Photo via Councilmember Licata
Councilmembers Nick Licata and Kshama Sawant, writing in The Stranger:
We don’t think this measure is perfect. Some readers may recall that we preferred a different funding mechanism—one based on more progressive tax measures–to pay for this critical bus service. But a majority of the City Council wanted to play it safe and use the same revenue sources—a $60 vehicle-licensing fee and a .1% sales tax—that 66 percent of Seattle voters had already voted to support in April.
There will be opportunities in the future to add progressive funding sources to our revenue system (if we fight for them!). For now, the important thing is to ensure that this Seattle-only, transit-only measure is successful at the ballot so that we determine for ourselves the level of transit service we need in our city.
Good for them. This measure is too important for a rift among supporters of better transit service. As I wrote previously, having more tax revenue to spend on progressive causes is more important than having perfectly progressive taxes. Nice to see Sawant and Licata arrive at the same solution.
4 Replies to “Sawant and Licata Endorse Prop. 1”
Sorry — this is good news — but also painfully obvious. The city council in general takes forever to support the ridiculously obvious (cat videos — good thing or bad thing?) but can’t get off their ass when it comes to the really important issues (like zoning regulation). Not that proposition one isn’t important — everyone with any sense should support it — but the city council should, I don’t know, deal with the most important issue in our time (the high cost of rent). But that would require spending some time and researching the issue, and Heavens to Betsy, being a member of the city council is so hard when you only make 113 grand a year.
I think that the electorate of the entire Greater Puget Sound region, especially Seattle, should make it clear that their individual “Yes” votes will have three non-negotiable conditions:
1. Representatives of the City of Seattle, King County, and Sound Transit, and one rep selected jointly by every union local involved, will meet frequently under the chairmanship of someone decisive and mutually respected to coordinate their efforts. First order of business: quit using “separate agencies” as an excuse to avoid action.
2. Seattle and the county will immediately start getting current obstacles out of the way of transit vehicles. Such as: Curbs and lanes full of stuck traffic. Signals with transit as last priority. Fare-box use in the DSTT at rush hour. Everything else stupid to keep and fixable with little extra capital.
3. Committee in Item 1 will schedule weekly meetings just before PM rush hour on Fridays, with last order of business at least an hour riding service. And observed problems first order of “old business” at next week’s meeting.
In short: condition “Yes” vote on service not only preserved and added- but above all, moving.
I agree with the spirit of all these, but Fridays afternoons belong to my employer. My vote for Prop 1 is unconditional love for the transit system, and the people who need it to get around. Hopefully, its passage doesn’t become an excuse for inaction on priority treatments. There are some capital projects (e.g. the Northgate Pedestrian Bridge) that need to happen, and need to get funded, by *someone*. (I don’t have that kind of money myself.)
As much as I am concerned about joint tunnel operations, I am even more concerned about post-joint operations. ST still has no plans to build a center platform at ID Station, without which passenger throughput capacity on the whole system will probably max out soon after East Link opens. I’d love to make my vote for ST3 conditional on it including money to build that center platform and flyover tracks between East and South Link instead of the turnback track in the middle of ID Station. Turning trains back only needs to happen a few times a day. The lack of the center platform is going to turn to turn ID Station into a bottleneck that slows down the whole system (and puts an upper limit on throughput capacity) several hours a day. If flyover tracks and a center platform don’t get build during the time ID Station is closed for East Link construction, I don’t see it ever happening.
Should have clarified, Brent. These meetings are supposed to be more like executive session+ Top Pot visit , for observation only and no votes taken. Also no restrictions on non-electeds going along- especially those with experience on each meeting’s subject.
Also, interested citizens encouraged to make similar visits on their own, together on in groups.Goal is to have both electees and electorate develop a working understanding of transit. STB staff doubtless do this constantly.
Love? After last forty years watching after last forty years of education and government by punishment, I hate term “tough love”. If we’d wanted Texas government border to border, the Union would have surrendered at Glorieta Pass. Google it. Another public works project now overdue for an update.
But- some shining memories of a morning on LINK: A very large number of fourth graders on their way to the Picasso exhibit Downtown- each carrying their own drawing in the style of Picasso. Teacher told me that every field trip, the kids always liked the train ride better than the destination.
And an hour later, graduation LINK trip through the Tunnel for a class of yellow labs and Labradors, tails wagging, green vests clean and pressed, and tongues hanging out. Combine these two events, and you’ve got working definition of love in public life. Also huge number of positive transit votes, from the kids in about fifteen years and watching grownups next election.
Meantime, +to the nth power on platform reworking where needed. Underground stations, width could be difficult constraint. But won’t present ramps between IDS and I-90 serve for LINK? I don’t think IDS turnbacks will be that common. But could be useful to keep service to open-air IDS platforms if rest of Tunnel goes down. Why wouldn’t cross track in IDS staging create the “Y” needed to turn trains back at platforms- like Stadium does now?
Matters like this turn probably-late ST3 delivery date into more time for these improvements. Especially if we get started now.
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