It will surprise no one, but STB endorses YES votes on the two transit funding measures on the ballot:

  • Pierce Transit Proposition 1: YES. Pierce Transit is fortunate to have additional authorized taxing authority under existing state law. Prop 1 would increase the sales tax rate from 0.6% to 0.9%, the maximum allowed, in order to bring revenues more or less in line with pre-recession levels. Pierce Transit has had a pretty good crisis, streamlining operations, but now it’s time to pass a measure and avoid deep service cuts. For more see the campaign website.
  • Jefferson Transit Authority Proposition 1: YES. A similar increase in the tax rate in Jefferson County will avoid a 22% cut in service hours and deferred increases in service. More information here.

5 Replies to “Vote for Transit Feb. 8th”

  1. It would make a lot of sense for the government to just open the market to other alternatives and at the same time open their eyes to what has been done in other cities around the world were public/private partnerships are working.

  2. I’ll have to dig up the links later, but you might try Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki, much of New Jersey, Denver contracts out about 50% from what I read and Curitiba, Brazil as well as numerous other cities.

  3. I’d like to hear from Adam Parast on why Stockholm went with Veolia. With Sweden’s political reputation, I was surprised to find the system privatized. I given a wonderful tour to the subway and the light rail system- they detailed a young instructor and supervisor who gave me a long cab-ride aboard the 12 and the 22 “Tverbanna”, about the caliber of ST’s trains.

    My guide’s opinion was that things were about the same between public ownership and Veolia- but pointed out that historically these decisions are often made because prevailing opinion wants a change, and will change back for same reason.

    Another interesting experience, twenty years ago, was visiting Dan Cooperative for Public Transit, the city busline for Tel Aviv. I’ve always thought a worker-owned cooperative might be a great experiment for Seattle- or at least that it would make the average drivers’ bull-pen conversation more constructive.

    At least it would take care of my main problem with taking public work private: I can accept paying drivers, supervisors, and mechanics for service. What do I gain by paying going rate to shareholders and corporate CEO’s as well?

    Mark Dublin

    1. Many far more egalitarian countries have (partly-)outsourced many government functions where it made sense. Retirement accounts, busses, trains, ferries, utilities, postal service etc. Almost all of the UK’s train and bus operations are contracted out.

      The American economic system manages to combine some of the worst excesses of capitalism with horrifyingly inefficient and stupid government. It’s a nice place to be middle class or rich, but I’d hate to have been born poor here.

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