lrt cartoon
Cartoon from Yesterday’s Issaquah Reporter

Doug MacDonald has written a series of anti-light rail pieces at Crosscut. You can read the comments where a lot of his arguments are taken apart, so I won’t bother going over it here. But I do want to show this. It’s the text of Resolution 667 from the Washington State Transportation Commission’s Website. The resolution was in 2004. This text in particular is interesting:

WHEREAS, all parties to the 1976 I-90 Memorandum of Agreement have approved an amendment to include Sound Transit as a party to the agreement and to reflect current understandings regarding the future configuration of I-90 that reaffirm the commitment to conversion of the center roadway for use by high capacity transit, specifically:
• High capacity transit operating in the center roadway is the ultimate preferred configuration for I-90;
• Construction of high capacity transit operating in the center roadway should occur as soon as possible; and
• Implementation of high capacity transit should proceed as quickly as possible, depending on the outcome of required studies and on the securing of necessary funding. 

Now check out the signature page:
Ex-Officio Member
Secretary of Transportation

Now MacDonald is hanging out with anti-light rail pro-brt billionaire John Stanton. Just sayin’.

13 Replies to “MacDonald”

    1. Even if BRT qualifies as HCT, that’s not what MacDonald is advocating for. He’s advocating for HOT lanes in I-90.

      1. Could you explain how that’s not BRT? A bus running a HOT lane could be BRT.

      2. Sure, it would be. And it would, if built to East Link specs, not be anything like cost competitive for one simple reason. It would fail to interline with Central Link. Every user coming from anywhere but ID station would have to have a transfer to use East Link BRT.

    2. No, but that’s how it’s promoted. It fails so many metrics, including capacity-per-unit and passengers-per-hour.

    3. BRT is not considered HCT if it’s just more buses stuck in traffic. MacDonald considered a real BRT vs. LRT when he was a member of the Sound Transit board, and opted for LRT.

      What he, Ted Van Dyk, Kemper Freeman, the Discovery Institute, the Washington Policy Center, John Carlson…and all the rest of these transit opponents want to compare to light rail was fake BRT. That is, they compare the cost of fake, BRT-on-the-cheap to light rail, but they use real grade-separated BRT to come up with the benefits. That is the beauty of always sticking with concepts, and never rolling out a real plan.

      Well, Sims and MacDonald have a totally unviable pie-in-the-sky congestion pricing plan hidden behind the magic curtain.

      To give you an idea how devious and dishonest the political machine is behind this approach is, Dori Monson has been sucking up to both rail renegades on his show in recent months; and, despite the fact Dori hates system-wide variable tolling more than baby-killing drunk drivers, Monson conveniently ignores the foundation of the Sims/MacDonald/Discovery Institute social engineering plan.

      Same could be said for the Kemper Freeman-funded Eastside Transportation Association , which plans another round of anti-rail campaign ads, starting next week. They have their own fake BRT plan which has been gathering dust for years, which could only work if you cleared the road with Doug & Ron’s Intelligently Designed congestions pricing plan. But, since Kemper Freeman and his Rovian henchmen don’t distinguish between “Free”ways and Freedom, they strongly oppose hyper-tolling…again, the only chance BRT has for competing with light rail for speed, reliability, ridership and farebox recovery ratios.

      Doug MacDonald has shown us how easy it is to get locked in an endless loop of light rail “alternatives” which always peter-out once the rubber hits the road. MacDonald’s friends at Discovery Institute have a new LRT alternative ready to go each 5 years or so. They gave us monorail, freeway monorail, free buses, passenger ferries, private roads – and now their HOT/Congestion Pricing snake oil is finally maturing for roll-out. But, aside from monorail, nothing Cascadia-branded really ever gets rolled out, because Discovery’s ideas are so poorly conceived, the belly flop happens before the perpetual concept even hits the water.

      Not to worry. Discovery has the Seattle Times editorial and news pages to trumpet their next big idea (and ignore the failure of the last one).

      And you thought the Reagan Era had come to an end!

      1. I still think we need to put up flyers in the region telling people the truth about BRT.

        The buzz would translate well into the internet, especially if you put them up in downtown Bellevue or on Cap Hill

  1. I think that cartoon is adorable and I am pretty sure that’s the reason the Sound Transit haters are out in force these days. They know that this is their last chance to stop expansion.

  2. Where’s gas only $4.00?! It’s at $4.47 where I go. (of course, it still costs less than $5 to fill up my scooter’s tank…)

  3. I sometimes get frustrated reading these articles (MacDonald’s), and even some of the bloggers comments, because it seems like most focus only on the short-term costs that are involved. Or they focus on the fact that it will take too long to construct and development when we need solutions now. What is our region going to do in 75 years from now, when the population has grown easily by 1-2 million more people than today and we keep putting off extending/developing rail infrastructure and maintain this idea that buses are the “preferred” alternative. I agree that buses should be part of a larger regional system that includes rail, but I can’t really see why folks keep trying to shoot developing a regional rail system down.

    It seems to me that a rail system is really a long-term investment, and the price tag may seem higher to construct but over 50-75 years, those costs are minimal compared to adding and maintaining a larger bus fleet. If we don’t start building these systems now, on corridors where people travel each day (north-south, east-west), then when will we build them?

    1. The old guys who write crap like that won’t even be here 20 years from now, so why would they want to think about 50 years?

      1. Consideration for their successors? Requires one to be too selfless?

        Maybe someone needs to bring up that we’d have an awesome rail system in place as an alternative to buses and freeways if we had built the system as planned back in the 60s. Maybe a comment I read on another post is correct, prices need to be conveyed not in terms of gazillions of dollars, but in terms of price per household and compared to other projects (light rail expansion will cost $10 [that is one WAG if I ever saw one] while I-405 expansion costs $20 per household per year [WAG]). Maybe Schroeder is correct, those costs should be further apportioned down over the lifetime of the system.

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