In 1922, GM President Alfred P. Sloan established a unit to investigate replacing streetcars nationwide with GM-manufactured buses, cars and trucks – GM was losing tens of millions at the time and felt this was the only way to expand their market. The same year, Electro-Motive Engineering Company was founded, which later became GM’s division for the manufacture of locomotives – including those used on Sounder today.
Some news items from the last few days:
- Construction on Second Ave. in Downtown Seattle is rearranging many bus stops there.
- There’s a serious effort to turn all but one lane of Bell St. into a linear park.
- LA broke ground on their BRT Orange Line extension.
- There’s a meeting in Tacoma tonight about extending Sounder to Lakewood, specifically on some crossings in the Dome district. Opponents demand a more expensive bridge option that preserves parking. (H/T: Douglas)
- Photographer Joseph Songco, who is chronicling the “path of destruction” of light rail construction, is part of the free Artopia exhibition, Saturday, in Georgetown. Via Damon Agnos at Seattle Weekly. Preview Songco’s work here.
- Mayor Nickels has proposed that, effective January 1st, the $25-per-employee head tax be repealed. It generates about $4.7m per year for roads and sidewalks, including transit-friendly road improvements, although it had not been allocated to any particular project.
Although driving jobs out of Seattle to less transit-friendly places is always a problem, there are two things to really like about this tax. First, it is waived for any employee that doesn’t drive alone to work, discouraging the commute mode that generates the most external costs. Secondly,while it may be true that higher-than-expected parking tax revenues offset the revenue loss, there’s a huge sidewalk backlog in North Seattle that could use that money. Seattle is the level of government where generic transportation funds are most likely to be spent progressively, and it’s a shame to take money out of this fund.