link, he claims that “using the same amount of money [as extending the streetcar to Tacoma General], extending the LINK with streetcar at-grade technology, and taking it to Stadium, 6th Ave., and Portland Ave., would be a better deal.” That’s impossible. Tacoma Link is the exact same type of streetcar the, made by the exact same company, as the Seattle streetcar is. Tacoma Link is not the same technology as Central Link which has much larger and faster cars. So it wouldn’t be cheaper, it’d be exactly the same cost, since it’d be exactly the same thing.

Secondly, the argument that building more streetcars would be good for Tacoma and could help Pierce County from “hav[ing] e to ship 30% of our brain power and workers to Seattle forever” goes completely against the notion that it is regional. I could argue that Seattle shouldn’t rebuild the 520 to ship workers to Redmond (though traffic there is about 50/50 each way), and the argument is clearly against regionalism.

I think the Tacoma Streetcar system is an awesome idea, and if Pierce County voters, about a third of whom live in Tacoma, feel that is the best use of their Sound Transit dollars they should get it. But it’s important to keep the details straight.

Hat Tip to Erik from Tacoma Urbanist.
An anonymous commentor asked why I hate the Tacoma streetcars. I don’t, I’m 100% for them. I just am not sure if the rest of Pierce County would want to see their ST2 money spent on those streetcars. If Pierce County does, then they should absolutely be a part of the proposal. I like Streetcars a whole lot more than express buses.

Friends of Seattle Forum

Update, see below.

Last night, I went to the Friends of Seattle Forum at what was the old Sit’N Spin and is now the Spitfire bar. There was a panel with Jan Drago, Seattle City Council member, Mike O’Brien from the Sierra Club Cascade Chapter, Rob Johnson from Transportation Choices, and Greg Walker from Sound Transit. It was moderated by CR Douglas, who writes for Crosscut. I didn’t learn a tremendous amount, but I did notice the following:

  • It’s still not obvious that ST will be back on the ballot this year. I asked Dow Constantine and he said that he wanted it to be, which is the same thing the mayor told me at his barbecue, but others on the board, including Snohomish Executive Aaron Reardon (he wasn’t there, I didn’t talk to him personally) were on the fence about it. Ron Sims is flat-out against it, apparently.
  • Mike O’Brien was non-commital about whether the Sierra Club would support ST2. He said they would support it if it were greenhouse-gas friendly. What was bizarre about the whole thing, was that when people asked him what that meant, he couldn’t come up with an answer rather instead said that Sound Transit would need to convince him. Every thing he said was vague, and it was clear that he did not have a good grasp of facts, figures or statistics. He said he lives in a single-family home and drives to work, but everyone else should take the bus. It was odd.
  • Jan Drago is very sharp, and had some interesting facts about the Bus Tunnel.
  • Greg Walker did have a good grasp of the facts, and did a great job explaining the Sound Transit position.
  • Rob and Mike both were enamored with congestion pricing, which I am sure will be a complete political disaster for whoever tries to implement it.
  • Will from Horse’s Ass is hilarious.

It was a great forum, and the Friends of Seattle did an awesome job. And it was cool to meet Carless in Seattle, see Frank again, and chat with others interested in transit in our area. FoS is looking for bloggers, so if any of you are interested, you should go over there and send a mail to them about it.

Update Will brought back to mind Jan Drago’s mention of the Discovery Institute’s plan for the transit downtown tunnel, which would start at the stadium area and go to north of downtown. I lost my business laughing, and I was laughing so hard I was shushed. What a complete waste of time, even talking about it. The Discovery Institute itself says it would cost more than $10 billion… as much as all the light rail in prop 1!