UPDATE: John Niles, in a later comment days later, points out that he never uses the word “liable,” and is instead using “chargeable” as a way of saying Sound Transit could have prevented it. There’s a strong tone implying negligence in the piece, however, so readers can be the judge.
John Niles and the Coalition for Effective Transportation Alternatives think Sound Transit should be liable for all car vs. train collisions, regardless of whether the driver is at fault, because they didn’t grade separate the entire line. I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to apply that sort of standard to any other transportation project of any kind, anywhere, and see where it gets you.
I get that Niles and CETA don’t think that light rail is worth the investment; that’s a value judgment that I don’t agree with, but whatever. But this kind of spiteful maneuver — arguing that the buildout wasn’t expensive enough, and trying to make it even more expensive by adding liability — is utterly contrary to their entire history of complaints about the project, and makes a mockery of any claim that they’re just trying to make transit work as effectively as possible.
I look forward to Niles and CETA pushing for various local tax initiatives to make sure that all other lines in the region are grade separated, and vigorously fighting NIMBYs opposed to elevated segments in neighborhood meetings.