Dow Constantine

We reported a few weeks ago that King County was forming a transit task force to look at Metro’s policies, in particular the weights to which it assigns various objectives such as ridership, reduction in vehicle miles traveled, congestion relief, serving transit-dependent populations, and so on.  County Executive Constantine just released his appointments for the task force’s 28 members:

The geographically balanced 28-member task force includes a mix of elected officials and representatives of business, labor, education, and human service agencies, along with riders…

The task force is being asked to develop policy options for discussion by July and to adopt final policy recommendations by September 2010.

Aside from six municipal politicians, the most recognizable names are probably Rob Johnson of the Transportation Choices Coalition, Chuck Ayers of the Cascade Bicycle Club, and the P-I’s “Bus Chick”, Carla Saulter.

People interested in repealing 40/40/20 will be interested to know that there are 18 slots identified by subarea, with 6 appointees from each.  However, Constantine claims that “I deliberately sought a group of people who are willing to put aside political divisions and think creatively about how to plan a transit system that will serve us well in the future,” which I believe is code for being willing to replace the infamous formula with something based on other metrics.

The proposed appointments will go through a Council committee (Environment & Transportation) tomorrow and should go before the full Council next Monday, March 1st.

15 Replies to “Regional Transit Task Force Members Appointed”

  1. This committee needs to pass laws to deal with violent acts on bus, lightrail or near public transport. I’m tired of my commute being disrupted to violence in bus tunnels, near light rail or metro buses!!!

  2. The committee does not pass laws, it is advisory – though politicians are happy to pass the buck on such things. The measure of success of such a body is a report that is cognizant and respectful of all opinions and prepares a short list of fiscally responsible alternatives that address all aspects in a manner suitable for further discussion. A ‘consensus’ report is, a priori, a failure.

    FWIW. too bad Dow didn’t choose Mr. Duke!

    P.S.; there are a few commissions with actual authority. Seattle planning commission has some, and I think this is common. Likewise with civil service boards?

  3. I agree that 40/40/20 has got to go. It should be 20/20/60. 20% to Seattle, 20% to other cities in King County and 60% to the unincorperated areas.

    1. Thanks for bringing another perspective to this debate. I don’t think most of the Seattle folks on this blog realize how much more of the **existing** pie they already receive.

      A crucial point here is the continuation of smart High Capacity Corridor planning. Light rail **should** free up bus dollars for outlying areas, including feeder routes to light rail and joint operation corridors like the Downtown Seattle Tunnel.

      1. During the recent service realignment, service reallocation was done within subarea silos: duplicative Seattle service was eliminated and replaced with other Seattle service, and the same thing happened in South King County.

      2. Seattle gets much of the Metro pie because that is where the transit demand, taxes, and farebox revenue come from. Furthermore the subsidy from the other parts of the county isn’t huge when farebox recovery is added in. The South sub-area is the one that receives service well out of proportion to the amount of taxes and fares collected.

    2. Why on earth should sparsely populated unincorporated King County receive 60% of the service when Seattle and the other cities are where most of the taxes and farebox revenue come from?

      Sounds like a good way to have lots of empty buses running around for people to point to and say “what a waste of taxpayer money”.

      1. Because County govermnent’s is supposed to look out for unincorperated areas first. They are supposed to act as city goverment for theses areas.

      2. That is nonsensical. Yes the county is the “city government” for unincorporated areas but it also provides countywide services that are supposed to serve the entire county. Examples include the County Prosecutor’s office, the courts, the jails, the sewer system, and transit.

        Everyone is paying taxes and fees to support these services and should receive them. It would be massively unfair to provide services only to unincorporated areas while collecting taxes and fees from the entire county.

      3. You just summed up the whols problem with our entire tax system from local to federal.

      4. You just summed up the whole problem with our entire tax system from local to federal, (I am a horrible at typing.)

  4. Wondering how effective this group can possibly be when the same people sit on at least 6 other such community advisory groups? Most of these folks are so incredibly busy that they can’t make regular meeting attendance, let alone actually study materials.

    Surely, had the Exec asked for applicants, he could have attacted a stellar crowd of folks who aren’t the usual suspects. There is more than one person involved in Urban League-type issues; more than one person in Big Labor; more than one person representing Downtown Business; more than one person representing transit advocacy. Even the so-called “riders” are the usual suspects, people long in Dow’s campaign camp. It would seem that only “Bus Chick” is unique here.

    If the point is to truly advise, then let’s try some new faces, or some old faces we haven’t seen for awhile.

  5. I would have liked to see a board balanced by population including more transportation engineering experts. But that is probably unrealistic.

    However what I think is realistic is I would like to see scenario based planning, like what PSRC does. I think it would be a very good thought exercise to use theoretical transportation models based on different objectives to show the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches.

  6. Chris Stefan asks: “Why on earth should sparsely populated unincorporated King County receive 60% of the service when Seattle and the other cities are where most of the taxes and farebox revenue come from?”

    This is a misstatement of the current financial policy in two major ways. first, the 40-40-20 rule applies only to NEW service hours. The west subarea (e.g., Seattle, Shoreline, and Lake Forest Park) have 62 percent of current service hours. that the farebox recovery is higher in the west only slightly makes up for the disparity; the suburbs are subsidizing Seattle service. second, most people, and a much higher portion of riders, in the east and south subareas are in incorporated areas (e.g., Kenmore, Bothell, Woodinville, Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, Mercer Island, Duvall, Issaquah, Sammamish, Snoqualmie, Renton, Tukwila, Burien, Des Moines, Normandy Park, Federal Way, Auburn, Kent, Enumcalw, etc.). Some parts of the suburbs are densifying and are creating pedestrian centers, especially those with street grids developed before WWII. Good service investments can be made in all three subreas. the main problem is a lack of new service subsidy and the decline in sales tax revenue due to the great recession. if the Council wanted to redesign service, they could do so.

    1. I think he’s responding to “RennDawg”‘s suggestion of putting 60% of new service in unincorporated King County, not commenting on current policy.

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