In remarks to the Eastside Transportation Association, a group of people who seem to exist essentially to keep Link off the eastside, the anti-transit Republican yesterday stepped up his commentary.

Paraphrasing, he said he didn’t know of a “solution” to Sound Transit – but the “only way out” is “a public vote”.

This isn’t an idle threat – he’s opposed light rail to the eastside since the beginning. Do we want a governor who wants to axe our mass transit system?

108 Replies to “McKenna Calls for Ominous “Solution” to Sound Transit”

  1. The answer is HELL NO! Indeed, I’d suggest all municipalities and public utilities and agencies start creating preventive measures (poison pills) to circumvent the Wisconsin and Michigan style measures that would likely come under a McKenna administration.

  2. There are already a number of reasons to be concerned about McKenna as Governor. It’s odd to see him adding another to the pile so early in the race…

    1. Quite so! He is very very conservative. However, Jay Inslee is way behind unfortunately, but there is time for this to change.

    2. I think it’s unreasonable to call radical reactionary head-in-the-sand anti-reality types like McKenna “conservative”. He’s not trying to “conserve” anything. He’s not trying to minimize change.

      Inslee is the *conservative* candidate; McKenna is the *burn it all down* candidate.

      This has become really common with Republicans.

  3. What is next?

    Mandatory ultrasounds for female transit riders?

    GPS stuck on our cars without warrants?

  4. Fortunately there is no way for the public to vote to disband the agency. McKenna knows that, he’s just throwing red meat to his base.

    1. I can think of at least three ways.

      First, a recall vote in the district, via legislation.
      Second, a legislatively-sourced referendum to remove the enabling laws (is that possible?).
      Third, a statewide initiative supported by a vocal governor to, again, strip the enabling laws.

      Sound Transit’s authority stems from the state. State government can destroy that.

      1. And you don’t have to use much imagination to dream up ways to kill this – there’s precedent in the real world. Just look to the Republican-led states that actively threw away their rail plans (to our benefit – thanks Florida!).

      2. The only problem is that ST has outstanding bonds which will have to be paid off before the agency could fully be disbanded (like what happend with the SPMA, and even the ST 1 MVET). Now, without giving the funds over to local agencys for use, it would be stupid to disband sound transit as much transit service would be lost. I somehow dont think Pierce Transit or Metro could take on even a fraction of the ST service hours right now, and those are some of the highest ridership routes in the region.

      3. Mr. Z – they do have bonds, but attacks like this would prevent further expansion of the system.

    2. “Roddy”, sock puppeting is against our comment policy. Pick a name and email address and stick with it, please – your comments are all being caught in the spam filter for a reason!

  5. Well of course the answer is an emphatic “NO” to the question Ben has posed – we have already voted for one thing and made our opinions known.

  6. A mainstream Republican candidate wants to dismantle public transportation? I am shocked, shocked and appalled ! </sarcasm>

  7. Who is good with CS 10? Time to start drafting anti-McKenna ads. Perhaps photo: McKenna with subtitle “With this guy, you get this…” side photo: Link crashing into Lake Washington. Or photo of I-90 congestion. Or photo: McKenna with subtitle “This guy is really this guy…” side photo: Eyman. Ready, set, go!

  8. Unfortunately the Gov. race looks like it is already over. As pointed out in another thread here, Inslee’s name hardly rings a bell in Seattle compared to McKenna.

    I think the only way to work around this is to start mitigating the effects of a GOP led anti-transit coup by pushing hard in the normal ways, letter writing, etc. before the election is over, and to continue well afterwards as a reminder that the pro-transit group is serious about keeping what gains have been made.

    1. You have six months to kick ass and take names to help Inslee. That would be a lot more effective than preparing for a loss.

      1. Hey, I’m only saying what I see in the areas I frequent! That would be Island County, Snohomish, and King.

        Smart politicians know when to concede, or better yet work around the temporary obstructions. Reality is McKenna is gonna be the Governor….I’m conservative and vote accordingly to my candidate of choice, having voted for McKenna for AG, but I won’t repeat that by giving him my vote for the biggest office in the state.

      2. It’s very powerful for you to articulate that story to others. If you see people who won’t be voting for Inslee, tell them why he’s better!

      3. The critical thing is publicity. McKenna is making it very clear that he plans to govern as a right-wing extremist, not a “conservative”.

        The more people find out about this, the less likely he is to win and wreck your state. I don’t think you folks in Washington state have a strong enough tradition of popular action and good government to do what Wisconsin is doing to get rid of Walker and his goons, so it would be at least as bad for you as Kasich was for Ohio or convicted felon Scott was for Florida.

    2. McKenna has name familiarity, but Inslee will win going away as voters discover how far right he really is.

      1. Plus, even if McCenna wins, he still has to deal with the Democrats in Olympia, so he’s going to have to find a way to compromise…but Inslee is going to win!

    3. I wouldn’t say it’s “already over”, but it is definitely McKenna’s race to lose.

      Jay has been making strong, safe stands and contrasting himself against McKenna’s silence on the same issues (and historical positions which run counter to current popular opinion), but has’t started campaigning in earnest.

      Inslee does have a good chance, if he spends his war chest right and manages to shine a public spotlight on McKenna’s unpopular views, which most voters are completely unaware of at this point. But doing that kind of voter “education” is extremely difficult and expensive. To quote David Axelrod,

      “when the campaign staff and the reporters become physically ill over the repetition of the message, only then have you begun to penetrate the public consciousness.”

  9. Excuse me… but if the “only way out” is “a public vote” then only a vote of the people is your problem.

    So tell me again why you don’t want “We the People” to have a vote? Especially when voters have time & again approved new revenue for Sound Transit.

    1. For something that exists only in King and parts of Snohomish and Pierce counties, is it right for the entire state to say no that you can not have that?

      That is the way that any vote to disable ST would be executed by an unfriendly Olympia.

      1. *Your* brilliant logic is why I voted down Tim Eyman’s initiative last year. I do NOT want King County telling Skagit County what to do… and vice versa.

        I personally would prefer if all the sudden there was a genuine uprising beyond the legit tea party folk against Sound Transit again that the Sound Transit district had a vote. Only that district… I do NOT want the county connectors to Snohomish & Island Counties I use at risk as well.

        Not panic time folks. But I would certainly make clear any attempt to repeal Sound Transit would void multiple public votes of support.

    2. Avgeek, the concern is that McKenna would probably use a statewide vote to prohibit the RTA’s existence (past paying off bonds).

      1. Right so that would mean arguably other RTAs and possibly county connectors go? That’s not going to play over well in Skagit, Whatcom, Island and Thurston Counties…

        I’m not going to vote for Inslee in any way for a long laundry list of reasons but I have to tell you I am going to voice my observations & concerns here w/ my contacts in McKenna’s campaign. I don’t know when, I’ve got a busy day but I will.

        Transit is essential to disabled people such as I being part of the economy. Essential.

      2. I don’t believe there are any other RTAs, and county connectors aren’t RTAs either. He could call for a statewide vote that would only affect Sound Transit.

      3. Avgeek, I don’t really appreciate your comment, “Transit is essential to disabled people such as I being part of the economy.” The majority of transit riders in King County are commuters from home to work and back. The disabled people make up the small fraction of total ridership. The truth is that more transit riders are low-income, senior citizens, mental health, visitors, and travellers.

        The low-income people cannot afford the expenses of owning a car. An example of Community Transit’s service cuts have impacted the low-income and Snohomish County sales tax. I find it’s irony that Snohomish, Monroe, Sultan and Gold Bar have more riders on the routes that were reduced services than ghost routes in Edmonds or Lynnwood due to higher incomes.

        Do you think the private transit companies will make profitability? You’re foolishly mistaken. Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT) in Ithaca, New York, where I grew up nearby, is one of very few private transit companies in USA. TCAT is cutting the routes due to loss of budget with City of Ithaca, Tompkins County, and Cornell University. Rising fares above the prices of gallon of gas can drop the ridership. Don’t ever think about convert all public transit agencies into private ones or they can bankrupt like pre-1970s.

        Community Transit and Pierce Trasnit both are PTBAs, which decide the service areas where the majority of voters approve. King County Metro is a municipal corporation, which the county government decides. What bothers me is that Community Transit and Pierce Transit didn’t share their performance reports to the public. King County Metro has performance reports helping the managers decide adding the services, cutting ones, or elminating the routes.

        Thank you for your time reading this.

  10. While Insley is down in Calif raising money for his WA race, or out in NY chumming it up with his Ex-Gov buddy wigh his hand out, Rob McKenna is being demonized by transit geeks for talking to citizen groups – yes, even ETC is still considered to be citizens.
    He only gave his opinion that it would take a vote of more citizens to undo ST. Oh the horror of even uttering the words of people having the authority to undo something if it doesn’t work out like we thought it would.
    Get over your hysteria folks.
    Rob is a smart, honest and decent public servant. He’s not the boogy man you want to make him out to be.

    1. I don’t think anyone on this blog has a problem with him talking to citizens’ groups. I think it’s quotes like those reported on the publicola post that are triggering a negative response. The quotes lead pretty strongly to the conclusion that he’s ideologically anti-transit and so it shouldn’t be a surprise that he’s not on the good side of writers and commenters on the Seattle Transit Blog.

    2. Maybe not your boogeyman, MIke. But mine. As are all GOPers. Every last one of them, TO ME, MIke.

    3. McKennas opinion is that Sound Transit is a problem (“…[a] significantly unaccountable regional transportation body called Sound Transit.”) and we tend to elect people based on their opinions and what they’re going to solve things they see as problems. If you bothered to read the article from Publicola, it has some pretty good direct quotes that rightfully should concern transit advocates.

      The problem is the region has already spoken more than once: yes on Sound Transit and yes LRT over I-90. We don’t need any more votes. While I agree that ETA is a citizen group, I’m not sure how they’re more representative than the 58% of Bellevue that voted for ELink in 2008. Where were all the concerned citizens in the last 40 years when we have been discussing rapid transit over I-90? Or in the last 15 when ST has been planning I90 LRT? We already voted yes and it’s time to move. No more votes.

      As for other communities outside the ST taxing district, if they’re having similar traffic and capacity problems as Seattle, or *genuinely* believe removing 2 reversible HOV lanes will effect lives, then they’re more than welcome to join us at the table to find a meaningful solution. If not, then their opinions are neither useful nor valuable as finding a solution to these problems obviously isn’t the main goal.

      1. We voted. McKenna doesn’t like the results so he wants to vote again. That’s all it comes down to. He will want to vote until people for ST get tired and stop voting for it.

      2. Grant, no.

        McKenna wouldn’t work for a vote in the Sound Transit district. He’d get a statewide vote – which Sound Transit would lose.

    4. Rob McKenna is being demonized by transit geeks for talking to citizen groups

      No, not for talking to them. For the particulars of what he is saying to them.

      There’s a huge difference there, and you’re either trolling or stupid if you don’t see it.

    5. He’s doing something called a “dog whistle”. He’s letting a constituency know that he agrees with them that Sound Transit should be dissolved. He’ll be in a position where he can help undo our work – if you support transit, that’s not a good idea.

      You’re conflating two different groups of “the people”. There are “the people” of the Sound Transit district, who support ST strongly when asked at the ballot. Then there are “the people” of the state, who are generally anti-transit and would vote against ST. McKenna knows that, and you know that.

      When you talk to citizen groups and tell them you want a “solution” to undo the will of the Sound Transit district voters, you aren’t honest or decent.

    1. It’s pretty evident that he’s clueless or just cruel. He lies about BRT, which we don’t have and pretends that that is an alternative model.

      1. Avgeek Joe from Skagit County …

        TRUE BRT … requires traffic signal preemption, dedicated travel lanes/ROW, etc … anything and everything to make it “Rapid”.

        Rapidride is more akin to express bus service … or bus+ … as it gets stuck in the same traffic, behind the same traffic lights as the cars … while it does have some of the features of real BRT … like offboard payment, next bus countdown clocks, etc … it is by no means true BRT.

      1. The part that makes rail expensive is the same part that makes real BRT expensive: the grade separation and dedicated infrastructure. Buses running in HOV lanes is not BRT.

      2. Avgeek, it is no such bridge in the first world. We don’t live in Colombia – people here have cars, and choose to use them when we give them crappy transit. BRT simply doesn’t work when people have alternatives.

      3. Actually BRT that is some degree of “real” BRT is a good half-step between local bus service and rail. Unfortunately “real” BRT is rarely implemented in the US. I can think of only a handful of examples in the US that really qualify.

        Hint: Rapid Ride isn’t it.

      4. “Real” BRT doesn’t get implemented in the US because it’s not cost effective. It doesn’t bring out voters to approve it because voters simply don’t like buses. The “cost savings” you get is overwhelmed by the lack of voter support.

      5. What sucks is that I actually DO support BRT.

        If someone were to start a campaign right now advocating Metro and the Cities start working to turn Rapid Ride into real BRT, by converting all it’s lanes to BAT, off board Fare Payment kiosks at every stop, more Stop Consolidation, more Frequency, more Signal Priority, etc. etc. I would donate time and money to the campaign and would vote for any tax increase that went to help fund it and convert more trunk lines to BRT.

        HOWEVER, as I alluded to, the only time most ‘supporters’ of BRT even talk about it is when they are trying to stop rail transit. Ask them to support BRT on it’s own merits and all you get are crickets. The only real supporters are those who also support Rail, and those people are mostly preoccupied by expanding our rail system which has good forward momentum and victories at the ballot box.

      6. BRT is a political sop to areas that won’t get LR, e.g., West Seattle and Ballard.

    1. What do you find ‘funny’ about genocide? Hitler killed more people than rode on Link last year. Think about it.

      1. The Republican Party has developed this sickening death-spiral where the party “base” is more and more extreme, so “moderate” Republicans running for office are forced to go more and more right-wing (I *will not* call it “conservative”, because it isn’t), which causes the sane people in the party to become independents, which causes the “base” to be more and more right-wing….

        This country is well and truly ready for a new set of parties. (Don’t get me started on the Democratic Party.)

    2. Oh wow, Godwin’s law in action. Though I think this thread is a record for STB.

  11. “I’m not even sure how it’s going to work, frankly. I don’t know how you can do fixed rail on a floating bridge”

    Well if a lawyer/politician can’t solve this difficult engineering problem, who else can we possibly turn to? I guess we’re just out of luck.

  12. Personally, I think ST ought to finish North Link to Northgate and pack it in. Get rid of the regional bus routes too. Then break Metro into inside Seattle and outside Seattle and turn Link over to the city transit system.

    It’s Seattle that cares about transit and needs it. Put a $20/day tax on parking downtown, charge the non-Seattle bus companies $50 per trip to use the transit lanes in downtown, and ban large vehicles from the general purpose lanes so they have to pay it. Use the proceeds from all this to pay for the operation of the Seattle system.

    Let the suburbanites work in Bellevue or Lynnwood if they don’t like the taxes and/or transit fares that would be necessary to work in downtown Seattle. There are plenty of talented people living within the city limits to replace them.

    1. Anandakos, you’re saying “let’s give up transit we’ve voted for”. Why walk away from a battle already won?

  13. Meh.

    I am not worried; both candidates are going to suck. Both candidates are politicians, ergo all mouth – no muscle. Besides it’s the governorship once elected either one will be too busy changing the drapes in the mansion; holding press conferences about the state’s reduction in farmed mink by 0.1%; and attending ribbon cutting on the bi-partisan blue-ribbon panel formed to combat wasteful blue-ribbon panels. You know the standard political crap. Oh, I almost forgot the official photo followed by an endless stream of photo-ops.

    I challenge anyone to find any politician that has gotten anything done in the last 50 years without the will of the people. McKenna may hate Sound Transit. I hate Cotton Candy. Even when (yes I said when) he is elected he doesn’t have the will of the people to shut down Sound Transit as evidenced by the ST2 vote. However, if he does get the support of the people it’s because the Seattle Transit Blog will not have done its job informing the unwashed masses. (just kidding).

    Just like last election – I am writing myself in for governor because honestly they both suck.

    1. Ken,
      The problem is McKenna will try to get a statewide vote to kill Sound Transit. “Screw Seattle” or “screw King County” votes have an unfortunate tendency to win on a statewide basis.

      1. Whoa there pardner. The Gov has little to do with the enabling legislation passed in the early 90’s. Actually, nothing to do.
        First the legislature would have to unravel ST and satisfy all the bond holders to be made whole – not an easy hurdle even for a ‘SuperGov’. Then s/he would have to sign it into law while figuring out how to avoid the chaos of eliminating all those transit trips onto other vehicles.
        Let’s not carry the deamonization of Rob too far for one therapy session.

      2. He can definitely drum up enough public support to destroy Sound Transit’s enabling law. ST could keep collecting taxes to satisfy bond repayments just as the monorail kept collecting taxes to pay off their debts – the agency could still be dismantled.

        Please stop going “there’s this technicality that makes everything impossible!” – it’s not true and now you know it.

      3. OMG Ben, you’re turning into a ‘Drama Queen’. Get a grip my friend.
        WA State has so many hurdles for any new exec (budget, education, social services, unemployment, unfunded Federal mandates, environment, transportation, crumbling infrastructure, foreign trade, and the list goes on and on, that trying to undo ST from the Gov’s mansion would be akin to the Capt. of the Titanic making the dinner menu his top priority on the maiden voyage.
        Like I said, Rob’s one of the smartest guys in the room, and not likely to start lobbing grenades over the ideology wall.

      4. McKenna like a good republican just lobbed a anti-transit missle yesterday at ST and the whole idea of Light Rail! As ideological as one of them gets.

      5. It’s campaign season. What do you expect ETC to talk about? Knitting class.
        Governing and campaigning are two different animals.

      6. “WA State has so many hurdles for any new exec (budget, education, social services, unemployment, unfunded Federal mandates, environment, transportation, crumbling infrastructure, foreign trade, and the list goes on and on, that trying to undo ST from the Gov’s mansion would be akin to the Capt. of the Titanic making the dinner menu his top priority on the maiden voyage.
        Like I said, Rob’s one of the smartest guys in the room, and not likely to start lobbing grenades over the ideology wall.”

        Well, you can hope. We can hope.

        But we know how Christie, Scott, Kasich, Snyder, and of course Walker behaved. Of those, only Snyder showed intelligence, and even he has spent quite a while throwing grenades (he’s just targeting them smarter). We even know the behavior of Senators with *formerly* good records like Olympia Snowe once the extremists started pressuring them to fall into line.

        Here’s a deal for you: if Rob McKenna is elected and DOES start lobbying grenades over the ideology wall — for whatever reason — will you admit that you will now get this behavior even with seemingly good Republicans, and promise never to support a Republican for the foreseeable future? The Republican Party simply isn’t what it used to be. (Note that I’m not asking you to support Democrats here, they have their own problems!)

        Meanwhile, if he’s elected and actually governs responsibly, I’ll admit that it’s possible for someone who doesn’t act like a fanatical ideologue to survive at the upper levels of the Republican Party. I don’t believe it any more.

      7. Frankly, I’ll accept your claim that McKenna is a smart man and a dedicated public servant…. but, what I’m saying is, will his party funders and infrastructure *allow* him to remain so?

  14. I wish that everyone: Politicians, elderly developers, NIMBY’s, etc who opposes light rail across to the Eastside would be forced to ride a 550 during rush hour.

  15. There is no way McKenna is going to get a statewide vote that upholds the state constitution. He needs multiple ballots because each initiative has have one and only one subject. So first, disband the agency. Second, pre-pay the existing bonds with cash on hand as much as possible. Third fill in the tunnels (or rip out the tracks etc etc.) Fourth, repeal the enabling legislation. Fifth, repeal the taxes (probably needs one initiative per tax type, that’s sales, MVT, and property.) Next (I’ve lost count) sell the property back to the original owners. Next make whole the developers who started projects based on a transit station being next to their project.

    You can see what a mess this gets into, especially when the court has ruled that the bond sales are contracts that can’t be repealed by initiative.

    The guy is just pandering to his voting base.

    Oh McKenna may have voter recognition, but then I recognize Newt G. and I’d never vote for the guy in a zillion years. Once the election comes around in Nov, voters in King County will pay attention and as usual elect the governor.

  16. From interacting a bit with Rob McKenna over the past decade and listening to him speak (we are acquaintances, not friends), I know that he is not against mass transit, but he’s against massive, unsound transit that costs too much in comparison to what it does. From back in his Sound Transit leadership days, he’s always been very focused on the cost of attracting new transit riders to the regional system, and he likely understands that East Link is claimed by Sound Transit’s forecasts in the EIS to add just 10,000 daily boardings to the regional transit system for all the billions it will cost.

    Related to the 10,000 number, McKenna’s probably also aware that Sound Transit has a terrible ridership forecasting record, coming in with analytical projections too high compared to what turns out, the Initial Segment and Airport Link being the current example for light rail, as documented at The Sounder North Line ridership performance is so bad it’s illegal under RCW 81.104.120. The Lakewood extension is going to be illegal as well. However, the AG has been informed of the Sounder North ridership and cost and has not done anything about it.

    I also know from past interactions that McKenna has been a fan of the arterial Metro Rapid limited-stop bus service established by Los Angeles County for its ability to increase ridership for a low investment and operating cost compared to rail and to other heavier BRT schemes, as I demonstrated in my “Incremental BRT” study for the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University, easy to find via Google. However, as Governor or a candidate for Governor, McKenna has bigger fish to fry than how transit service is delivered in Western Washington.

    As one who attended the ETA meeting on Wednesday, I have to mention that a number of us who really don’t like how Sound Transit is spending its tax stream were disappointed by what McKenna said about this topic at the ETA meeting on Wednesday morning. From listening to the same words that you can hear on the YouTube recording noted above, we realized that Rob McKenna is not going to take on Sound Transit as Governor, which reminded us that Attorney General McKenna has deployed his attorneys to collaborate with Sound Transit and defend (successfully so far) against the Phil Talmadge-argued lawsuits that East Link is unconstitutional.

    Also note that what was captured on tape about Sound Transit from him on Wednesday morning was from the short Q & A period at the end of a long presentation on his main topic of interest, improving the education of Washington’s young people. McKenna didn’t even touch the project specifics of transportation investment until asked a follow up question on an answer where he was clearly avoiding the topic.

    His main point to ETA from the 45 minute speech was that better educational outcomes will bring a better state economy which will generate more tax revenue for transportation investment of all kinds.

    1. Thank you Mr. Niles for bringing some sanity to this ‘the sky is falling’ conversation.
      Like I said, Mr. McKenna is a smart, honest and dedicated public servant with a keen eye on making government more efficient and accountable.
      That’s something I can vote for any day of the week.

      1. The “sky is falling” folks are the one’s at the ETA who are convinced that any investment in transit is going to bring about the end of their beloved way of life. Any person who is legitimately pro-transit and who knows about the true motives of the ETA board members would be worried about McKenna pandering to them too.

    2. It’s nice that he has sicked his surrogates to the STB. You can pretend all you like, but you’ve made it clear on Twitter that you are out to undermine transit.

      1. Mr. Fesler,

        I am not a surrogate for Rob McKenna and I was not dispatched to attend the ETA meeting last Wednesday by him or his crew or his friends. I went because I was curious about what he would say. If I’d known it was going to be on YouTube I probably wouldn’t have gone!

        There has been no communication between me and Rob McKenna in the past six months, and in particular I didn’t speak with him or his staff before, during, or after his presentation to ETA. I’m not a member of ETA and I have not donated to McKenna’s campaign. What I wrote above is strictly from me with no consultation or input from anybody else.

        On your other fabrication, I am not out to “undermine transit” unless by that you mean challenging the local transit agencies’ level of resource consumption. My long-term professional and civic interest is in transit efficiency, meaning improved ridership per dollar of public investment. Sound Transit to date is a failure in that regard and appears to me to be on a path of continuing failure, as measured by more dollars consumed and a smaller market share of mobility in the region. That certainly is the message in the official Metropolitan Transportation Plan T-2040 from PSRC. See

        I believe too that there should be limitations on the fraction of total Federal, state, and local public resources that transit consumes given other important uses of public resources by Federal, state, and local government, such as health care and education and public safety. (My early employment was in government budgeting and performance measurement.)

        I advocate keeping a lid on the transit share of the public’s tax dollar which is currently hard to do with five local transit agencies seeking public resources simultaneously, not to mention the transit planning staff in City of Seattle drawing streetcar lines on the map.

        For example, I regard the ongoing grab by Sound Transit of various bits of discretionary Federal funding for the S 200th light rail extension over the years as obscene, ending up with the TIGER 3 award that the agency had previously told the PSRC Transportation Board was not needed to do the project. On multiple occasions over the past few years the agency has stood in front of the PSRC Transportation Board and claimed that with just the next bit of funding the S 200th project would be fully funded, never mentioning that the project was fully funded by taxpayers back in the Sound Move election of 1996. Sound Transit appointed project reviewer Charles Royer, a former Seattle Mayor, wrote in the newspaper back in 2001 that the S 200th line could be completed with no new taxes by 2013, as described at .

        The history of Sound Transit is to ask for more, more, more while promising much and delivering little. While one could blame Sound Transit management, I’ve also come to believe more recently that cost prediction and control is simply very tough to achieve in urban railroad construction. I’m expecting trouble in the years ahead with the floating bridge tracks on I-90 and more trouble meeting the contractual requirements for control of electromagnetic field emissions and vibration under the U of Washington campus, despite best efforts by ST.

        And don’t get me started on Central Link ridership to date. Drip, drip, drip. Talk about undermining Sound Transit’s forecasting capability. It will be interesting to see what the FTA-mandated Before and After study concludes about the ridership on this first line compared to the commitments for the $500 million FTA grant.

        Overall, no need for me to undermine rail transit in Seattle — it’s undermining itself quite enough without me saying very much compared to the ST publicity machine and STB painting a rosy picture.

    3. The Sounder North Line was essentially sabotaged by the unexpected (mostly mudslides); it’s never been possible to implement it as planned. It is perhaps time to pull the plug on it.

      The Lakewood extension will do just fine on an operating basis, since it’s essentially replacing expensive buses with a cheap extension of existing trains. Most of the capital costs for it are actually funded by the HSR project, and the capital costs probably wouldn’t have been justifiable without that.

      Regarding Metro Rapid, I’ve ridden it. It’s… well, it’s what local bus service ought to be, bluntly, it’s not a substitute for trunk-line service. And it’s going to be hard to implement the grid portion of it in Seattle except north of the ship canal; your road grid is unsuitable everywhere else.

  17. I just have this gut feeling that a train on a floating bridge is a bad idea.

    I would much prefer to move transit to its own suspension style bridge, maybe between 520 and 90.

    1. Well, railroads have been using floating bridges since the middle of the 19th Century. Here’s a picture of a floating rail pontoon bridge on the Milwaukee Road line crossing the Mississippi at Marquette Iowa.

      1. And somehow I think Lake Washington doesn’t have the constant flow problem or ice dam problems that rivers do that “primitive” 19th century rail engineers seem to manage to have dealt with.

    2. It’s a “solved problem”. Actually, it’s pretty much always easier to put trains on bridges than cars.

  18. Picture this… I step off the Metro 271 at Bellevue TC right as Jay Inslee is beginning a speech on this very subject, right across the street.
    When a half-full ST 550 pulls up to let a line of people on going into Seattle and the process keeps repeating, its obvious more capacity is going to be needed in the future.
    And roads aren’t cheap, either, but we all knew that.

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