More Mass Transit Promotion
Photo by Oranviri

Carless points out that Tim Eyman’s claim of 295,000 signatures for I-985. I-985 is Eyman’s transportation intiative which will do the following:

  • Open carpool lanes to non-carpools (single occupants) during what Eyman has decided is non-rush hour, betwee 6 and 9 am, and between 3 and 6 pm. My experience is that our rush hour is much longer than that in reality.
  • Ensures that the I-90 bridge can’t be tolled during the time that SR-520 is tolled.
  • Forces all HOT lane revenue (tolls for solo drivers driving in the carpool lane) to be spent on maintaining and building HOT lanes
  • Removes the 1% for art rule for transportation projects.
  • Takes the money raised via red-light-cameras and spends it on road building

Most of this stuff is somewhere between absolutely terrible and useless, but so is Eyman so what can we expect?

I want to point out that the kind of BRT that Doug MacDonald et al want relies on dedicated lanes for buses. Their hearts are in the right place, but that won’t happen as long as there are Tim Eymans in the world, removing lanes from transit and HOVs and giving them to single occupant vehicles. We might not even have dedicated HOV lanes at 9:01 am, much less bus-only-lanes. The new bus-only lane on Elliott has not been very popular so far, though I bet over time people will get used to it.

So one more argument for rail over BRT. Build a rail line in a dedicated right of way, it’ll stay there: we won’t be able to run buses or cars through the Capitol Hill Tunnel. Bus lanes can be taken away at any time and have cars put on them. And the moment people learn that their car lane is being converted to bus-only, they’ll get mad. And if they’re Tim Eyman, they’ll try to get “even”.

17 Replies to “I-985 and BRT”

  1. This is so pointless and scary!

    “Ensures that the I-90 bridge can’t be tolled during the time that SR-520 is tolled.”

    What kind of bullshit is this? I can’t believe the nerve of this guy.

    1. The guy clearly wants subsidized driving for the rich. Toll only one bridge, and you get a fat HOT lane – half the commute time for those with money, three times the commute time for those without. It’s a huge subsidy because each of those sitting on the slow bridge in traffic payed much more than the price of the toll when their taxes went to build the bridges.

    2. Wow, both 405 south and 520 west are parking lots all afternoon long, and Eyman would encourage more people to drive down to I-90? Anyone who lives in Bellevue knows that this is a ridiculous idea, and it should be easy to encourage them to vote against it.

    3. I think he is just tired of the city the county and the state pissing away money. Like the monorail,( the road from i5 to thecenter is so rough you need a suv to drive on it it about killed my civic) the trolley,the study this the study that. It is a shame that we have to do everything by the I if we had some real leadership to take charge and fix the issues and stop waisting the money

  2. “…one more argument for rail over BRT. Build a rail line in a dedicated right of way, it’ll stay there…” – And that is the point.

    Look at all the private investment going into the SE. I believe investors see security in light rail. I think they see security in a fixed, no chance of meddling, non-auto, non-sharing solution to transportation.

    That being said, I think you should commit to that plan you expressed in your last post – avoid all personal attacks. Your strength is in your ideas on transit.

    1. Yes, but I thought that was a funny one so I kept it. Sorry if it was offensive.

  3. I say let’s toll the road that leads to Mukilteo (where Eyman lives) ;)

    Is all the revenue from HOT lanes really necessary for maintaining and building HOT lanes? I imagine that HOT lanes are cheap to build and maintain, and with all the potential revenue that could be generated, couldn’t that sort of money be put to better use than “building and maintaining” HOT lanes?

    Also, instead of HOT lanes, why not toll highways or congestion pricing? All-toll roadways are the best way, I believe, to “force” drivers into the habit of using mass transit, and by mass transit I mean light rail. In fact, I recently saw on the news today that many are considering switching freight transport from truck to train. I think that should say enough.

    And why would he want to remove art in transportation? I mean, doesn’t “art” look nice? If you look at other regions in the US, their transportation systems have some serious artistic touches, such as Dallas’s High-Five Interchange to our new light rail stations.

    And red-light cameras? I hate those things!

    Sorry if i’m saying a lot, but Tim Eyman has really driven me nuts. How come nothing bad happens to him?!

    1. On HOT lane revenue: Anyone who claims HOT lanes are going to bring in revenues either knows something I don’t or is flat lying. I’m not sure how many people are using the SR 167 lanes now, but on the first morning (the only sample I can get my hands on) they had 339 solo drivers being charged an average of $1.04. If you assume we got the same number of solo drivers in the afternoon, that’s about $700/day, or about $175,000/year assuming a year is 250 work days.

      From what I can find surfing the web, highway maintenance costs are a subject of academic research, but assume that routine maintenance costs $5000 per lane-mile per year (which appears to be about what governments allocate for it). The SR 167 HOT lane is 12 miles long, so that’s $60,000/year. I presume that covers the cost of picking up trash, etc. I don’t know if it covers the cost of repaving periodically, but to be generous, let’s assume it does.

      So anyway, after maintenance, we’ve got about $115,000/year to spend paying back the cost of constructing the HOT lane. An surface-level urban highway costs about $10-20 million per lane-mile to construct, so assume the SR 167 HOT lanes cost $120 million. At $115,000/year, it’ll take 114 years to pay off the HOT lanes, assuming there’s no interest on the base cost, which, of course, there is.

      Maybe the revenues will go up a little and we’ll be able to pay back the construction costs in 90 years. But I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting to allocate the HOT bonanza, whatever Tim Eyman says.

  4. I’m not even sure this will be constitutional. HOV lanes, red light cameras, and tolls on I-90 are not one single idea. What happened to the high-level policy initiatives? An initiative should not be this far down in the weeds.

  5. An initiative written like this should not be a substitute for good engineering judgment. Just because it seems like common sense doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Congestion is not as intuitive as people think.

    Months ago, a signature collector was gathering signatures for a couple initiatives. I signed the others except I-985. The guy was completely clueless about what he was getting people to sign on. Of course, if you’re paid, you might as well say whatever they want you to say.

  6. Want to know how stupid Dino Rossi and Dori Monson are?

    They have both endorsed Eyman’s STOP HOV! efforts.

    And they have both endorsed BRT over light rail.

    At least Dori (hero to non-thinking dittoheads everywhere) and Tim Eyman both have excuses. Dori is all about entertaining via outrage. And Eyman is all ’bout the paycheck.

    Dino may be trying to appeal to bubba, sure. But Dino knows HOV lanes are…well…kinda needed to make buses run a tad bit faster.

    1. Has someone from this board tipped off the Gregoire campaign to Rossi’s incoherence? I’m not sure it’s obvious to overworked campaigners that supporting BRT and supporting Eyman’s initiative are contradictory.

  7. Tim Eyman is absolutely clueless. He thinks that he’s saving so much money when he’s actually single-handedly helping to drive Washington into a major cash crisis.

    But he’s helping taxpayers! Oh glee.

Comments are closed.