For a group that comes out against any transit measure, anytime, anywhere – the ETA sure gets a pass from the P-I. In yesterday’s debate, Dick Paylor of the ETA was on the ‘stop anything’ side, and apparently the P-I has taken at face value the group’s claim that they’re in support of buses!

So, exactly which buses? They sure weren’t in support of Transit Now – even though RapidRide is exactly the kind of service they claim to want. They still claim that Proposition 1 is some absurdly high percentage light rail – I keep hearing 99%, or 95%, depending on which opponent is talking. So where does this come from?

Opponents, however, said the system would make little difference despite its large capacity. Dick Paylor of the pro-bus Eastside Transportation Association said more people could be carried at less cost on an expanded bus system than on light rail. (emphasis mine)

I suspect, in fact, that the ETA has never been in favor of any transit service, except strictly in theory. Once there’s a cost, that’s another story.

I think what’s interesting here is that they talk about the free market – that people should ‘be able to choose’ their mode of transportation. That’s fine – before the federal government started contributing to highways, we were traveling on rail. If they still want that now, maybe they should come out against projects like the 405 expansion – as it’s not paid for by toll revenue, it’s paid for by everyone in the state. Not just those who ‘choose’ to drive on it.

12 Replies to “The ‘Pro-Bus’ ETA is Anything But.”

  1. If you hold suspicions that ETA has never been in favor of any transit service, why don’t you outline and present some evidence? Or even try to attend their meetings?

    1. Pol Pot is technically correct in the way all Kemper Freeman’s goons are correct: ETA Is pro-bus. As in, they would support the public subsidies necessary to purchase and subsidize the operation of a single bus. Said bus will serve Bellevue Square, and the poor & infirm sap shoppers unfortunate enough to lack the means to own or drive a car. (Kemper’s stereotypical transit-dependent transit rider).

      Eastside Transportation Association and its various shell group offshoots are wholly owned subsidies of Kemper Freeman. Who famously made that anti-transit propaganda video equating public transportation to communism (massive congested freeways, sprawl, and one person per car all require no public subsidies, and are this key cornerstones of free market capitalism…according to these dinosaurs)

      Yeah, you can tell Pol Pot has got an easy case to make.

      ETA and CETA will never lift a finger to push for more transit service – but they will pretend to be supportive of monorail and faux- BRT as a smokescreen to divert support away from viable & reliable rapid transit solutions.

      Here’s the real kicker: they don’t talk about it much any more, but the core group of old white guys against rail at ETA have been supportive of one single mode of non-car transportation: Personal Rapid Transit. Not mass transit. Mini transit. If you get a chance, ask Richard Harkness, Jim Horn, Emory Bundy, Bruce Nurse or Kemper himself if they will dust off their old PRT plans for Bellevue. It’s no coincidence several of these washed-up Boeing engineers have been quietly advocating for PRT for the past three decades: Boeing built Nixon’s “futuristic” PRT system at UWV in Morgantown. The system went way over-budget, is widely identified as a failure, and was never expanded. Meanwhile, light rail has been built and expanded all over the country. It’s not difficult to see how the personal & professional failures of yesteryear translate into endless anti-rail “pro-bus” grudges of today.

  2. I actually have been to a couple of their morning meetings, as they’re down the street from work.

    How, exactly, does one show evidence of a lack of something? The burden here is on the ETA to show evidence that they support any transit project.

  3. From ETA website…

    “Finally we want to avoid using costly transportation projects in order to try to change or influence human behavior. Rather we support the development of a transportation system to support increased efficiency, productivity and quality of life by allowing us choices to go where we want to go, how we want to go, when we want to go and with whom we want to go.”

    I assume some won’t read between the lines because its easier to act ignorant than to swallow the truth sometimes. Its basically says “We dont support publically funded transportation projects that ‘control’ peoples lives,” ie bus and rail schedules.

      1. My favorite is the Personal Rapid Transit rant. Go anywhere you want whenever you want!

        I got news for those folks, we’ve had PRT since the 20s, its called a CAR.

    1. Just to be fair, Kemper’s Eastside Transportation Association has been supportive of some ballot measures.

      ETA members have were supportive of Eyman’s I-745, which would have wiped out the majority of Puget Sound bus service, and diverted that money into roads.

      ETA members organized to place Kemper Freeman’s stillborn statewide initiative, which would have achieved the same goal as I-745.

      ETA members supported I-776, which would have removed MVET revenues from both rail and regional bus service. As in, BRT on a large scale.

      ETA members also actively campaigned against Transit Now. (while disinformation specialists like Richard Harkness wrote extensive reports for anti-rail websites and pro-BRT columns for the Times, he was encouraging others to vote no on Rapid Ride). For christsakes, didn’t Larry Lange happen to notice the most visible and active ETA member out there – Will Knedlik – proudly represented the Con committee when Rapid Ride came up for a vote?

      Pol Pot will have more success selling space heaters to people living in the middle of the Sahara Desert. His argument above is nothing but laughable.

  4. I think what Ben is getting at is that the bus “plans” that ETA comes with are just distractions from the real regional solutions we need to have.

  5. Eastside Transportation Association takes pride in its advocacy for pushing a $21 billion (probably more like $40 billion in YOE) I-405 expansion, and for eliminating light rail from the transit alternative choices along that corridor.

    Their choice, of course, was BRT. When the EIS was completed, it identified 2,000 new transit riders per day on this nifty new Bus-painted-like-a-train scheme. ETA members were quoted scratching their heads. “How could this be,” they asked.

    Hm. Double the freeway size for SOV drivers, add next to nothing in terms of dedicated ramps or rights of way for buses, and they were surprised nobody took the bus.

    Which, btw, is considered a success by ETA standards.

    1. Sorry. My bad. I just went back into my notes: make that 1,000 new riders on I-405 BRT, by 2014. At the meager cost of 100’s of millions of dollars.

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