Last week Seattle Subway wrote about the importance of future proofing ST3 by including provisional projects in the plan. A provisional project is a project approved by the board and voters, but doesn’t have any budget. This would mean voters approve projects now and when funds become available they can immediately be used towards those projects without issue.

Between Federal or State grants, local funds or increased ST revenues from growth, or savings (U Link was $200 million under budget) there is a high likelihood that additional funds could become available in the next 25 years. We need to be able to take advantage of this and move as quickly as possible towards building out our system. Our region is a hundred years behind already, we can’t afford to wait longer.

Thank you to Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy for beginning the exploration of how to include Provisional projects in each Sound Transit Subarea for inclusion in the Sound Transit 3 plan at last week’s Board Meeting. (1:38 mark)

Thanks also to Seattle Councilmember Rob Johnson for working on this.

We are so close to pushing this over the finish line. Tomorrow is where the final draft of ST3 will be hammered out. Please and tell them you want provisional projects in each Subarea included in Sound Transit 3’s plan!

132 Replies to “Action Alert – Last Push for Provisional Extensions”

  1. And when ST3 comes in a day late and a dollar short, it’s time to mobilize the No campaign.

    Ballard to UW should not be “provisional”. It should be the only Seattle project on ST’s immediate radar, because it serves the most people with the lowest cost in the quickest timeframe.

    1. OR you could push for the thing you want, through the most likely means of getting it! Making Ballard-UW provisional IMHO means it will happen, and it is just not true that it happens outside the context of Sound Transit.

    2. There is no Ballard to UW without Ballard to downtown. If one want one, you have to have the other.

      1. That’s simply not true, Zach. And when ST3 fails at the ballot, we’ll see it born out as the “impossible” Ballard-UW level-junction spur is magically adopted by our electeds.

      2. Kyle,
        Could you please use your crystal ball to get me some stock picks? Thanks. ;)

      3. Joe

        Ballard has built up density-wise more than any other area that is under consideration for the ST3 area, yet it is one of the last to get light rail under ST3 (as of now, five years behind politically connected West Seattle). As someone who is undecided (see my question below, and my previous comments, I am trying to find a way to vote for this), I can understand Kyle S.’s frustrations (Ballard to UW does not require a second tunnel and would be built much sooner , cheaper and would carry almost as many). You may not agree with the sentiments, but try and understand where Ballardites are coming from.

      4. @Kyle:

        “That’s simply not true, Zach” Sick argument bro. Just saying “nuh uh” isn’t a counterargument, and it shows your unthinking reaction to ST3 since you didn’t get your way 100%. The experts tell us that Ballard-UW can’t be done w/o a Ballard-DT line to serve it, and even if that weren’t the case, having a branching service isn’t a smart idea either, according to our beloved Jarrett Walker.


        “Ballard to UW does not require a second tunnel” uhhhh…. you want Ballard-UW to run at grade? wtf?

      5. Mdnative;

        I would look at ST3 as a once in a generation vote: Either suck it up and take Ballard to Downtown which is rightfully yours, or possibly watch ST3 taxation authority whittle away between Tim Eyman & the state legislature under budget pressure.

        It’s either we go win now and tell Ballardites to take the best possible deal, or gamble in 2020. Ballard quite frankly has had commentators – and I’m not allowed to out them so take my word for it – who have misbehaved so badly the past two years I’m sufficiently antagonized.


      6. How is Ballard Link going to get through downtown without a second tunnel? How is it supposed to connect to Westlake Station?

      7. Brent, the idea that Kyle S. and others have argued that Ballard to downtown requires a second downtown tunnel (which takes a long time to build, hence the 19 years), Ballard to UW does not require a second downtown tunnel (and the idea that Ballard to UW would somehow cause overcrowding due to the trains from Lynnwood has been debunked by Martin).

        Joe, Ballard to UW won a (flawed) ST survey about a year ago on best Ballard lines (finishing second only to West Seattle– with the other Ballard lines splitting the vote– West Seattle blog did an article on it). The most recent survey did not even have a Ballard to UW option. The McGinn and Murray administrations never really paid attention to those numbers, focusing on the traffic cluster— that is near the South Lake Union and future Expedia sites. I kept asking STB to interview the now-embattled SDOT head Ron Kubly to get their thinking on Ballard to DT, but that never happened.

        I understand the mayors’ position, but like the Paine Field diversion, it never seemed like big business (Boeing, Expedia, Amazon) really pushed for these measures. Like Paine Field light rail, Ballard to DT (which isn’t a horrible line) seems more in line with pleasing businesses that may not be here in 20 years. And as a condo owner who is going to be paying additional taxes for this, it is frustrating when the option is OK (given the time it will take to build Ballard to DT) when there is a quicker option that has been ignored.

      8. mdnative;

        Two thoughts:

        1) You have to ask yourself if OK is better than nothing. Tim Eyman – like the fool he is – is already putting initiatives on the ballot to hack away at ST3 authority. Better get that authority bonded in five months, rather than five months and four years.

        2) Those businesses and their substantial # of employees pay a lot into Sound Transit and want what’s rightfully theirs. Plus scooping those employees onto light rail will provide congestion relief.

      9. Yeah, what mdnative said. The capacity argument is silly. We should have that problem. First of all, we can carry way more than people assume: Second, ST has been completely wrong on their estimates before, greatly underestimating the value of urban lines, and greatly overestimating the suburban ones. Many of their long term predictions are based on extremely high growth in suburban areas (and cities they think will act like suburbs) and the assumption that the growth will translate into extremely high light rail ridership. Both assumptions fly in the face of history (for this region, as well as others). Third, if there really is a capacity crunch, it won’t manifest itself for a long time, and we can deal with it directly. Invest in bus service for the other line (like Ballard to Belltown, which Metro plans on adding anyway, even if ST3 passes). Spend money on bus infrastructure, making runs like that a lot faster and a lot more frequent. Or invest in the needed light rail infrastructure (traction power substations) so you can run the trains more often. It doesn’t make any sense to invest in a less effective, less efficient system because you fear that the more efficient one might be too popular.

        Branching? So don’t branch. Big deal. Just run the tunnel underneath the other one.

      10. Kyle S., level-junction wizard, opines as he rides the N-Judah through the Duboce flying junction twice daily.p

      1. I don’t get to vote in this one, but I can certainly do my part in convincing my former neighbors not to throw their money away.

      2. Sure, be that way. Just remember this: The next Sound Transit vote will be in 2020 and it will probably be BRT here, BRT there and BRT everywhere.

        Of course, you know, the state legislature or ballot initiatives could hack away at ST3 authority in those four years. Let’s not risk it, fall in line and get this done.

      3. As for throwing money away, I would much rather vote for some transit projects that don’t benefit me on a daily basis than have the legislature take the cue from voters that they want more freeway lanes instead, all filled with SOVs.

        Nobody is getting the exact list of projects they want and getting to exclude every project they don’t want.

    3. Kyle, save everybody’s time including yours by just voting No. There’s no way that a regional project of any kind will give way to a demand that one part of it, no matter how important, become the whole project.

      More important, main lesson of the fate of the last Monorail project is what happens when engineering questions are decided by angry political demands. It’s very likely that any west side project will held back until others are well underway, because it’s almost certain to be the hardest and most complicated transit-building in the region.

      So since no one can say for certain how long it will take to get it done, best assurance it ever gets done is to plan to spend early funds on the drawing boards, while building other parts on, or under, the ground. That doesn’t make Ballard “provisional”, because there’s no argument that it needs doing.

      But for the sake of the whole project and Ballard itself, the order in which each segment is started is extremely important. No one would attempt to do this whole regional project at the same time. Or obey any political dictate as to what comes first.

      Mark Dublin

    4. Kyle, there is no plan to build a stand-along Link line from Ballard to the U-District, and no plan to build the necessary maintenance base on either end. There certainly is no agency offering to do that work.

      The only plan that will work is to build downtown to Ballard first, so that the trains can travel to a maintenance base.

      1. Kyle, there is no plan to build a stand-along Link line from Ballard to the U-District

        Yet such a plan was promised in ST2.

        and no plan to build the necessary maintenance base on either end

        You don’t need an OMF if you build a junction at U-District station.

        There certainly is no agency offering to do that work.

        Because the mayor and ST made promises to constituents from various places that are not along a fast-growing, fast-densifying, long-bottlenecked transit corridor.

        The entire ST3 project is full of wastes of money like light rail to Everett and Tacoma, grade-separated light rail to the islands of density on the vast West Seattle peninsula, and a Ballard-Downtown line that somehow manages to avoid half of the destinations along such any of the possible routes it could have taken. And the only reason any of this stands a snowball’s chance in hell is because of last-ditch scrambling to move the schedule before the heat-death of the universe, and stuff more projects in to fill the gaps.

        Can it. ST3 is a joke.

      2. It would seriously delay the opening of the U-District station (years) and cost a ton of money to add a junction at this point. As in, hand mining a retrofit. I would be shocked if ST agreed to that. Or that any capital agency would.
        That would be an awful lot of time and money to make people who think exactly as you do happy. There aren’t that many people who feel the way you do.

      3. You know,

        Paine Field pays the bills for Snohomish County.

        Paine Field has been promised for over 20 years light rail. From the same folks rightfully building light rail in Seattle using the only funding & governing mechanism that’s provided high capacity transit in this region.

        There you go. Time to make a tough call. Grow up.

      4. There is very little constituency that would vote to have Seattle or ST build just Ballard-to-UW. Most Ballardites won’t choose that over light rail to SLU and downtown. Few in the U-District will want their station delayed decades in order to get North Link to fork to Ballard. Few below the ship canal will be willing to vote to pay for it. I know I will be voting no on Kyle’s plan. Few outside Seattle will vote to pay for it,either.

        It’s a straw alternative to an actual plan heading to the ballot that will enable Ballard-to-U-District to be built as quickly as realistically possible.

      5. Kyle,
        Ballard to UW was not promised in ST2. I’m not sure what makes you think this but it just isn’t true. A study of service to Ballard was promised and delivered hence the ST3 plan before us.

        The best way to make sure Ballard to UW happen is to ask the board to include it as a provisional project. As has been pointed out it is very likely some extra change will be found in the couch cushions to build it. The cost and time estimates in ST3 are extremely conservative. From my understanding the tax revenues were based on the most pessimistic estimates, the cost and time estimates at the top end of the range. Even more so than ST2 Sound Transit is doing as much as it can to under-promise and over-deliver.

        Sound Transit is highly unlikely to build a level junction at UW station. Even just for access to a maintenance base. Branching is an even more insane idea as Northgate will likely require trains more often than every 6 minutes.

        Politically BRT to West Seattle is a non-starter. Ballard to Downtown while more expensive than Ballard to UW will carry more people than all of Portland MAX or the San Diego trolley. The entire LINK system will not only beat every light rail system in the country in terms of ridership but most rapid transit systems. 500k riders per day is nothing to sneeze at. In terms of riders per mile the numbers are very respectable as well. (beating all but the MBTA Green Line in terms of riders per mile).

        As others have said if you want rail to Ballard the best bet is to vote for ST3. Once the measure is passed various ways of speeding the line up can be investigated. Getting Seattle to make light rail a permitted use or educing the number of alternatives considered in the EIS, can speed up environmental review. A design/build contract, perhaps even design/build/finance, money from the City of Seattle, additional Federal grants, or a loan from the Federal government (such as in LA) may be able to speed up the construction phase.

    5. I agree, Kyle. It is crazy to think we will ignore the most cost effective plan for Seattle.


      >> Most Ballardites won’t choose that over light rail to SLU and downtown.

      Nonsense. It works for both Ballard to UW and Ballard to downtown. It is only two minutes longer to downtown if you go via the UW. It is only an extra minute if you have to transfer (and the transfer could be timed).

      >> Few below the ship canal will be willing to vote to pay for it.

      So no one in Capitol Hill, the C. D or Rainier Valley ever goes to Fremont, Wallingford, Phinney Ridge or Greenwood? Sorry, that just isn’t the case.

      Using that logic, no one north of the ship canal should vote for Link, as it does so little for them. Getting to most of West Seattle will be no better. Getting to Ballard that way would be ridiculous. Getting to South Lake Union would be faster (to just about all the stops) via the Roosevelt BRT. About the only place that gets significantly better are trips to lower Queen Anne and Interbay. Decent locations, but not exactly Fremont, Wallingford or Ballard.

      >> Few outside Seattle will vote to pay for it,either.

      Again, those north of Seattle or east of Seattle (who access 520) would benefit greatly from a UW to Ballard line. Kirkland to Ballard via transit would be faster than driving at noon. With ST3, there is nothing that even comes close to that.

      1. Ross,
        you need to hit the streets and go to the meetings. At the meeting last Thursday, exactly zero people talked about the talking points you think are very common.
        Your views are reasonable, but there is not a silent majority behind them. If you want people to think as you do, you are going to need to show up.

        Also, there is no such thing as a “more cost effective UW-Ballard plan” because such a plan does not a will not exist. Since it doesn’t, it cant raise money, and without money, no expenditure, and with no expenditure, no cost-effectiveness.

      2. Good idea, Jon, but I can’t speak in front of more than a few people before I feel like running out of the room and going for a long walk. I am OK chatting with people, or writing letters to the editor. I am doing the former and this is sort of a version of the latter.

      3. RossB;

        Let me begin by saying I understand you have deeply held logical reasons to question if not stop Spine Destiny and concerns that I am asking Sound Transit’s Board to address. No one has a right to doubt your commitment to the transit cause.

        That said, I too have a certain comfort level and tomorrow at 9 AM is going past my comfort level. I worry how it’s going to be received when I outburst against Alex Zimmermann. I worry how I’m going to be perceived when I make my speech. Am I just going to be wasting my time and efforts – or actually get more buses to serve Paine Field?

        So yeah I get it. It’s a process, a work in progress. You’ll get better at it. Don’t look far away, get near sighted and do this one step at a time mate.

      4. A Ballard UW only works for Ballard to downtown if you install a west-to-south junction at U District or Husky Stadium. If you simply dead end the line under the other rails, it don’t work since you’re adding 2 minutes AND forcing a transfer that no one in Ballard wants.

        Now, imagine you do build this junction. Now, all that hugely massive ridership from Ballard is funneled into the existing university tunnel. So, instead of a second tunnel from Westlake to King St (the current plan), you instead need that second tunnel from UW to King St. The doubly-long tunnel pretty much eliminates any claimed cost savings, as well as not serving any new areas, as opposed to the proposed plan.

    6. For all those who want a Ballard-UW Line (including myself):

      The fastest and most reliable way to get it built is to push for it to be included as a provisional project in ST3.

      As the Board is finalizing the ballot measure tomorrow, they are not going to magically include a project that a) has an unknown level of support (it has not been polled) b) has barely been studied and c) has little potential to support a regional network (i.e. can’t be extended or serve more people than those in the four neighborhoods it goes through).

      Voting against ST3 in the hope that a future plan would include Ballard-UW is a huge gamble, not only for that individual line but for the future of our entire region’s mass transit system. A provisional Ballard-UW in ST3 is not ideal, but politics is about compromise and this is the best one we can get. Sure, maybe it could’ve been added months or years ago. But this late in the game, provisional is the best we’re going to get and I would rather have a compromise than nothing at all.

      1. Sorry, I have to disagree with you on point c. No other line will do more to establish a regional network than Ballard to UW. It would be more of a network than even some of the (crucial) projects we have built. Link goes through Rainier Valley, but doesn’t network well at all with the 7, despite the fact that both are really popular and frequent (ridership at Mount Baker, the only place they cross, is very low). From downtown to the UW, you only have one station, and while it is a great one, it doesn’t network with buses in the immediate region (the Central Area) or the greater region (buses coming from 520). Stations north of the UW network OK, especially if NE 130th is built.

        The ST3 rail for Seattle has pretty much nothing in the way of increased networking. There are too few stops in West Seattle to provide much of a network there, and the rest of the line is either redundant (downtown) or skirts the steep parts of Queen Anne. West and central Magnolia are probably the only places that could really benefit, but they don’t have the density to support a lot of extra bus service.

        But Ballard to UW is all about the network. You barely have to move the bus routes. The line would improve just about all travel in the city north of the ship canal and west of I-5. That is a gigantic number of people, and their trips to not only the UW and downtown would be faster and more frequent, but so too would their trips to places like Capitol Hill, Roosevelt, Lake City and Kirkland {ed}.

      2. Add Kirkland onto that last sentence (… but so too would their trips to places like Capitol Hill, Roosevelt, Lake City and Kirkland).

      3. Thank you, I hold those views.

        My anger is not at making Ballard-UofW provisional which if sufficiently lobbied I could support publicly tomorrow; my anger is at the threat to torpedo the whole ST3 project on some quixotic quest to get one community two light rail lines.

        Let’s win this.

      4. Where is the commitment to at least 100-foot tall buildings in Fremont or Wallingford? SLU has 400-foot buildings happening — so it makes more sense for a station there unless there is a surge of support for SLU-type densities in Fremont or Wallingford or even Ballard.

      5. I’m happy at least that this sort of project has the potential to be at least placed “provisionally” on the table. RossB’s point about making the system more of a “network” is well-taken. The most difficult part of getting around the city is getting cross-town–and that’s by any mode of transportation you care to mention. I’ve been driving in the city for over 30 years and it has always been worth avoiding whenever possible; it’s just worse now than it was then. Transit? North of the Canal it’s a slog at best–south of the Canal you get disasters like the 8 and the 11 (I add the 11 because that bus is between 15-25 minutes late every single afternoon; I almost always can walk from Capitol Hill station to 23rd/Madison before it catches me, and several times have walked the entire 2.5 miles home over the hill before I see the bus). This is what is appealing about the Ballard-UW line, the “Metro 8” line and even Madison BRT.

        I like Ballard, although I don’t live there and actually have no dog in this particular hunt as far as where I live, work, or where I own property (in fact, Ballard-downtown would probably get me to Ballard faster from my home than Ballard-UW). I like West Seattle as well. What I want is the best possible way to get around the city without having to keep my car, not just to and from downtown. Doing something to dramatically improve cross-town travel is that thing for me. In the south end that is difficult due to topography and land use. In the north end it is something that can be addressed, by a line that can intercept almost every single bus line running north-south, making getting from anywhere north of downtown to anywhere else north of downtown that much more pleasant and reasonable. Right now transit is just not a viable option for most of those trips, for those of us who have a choice of transportation mode. The Ballard–UW line (frankly, ANY east-west line) would make those trips much more viable.

        When this solution was proposed on this blog several years ago, I thought it was silly until I started imagining how I would get to various places via transit, both from where I live now and from places I’ve lived in the past. Fixing cross-town travel in both the north end and (if possible) the south end does that more effectively than anything else I can think of.

    7. Engineers I know who’ve worked in Israel tell me that planning for engineering projects, like transit, proceeds smoothly until language escalates from English into Hebrew and Russian, which much of Israel’s population has for a first language.

      “Idiot!” is the same word in all three modern versions of these languages- progress requires break for ear protection. Neither ethnic nor national thing, but definitely culture. Bet same holds between Seattle and Brooklyn. And this is among people who all know what they’re talking about.

      I know that English has a reputation for being the language it’s easiest to get work done with. Though nobody has gotten into the question of Brooklyn, Seattle, or Texas?

      Eastern Kentuckians and North Carolinians I’ve met explain mining and stone cutting well, though answers tend to send you back to work a lot of basic things out for yourself.

      Since we’re talking about digging under University of Washington, does the engineering school there deal with work like ours? If not, what’s the closest one that does? Because I think that ST-3’s every public event should now replace many Event staff with equal number of engineers.

      Would be really good projects for Masters and PhD students in engineering. And also abnormal psychology. At least every argument will have the chance of a rational outcome, whichever side wins.


    8. I’ll not say Ballard – UW or Bust as Kyle S has done.

      However, in terms of technical possibility, Iwould point out that the 2nd Avenue subway in New York is being added as a branch of an existing subway line.

      Sometimes branching is desirable. Sometimes adding a branch tunnel to a subway line is necessary.

      Just because something is difficult or expensive doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t desirable.

      What is necessary is for someone to start thinking about what the real end goal is. Is it Sidney that has a 20 minute plan? They want everything to be within 20 minutes reach of everyone? If something like that is the goal then an hour and ten minutes trip on the 44 isn’t a big step in the correct direction.

  2. Email sent! Lets push this across the finish line and get the projects we need!

  3. As always, thanks to STB, Seattle Subways, and Rob. I think it’s especially important that we have projects ready to start before 25 years are up. The more the public justifiably believes this is possible, the better ST-3’s chances at the polls.

    Mark Dublin

    1. btw mark, good job testifying at the st board meeting the other day! i was impressed watching from my desk!

    2. Exactly Mark, we really need to put hope on the ballot. Let’s make the anti-ST3 folks realize who they’re caucusing with – Alex Zimmerman caucusing with Kyle S. (now in SF), d.p. caucusing with KVI, the list goes on.

      Either you’re with us or against us. Everybody’s got that choice to make.

      1. Joe, and Zach, seriously, many thanks. Don’t like watching my part of the video, though. I can see why sweet young women of sixty are always offering me their bus seats.

        Speaking seriously, Kyle, I think that Ballard has a prime example of exactly the kind of measure which a provisional status can cover most effectively. For Ballard as well as whole system.

        I’d rather see the Ship Canal tunneled than bridged, but not the point here. Ballard crossing structure by itself can deliver results for however many years it takes to build out that section of the system.

        Transit (ONLY on this one!) lanes can ramp directly to signal-preempted reserved lanes on Elliott Avenue. Which can be left in place for local service after subway to Downtown is complete. While other tunnel could be under construction too.

        Absolutely worst outlook on every ST project in this region is to harden possibilities in advance. Over the decades this work will only survive if important decisions are kept view ahead is as flexible as possible.

        But! Greatest be adjustment will be to Comrade Zimmerman’s real transit coup. By constantly insisting that ST Board are billionaire gangsters, we’ll soon see kindly old gentlemen mayors show up in black glasses, thin ties, and concealed-carried hardware evident under the lapels of their five thousand dollar suits.

        And the plaza outside packed with limousines with fox fur seats, whose parking permits the deputies don’t demand of the human cement blocks sitting in the drivers’ seats with the engines running. And even blacker glasses, and firearms open-carried on the dash

        But most splendid of all will when Deputy Mayor Claudia Balducci sweeps in wearing a beautiful mink cape and cradling a gold plated AK-47. Just before Councilman Von Reichbauer comes over the phone-link with his best Siberian accent, announcing that loyal forces have just driven out the evil speculators, and reclaimed Ballard for the Motherland.


  4. Email sent! Thanks for the heads up. Seems like a no-brainer to include the statutory authority for these projects just in case.

      1. Which I assume are small? So, adding these provisional items in doesn’t take away from actual building elsewhere?

      2. small compared to the cost of the downtown tunnel, e.g., yeah. i’m sure the total cost would be in the multi million dollar area.

  5. If Ballard to UW is included as a provisional project, would Seattle be allowed to provide extra money itself to get it built (through monorail authority or seattle legislation)?

    1. I think that’s the basic idea. If it’s a provisional project then the groundwork for the project can begin even though there is no money for actual construction. I imagine you can start identifying alternatives, get to work on the EIS, and look at right of way issues. If money does become available because other projects come in under-budget, some grants become available, or a partner decides to spend some money on it, then the project will be “shovel ready” and able to move ahead without a lengthy public approval process.

      1. Indeed. This is a good thing. Allowing yourselves multiple options at the beginning of projects, especially those that can greatly expedite moving forward should funding permit, sets up the possibility of system-wide success should this country ever decide once again that infrastructure is worthy of serious investment.

        (Kudos and thanks to all of you testifying; I am and have been in Chile but have tried to follow when the opportunity presents itself.)

      1. Or just a better than expected economy, or whatever. 25 years is a long time. 25 years ago it was 1991, and Windows 95 was being written in the Burgermaster parking lot.

      2. Hadn’t Microsoft already moved to Redmond by 1991? (you also remind me of some stories I heard about “Bill code” from people who were there back in the day)

    2. As I understand it listing a project as provisional doesn’t cost anything until they actually decide to do it.

  6. Let’s cut the bulls–t echo chamber right the expletive now.

    #1. Ballard to UofW is for ST4 or for Seattle to pay for. Ballard to Downtown is a done deal… unless Ballard bullies against that and then what, and then what? You already got a bus route from Ballard to UofW and rightfully so. It’s not in any danger of going away.

    #2. Now to my sour grapes. I am not happy at the fact the BRT plan for Paine Field is dead. The Everett Elite have closed ranks, and today’s Everett Herald editorial makes this painfully clear. But I am not going to sit back and work to add what another four, eight or possibly infinite years to get light rail to Everett Station.

    That is the proper attitude adjustment – an attitude adjustment I think you spoiled folks need to make. Do not make perfect the enemy of good and add time plus another high stakes election to this equation. Ballot initiatives and legislative action can hack away at ST3 taxing authority – so the sooner we win and get that authority bonded, the better.

  7. I can just imagine a coalition of opponents that includes some who want Everett Link, and think everything else is a waste, people who think Ballard Link should happen, but that everything else is a waste, that West Seattle Link should happen, but that everything else is a waste, that only the Ballard-to-U-District gondola should happen, but everything else is a waste, that we should expand freeways to make room for the future growth of self-driving cars, but all other transportation spending is a waste, and maybe some who will readily admit they don’t want transit built because it removes one of their major concerns troll against building a lot more housing — Oh, the developers don’t have a plan to deal with more traffic! (you know who I am talking about).

    The opponents will have no agreement as to why they don’t want ST3, but will manage to be nice to each other for a few months.

    I look forward to their incoherent, mutually-cancelling messaging.

    1. As do I.

      I believe we true believers got a problem on our left flank and we need to deal with it. Some of these folks need to realize who they’ll be caucusing with – Alex Zimmermann, d.p, Todd Herman, Kyle S, and more. Those will be some tough caucus meetings to stop f-ing fascism.

      Our left flank needs to realize the best way to help Tim Eyman, the best way to undo Sound Transit and stop transit is to work to defeat ST3 in 2016. That’ll give Tim Eyman, Alex Zimmermann, and talkback radio not just five months but four years to do their absolute worst. Five months is long enough, thanks.

    2. It won’t be “mutually canceling”, because all any given voter needs is one reason the looks emphatically clear to him or her to vote “No”. That various reasons put forth by the “No” side may be contradictory only rarely convinces a lay person not already sympathetic to the “Yes” side to voteless. We don’t vote for something that will cost money because we think the “antis” are stupid. People vote no because of something they think egregiously dumb about the proposal, even if it’s of very little import.

  8. Mine:

    Don’t forget to include lots of big provisional projects in ST3. Like,

    * Central Link to Tacoma Mall
    * Tacoma Link to University Place

    South King:
    * W Seattle Link to Burien and Des Moines waterfront

    * Ballard-UW subway
    * W Seattle Link to White Center and Burien

    * Issaquah-Kirkland link to downtowns of both cities

    Snohomish County
    * Central Link to North Everett
    * Evergreen light rail if not in central link

    Go big. Include these so you can keep moving if the money’s available.

    (I included some things that I don’t think anyone’s even studied since they seem like a good idea)

    1. While we’re dreaming…

      *Eastside/Seattle: ULink Station at 520 (or a bus only new ramp/bridge/road to/from 520/Husky Station)

    2. For South/North/East King various phases of Junction/White Center/Burien/Tukwilla/Renton will be most likely.

      For East King another possibility is S. Kirkland P&R to Totem Lake via ERC. Though the Geezers in Green may try to stop its inclusion.

      1. #saveourtrail is already unhappy about having any rail in the general neighborhood of the trail, or pointing at the trail, or anybody planning for rail (or BRT) near the trail in the future. There’s no downside to making them more unhappy.

        The Board has finally figured out that they were never going to be satisfied with anything reasonable. The Board has also, belatedly, realized that it’s the same dozen faces at every meeting.

      2. SOT geezers are the last people on earth who should be worried about what will happen in 25 years.

      3. poncho;

        I would say Alex Zimmermann instead of SOT. I just wish they’d realize if you want to stop sprawl – encourage density with high capacity transit and be more gracious to Sound Transit consultants, staff & board (and at some point the fans).

    1. Technically, all projects are provisional. If the economy tanks, projects get scaled back, delayed, or cut.

      1. Brent,
        From what I understand the financial plan for ST3 is already quite pessimistic. Supposedly enough so to survive several severe recessions without having to delay or scale back any projects. ST does not want another debacle like happened with Federal Way link in ST3.

    2. Giving people lots less than they are expecting doesn’t sound like a winning political strategy to me. Do you really think taking Ballard off the table helps this pass?

    3. Um, les, do you mean to put Ballard-UW as a standard project and Ballard-downtown as provisional? Cause I could see a lot of people liking that idea.

      1. I am good with that (given the timeline of Ballard to Downtown), but the powers that be want Ballard to downtown (and the second downtown tunnel).

    4. Les-speak: Voters want Tacoma. Everett with the Paine detour, and issaquah. They don’t want Ballard to downtown or UW because they’re such low ridership.

      1. … low ridership, not regional transit, and adequately served by existing buses or more runs.

      2. Am I interpreting your recommendation wrong? How?

        I prefer Ballard-UW but Ballard-downtown is better than nothing and a major transit improvement so I support it and the regional consensus (ST3).

      3. Mike;

        You’re good. We’re good.

        I too “prefer Ballard-UW but Ballard-downtown is better than nothing and a major transit improvement so I support it and the regional consensus (ST3).”

        We must win ST3. See you on the battlefield tomorrow – 9 AM. WIN THIS FOR THE TRUE BELIEVERS!

      4. I didn’t realize Everett and Tacoma are competing with Ballard for ST3 funds.

      5. I think Les wants the true subway option (the really expensive one that went had a stop at Upper Queen Anne) that disappeared in a puff of smoke because of cost (although, the ST numbers had Ballard to UW got almost as many riders at about half the cost).

      6. Whatever options you want, well do two things:

        1) E-mail the Sound Transit Board
        2) Tell the Sound Transit Board tomorrow. Try to make it to Union Station BEFORE 0845, sign in and try to fight the butterflies mate.

  9. I don’t care about Ballard to UW. I care about connecting the region. There’s already bus service in place. Don’t hold up the progress with your provisional pet project.

    1. Provisionals cant hold anything up, they are a totally win-win situation. Every subarea has needs that will go unaddressed as ST3 stands, and provisionals give them the ability to take action and expand the system quickly if possible.

    2. I don’t want an orange, I want some fruit!

      Seriously though Craig, Ballard to UW is all about connecting the region. The region in the city west of I-5 and north of the ship canal. That is a very big region that would get substantially faster transit to just about everywhere. Even in the middle of the day, there are dozens of trips that are faster with transit rather than driving. For example, Phinney Ridge to Capitol Hill. First you take a bus, then you take a train. Even at noon, that will be faster.

      There are no large regions like that with ST3. In many cases, even if you are standing right next to a station, you are better off driving. Ash Way to the UW? Drive. West Seattle to downtown? Drive..Even the best part of this entire plan — Ballard to downtown — is fairly fast in the middle of the day. That is because there aren’t many big crossing streets and the road is very fast. Even the bus is very fast for the same reason (and the fact that there aren’t many stops worth bothering with).

      ST3 will be full of trips that will be faster on existing buses than with billion dollar light rail. Tacoma to downtown Seattle. Everett to Lynnwood. Light rail will no more connect those regions than BART connects Richmond to the rest of the Bay Area. Richmond has as many people as Everett, but less than 5,000 a day ride BART from there. That isn’t even a very good bus for Metro:

      1. RossB;

        I know you want BRT – and BRT to be truly segregated from traffic. Perhaps – not to be insulting but philosophical at this point – if guys like us sat on the Sound Transit Board we’d be looking at a very different ST3. One that’d serve the sheeple a lot more than titans of industry and elites’ best guesstimates. You know what I really wanted for Paine Field, I’m not going to get it barring not a miracle but a string of miracles that’s too heavy of a lift.

        ST3 is what happens when Democrats run things and oppose directly electing transit boards. I’d be curious how many of the Sound Transit Board SounderBruce and the like catch riding the transit to the big showdown at 0900 tomorrow.

        Now we’re looking at following options where ST3 to me is the only tolerable option of the remaining options. I am not going to give the ignorant destructive idiot buffoon in a bubble that is Tim Eyman and his lemmings not just five months but five months and four additional years to do his worst to eliminate ST3 taxing authority.

        Sound Transit has its faults. Sound Transit is also the only vehicle that’s truly delivered high capacity transit for Puget Sound.

      2. I’m unsold on the wisdom of judging the effectiveness of a light rail line by comparing total transit trip time to how long it would take to drive from point A to point B in 2016, especially if Seattle’s population continues to explode. I also hope we decide, as a city, that keeping 15th as an awful pseudohighway may not be the greatest idea in the world.

    3. Connecting the region is about creating a variety of unique trip pairs (for example, Ballard-Capitol Hill or Central District-Greenwood). In a perfect world, Seattle would have two loop subways (one north – say Ballard-Greenwood-Northgate-UW-and back; and one south – say Downtown-Belltown-LQA-SLU-Capitol Hill – etc.) and two north south spines intercepting the loops (which could head off into the hinterlands). The people within Seattle want these trip combinations because they live and work and play all over the city, not just in two destinations governed by highway alignments. You talk about our supposed privilege in having bus service, yet have probably never ridden. I had the privilege of taking the 44 at 8:45 this morning – a nice 45 minute privilege for a 4 mile journey.

    1. Silly question — do you have to sign up anywhere to give a speech? Or do you just show up and write your name on a list?

      1. I collected micro machines as a boy. Ask me on an open thread about my Christmas 2015 trip to the Burlington Target and my absolute, befuddling inability to buy a friend’s daughter a toy bus…

  10. Folks, I’m in a really pissy mood.

    Apparently Tim Eyman is running up the flagpole, bless his ideological binary four wheeled heart, to gut the cartab funding for ST3. Folks, I am warning you time is running short to get this ST3 authority voter approved and bonded.

    I get it ST3 is a B not an A. I like RossB have said what an A would look like to me. But I’d rather settle for the 85% than the 0%.


    1. Well, a lot of us think it isn’t 85% – maybe 50% at best. And Eynman’s initiatives might never get approved.

      1. I wouldn’t bet the future of transit on that.

        We need to think responsibly, for the greater good at this point.

        I don’t want to get to a point in 2018, 2019 where we’re fighting to save the furniture and the rest of the ST3 house. Or for Sound Transit to stop at ST2. Do you?

    2. Amortize that 85% out across a sufficiently large number of years and it feels like it might as well be 0%. Mediocre transit in a long time is better than no transit ever, I guess, but I want and am willing to pay for good transit in the near future, so it’s frustrating that nobody will step up and offer it.

      1. Mars;

        You want good transit? OK then support ST3, then support electing transit boards so instead of these stuffed heads we got transit advocates who live & breathe this stuff. Get on advisory committees in the meantime.

      2. Well… here’s the thing: if we vote yes on ST3 now, when do we get to vote on an ST4 that will actually finish the job? Or will ST4 continue to dawdle along stretching the timeline out forever, too? Will ST4 actually happen soon enough that we’ll be around to care? What I’m seeing with ST3 looks like voting “yes” means I definitely won’t get what I want, while voting “no” means we keep on waiting while trends continue to move in an urban-centered direction. Maybe the case for focusing on the cities and maximizing car-independence will seem more obvious to more people in 4 years or 8 years, and we’ll have a better chance of getting a plan on the table that will actually provide an urban transit network. Or maybe it won’t – but in that case, what’s the big deal? Spine to Canada isn’t going to do anything I care about anyway, so I don’t see what I have to gain by voting for it.

      3. Mars;

        Maybe the case for focusing on the cities and maximizing car-independence will seem more obvious to more people in 4 years or 8 years, and we’ll have a better chance of getting a plan on the table that will actually provide an urban transit network. … I don’t see what I have to gain by voting for it.

        So Mars you want to change the politics by:

        a) A quixotic veto of ST3

        b) Anger transit advocates in THREE counties – and I daresay FIVE since many Skagitonians & Kitsapites commute to the Sound Transit district

        c) Give Tim Eyman 4 years to hack away and eliminate ST3 taxation authority bit by bit until we have to go back hat in hand to the state legishiture and hope for something

        Mars, you’re just plain wrong in your means for good motiviations. More transit, more places more often no matter where it is is better than less transit that disincentives density.

        The message from a ST3 veto will be about the taxes, not about the means or the end. You don’t control the media nor the opposition campaign already spinning up nor are you sitting on the Sound Transit Board or a Sound Transit Committee.

        Mars, please reconsider. Let’s make a ST3+ instead.

      4. Joe – I hear where you’re coming from, but I’m not afraid of Tim Eyman. He’s good at making noise, but he sucks at making law. In 18 years he’s run 21 initiatives, only three of which have succeeded, none of which had anything to do with tax reduction. The rest either failed to qualify, failed to pass, or failed to survive constitutional challenge. He did spook the legislature in 1999 badly enough that they killed the MVET themselves, after Eyman’s I-695 was ruled unconstitutional – but they’ve haven’t done that since, despite five more opportunities. Eyman has become a known quantity, the limits of his abilities are clear, and I’m willing to bet that his bluster is just as empty this time as it’s been all the others.

        So I’m still trying to evaluate ST3 on its merits. You’re arguing that I should vote for ST3 not because I actually like what’s in ST3, but because it’s important to vote for transit measures in general, in hopes that some future transit measure might actually offer what I want. But we’re not acting in a vacuum: ST3 is in the air because desire for more transit is in the air. If we pass ST3, enough of that desire will be satisfied that we’ll have to wait a long, long time for the next opportunity. But if we kill ST3 now, desire for more transit remains unsatisfied. We’ll get another opportunity sooner, not later, and we’ll have two or more likely four more years to work on shaping it.

        ST3 offers a plan for the 20th century; we need a plan for the 21st. Long, sprawling, suburban light rail lines like the ones offered in ST3 only make sense if we’re trying to double down on a commitment to the sprawling, low-density, auto-dependent suburbs people built in the late 20th century.

        The primary projects in ST3 are long sprawling lines through the suburbs to other cities. This is fundamentally a bad idea, because it is either a waste of money or a commitment to a harmful form of development which we should be cleaning up, not exacerbating. We shouldn’t be encouraging people to commute vast distances through low-density suburbs. We can never build enough transit to serve such areas efficiently. They will always be car-dependent; that cannot be helped. Spending our time building long-distance low-density trains means we are forfeiting the chance to double up our transit investment in areas where it can actually accomplish meaningful change: high-density, inner urban areas.

        If current trends continue, as I strongly believe they will, the importance of those suburbs will continue to decline as American populations track those around the globe in a strong, steady reurbanization. The longer we wait the less important these lines will become – unless we *force* them to become important by continuing to legislate against the environment, legislate against efficiency, legislate against health, and legislate against common sense by forcing development out into sprawl instead of letting our cities grow up naturally.

        We need to fix the lack of housing by fixing urban zoning codes. We have plenty of space in the cities; we’re just not letting ourselves use it. We need to fix the auto-dependence problem by focusing our transit investment on areas where the greatest number of people are already close to car-independence, so that each new transit amenity will tip more people over the line. That means we need to focus on high-density urban areas, extending the network out from the core along density gradients. Stretching long skinny lines through low-density areas will never accomplish this; new transit cannot offer the people in those low-density areas enough additional mobility to allow car-independence. Meanwhile, by spending all this money on these long-distance developments, we lose the opportunity to free lots of urban people from car usage in the very near future.

        So, when I look at ST3, I see mostly things I don’t want, with around 40% of what I do want coming very late in the process. What’s more, when I look at voting “yes” on ST3, what I see is a door closed on the possibility of getting the other 60%. It’s a commitment for decades. Why are we making a commitment for decades on something that isn’t going to give us what we need right now, much less give us what we’ll need two decades from now when its projects are finally complete?

  11. Seattle Subway,

    Why aren’t you advocating for a Metro 8 provisional project?

    1. This is a really important question. The Metro 8 Subway line would add so much value to the system by increasing ridership and connecting very dense areas. But even if Seattle Subway dropped the ball on the Metro 8 subway, we individuals still need to email the ST board about it, as suggested for the Ballard/UW line.

    2. I think the existing ST3 and SDOT plans will cover most of the needs that drive Metro 8. ST3 will serve Uptown & SLU with HCT, and connect to Cap Hill via transfer at Westlake. Madison BRT and Rapid Ride along 23rd between Montlake & Judkins Park station should be sufficient to serve the central area.

      1. I disagree, and Seattle Subway disagrees — the Metro 8 is in their overall light rail proposal, they just aren’t advocating for it like they should. I don’t believe Rapid Ride along 23rd is part of ST3, but even if it was (or will be developed separately), it is a poor alternative. 23rd is going down to 3 lanes (center turn lane), so all buses will be condemned to the fate of car traffic. To get people out of their cars and riding transit, we need reliable, fast and frequent service. This means out of traffic.

      2. One of the values of this line is that it connects a bunch of busy radial corridors without having to go all the way to the downtown core. Wheels may have hubs and spokes but it’s nice to have a circumference too.

      3. I strongly disagree, if RapidRide is sufficient, then why not a Ballard-UW via RapidRide and call it a day? I say this as an opponent of surface level mass transit in general. Why would one deserve grade separation above the other? The central area has historically been an area devoid of good transit and has a very high population density. While I greatly support a Metro 8 line, I know it’ll never happen in my lifetime because that’s just how things are done in Seattle.

      4. X’

        If I was asked to sign a petition for a Ballard-UW Rapidride, I’d sign it. Anything to bury the hatchets in our transit community.

        I’ve said before, I’ll say it again – ST3 is imperfect. It’s not the best work I think Sound Transit planners could do. But ST3 is the best option remaining. Anything to make a ST3+, I’m for.

        Not because I’m a fan of one planner – nope, just publicly wanting to cheerlead for somebody taking the hard miles for us transit advocates against a Board not exactly in the 2010s.

        Not just because I’m a STB fan – which I am.

        Not just because I love light rail – which I do.

        But because transit anywhere is better for ALL of us. The more transit supporters we got, the better chances we got to reduce single occupancy vehicle use.

        So anything for ST3+, let’s do. Pep talk over.

      5. Huskybone, Et Al,

        We agree that the M8/Gold line has a lot of potential and would likely be a very high ridership corridor. Unfortunately, it wasn’t on our radar when the Sound Transit Long Range Plan was completed a ways back. Once it missed being on the LRP, it was very hard to get any traction for it at all. Our ask had to be scaled back to getting study work for ST3, and it appears it will be one of the items we don’t get out of our wish list.

        That said — this is not the end for the M8. Changes at the federal and state level over the next few years could put additional expansion in play for Seattle. It’s part of why we are so insistent about provisional lines that can be accomplished. ST3 is not the end of Seattle Subway – it’s just the next step.

        Our goal has not changed: To advocate for a system in Seattle so that every Seattleite a maximum 5 minute bus ride from a subway station. The M8 is a critical part of that vision.

      6. @X – There is a RR proposal in Move Seattle for the Ballard-UW line. However, I see no ability to actually make this a BRT corridor in the traditional sense since there is simply not enough roadway to work with on 45th through Wallingford without banning cars completely.

      7. Crazy idea – what about banning cars completely? Limit 45th to local traffic only. Install automatic bollards at intersections that only allow buses to pass. Force cars onto 50th instead. Crazy enough that it just might work.

  12. So much fun when any thread related to ST3 turns into the same arguments about Ballard-UW, Paine Field, etc. that are on every other comment thread.

    Getting closer to the election has been pretty exciting, as far as following ST3 and seeing our transit reality actually improving is concerned, but has brought down the level of the discussion here, for sure.

    1. (There are interesting conversations to be had about provisional projects as a risk to the under-promise/over-deliver ethos, vs as a pairing to the conservatism of that ethos, of the value of getting a line on the map into voters heads, and if so, if they’ll be mad that it isn’t in this package, once they start imagining it, or if it just makes future funding easier, and helps this package too. Etc. But ST3 is/isn’t a disaster is getting old.)

    2. EHS;

      I’m at the point we take the B option than the “do nothing” option. It’s time to get real and improve ST3 by noon tomorrow, then fall in line behind it or roll the dice.

      1. Oh, yeah, I’m with you. It’s obviously not perfect, but it is good, and forward motion. I’m trying to say that we should move on from the debates pitting the perfect against the good, and make transit happen.

        That, and that the discussion threads have gotten especially predictable and therefore boring.

    3. Yeah, once ST3 is finalized, we can move on to more fun topics, like arguing about what should be in ST4! For those tired of arguing about Ballard-UW & Paine field…

      My vote, a mix of the ST3 HCT studies and my thoughts on where the choke points will be:
      – West Seattle-Burien-Tukwila-Renton Link, interfacing with Link at TIBS and Sounder at Tukwila station.
      – Ballard Link extension northward a station or two, possibly to Northgate and/or Lake City
      – Ballard to South Kirkland via 520 bridge … tunnel to UW village, elevated over Husky stadium and across the bridge. Will create a Ballard-Issaquah line .. strong possibility to extend a few stations on the Issaquah side.
      – Something to improve Renton-Bellevue. 405 BRT will succumb to traffic south of Bellevue without major investment from WSDT on 405 or ST along ERC or 405.
      – BRT, not rail, improvements along Bothell to Bellevue. CKC will be dead-on-arrival, and 405 BRT will be successful with the toll lanes.
      – Everett Link from downtown to Everett CC.
      – North Sounder to Marysville. I think they’ll figure out how to get N Sounder to work.
      – South Sounder gets all day service (so dedicated lines or whatever BNSF needs to make this happen)
      – Tacoma link to downtown. Not Tacoma mall. Tacoma Link will be an inadequate connection between Tacoma downtown & Link, and the downtown core will win over Tacoma Mall for Link. In this future, people have learned that good BRT works, and Tacoma Dome will become a BRT hub connecting the suburbs to Link & Sounder. I mean, I can dream, right?

      Good luck to all those speaking tomorrow!

      1. I don’t agree with some of the AJ list, but yes, if Link is going all the way to Tacoma, it should in fact go to Tacoma not some parking lot kinda sorta near Tacoma.

  13. Let’s turn our attention to getting communities to agree to more than 200-foot height limits for areas around subway stations, and at least 100-foot height limits for areas around other stations. If we are investing $50B, we need to have more from a city than a mere endorsement. If a city wants a station, show the voters the commitment to density. Endorsements without density are hollow.

    1. Let me see if I can get past moderation one last time to see what’s setting the moderation off:

      We are having to fight for the BEST ST3 we can get. 2020 is too murky to predict – for all we know Tim Eyman can take away the taxation authority and we just won’t be able to bargain it back.

      With Tim Eyman’s new initiative, I’ve got a very strong hand. I hope you folks realize this…

  14. Dan, a couple of walks on the Kirkland trail between Google and South Kirkland Park and ride, past many Save Our Trail signs, tell me they can stop worrying, at least about transit.

    There’s about a half mile of steep well-used streets with a lot of corners between the trail’s nearest pass and Kirkland Transit Center. And only way from the trail to South Kirkland Park and Ride is to add one of those steam driven Cincinnati inclines I’m not going to flickr-link anymore. Though it’d definitely attract tourists, and maybe enough kids to will scream or hold their breath and turn blue ’til their parents vote for one.

    Also, continued trail right of way, rails and all, doesn’t cross much that’s residential on the way to Bellevue. I’d really like a streetcar line on the trail- which really is a railroad. I think we could build in such a way it’s raise property values. But in this case, like in Ballard, I wish the main problem was political.

    1. The “Save Our Trail” movement has ruined the eastside’s transit potential. “Save our Trail” is a small group of rich people, many retired, who believe they are helping the community. The majority of Kirkland, Totem Lake, and Bellevue residents know we NEED a connection from Bellevue to Kirkland. This trail has been a proposed action for 50 years. Maybe there is a trail in Kirkland, but that is a small segment. I was at the Redmond ST3 Open House, and there were around 5-10 probably retired people wearing neon green tee-shirts saying “Save Our Trail”, but surprisingly, they never talked, while many other Kirkland, Totem Lake, and Bothell residents complained of the lack of focus on the North Area of the Eastside. The eastside needs either a better BRT system, with it’s own right-of-way or light rail. It’s that simple. Kirkland, Bellevue, and Redmond are the epicenters of the technology companies outside of Seattle, with Microsoft, Expedia, T-Mobile, Concur, Google, and many more. You can’t ignore the huge amounts of commuters for a small group of people who may not be here when this project is complete. Also, even if you did want the trail, this project could speed up the trail vision, as since work will be under-way in that area, Sound Transit may lay the building blocks needed to actually get this trail done, throughout the ERC.

      1. Save Our Trail = symptom of broken political process.

        As Jarrett Walker wrote last January – :

        In other words, ask: What real points of view, and real dimensions of the human experience, are not represented in this conversation? How could their absence lead us to make a bad decision even with the best of intentions, and how do we compensate for that?

        Why this? Because in many parts of society, including urban planning, the rooms in which decisions are made are getting smaller and less diverse, and that can make for worse decisions, no matter how well-intentioned the people in the room are. What’s more, creating a diverse room is harder and harder, because people are just less interested in spending any time in rooms with people who don’t share their experience — either physically or online.

        . . .

        The larger reason transit planners tend to notice small-room problems is that transit is intrinsically a win-win proposition with a long-term payoff. In fact, the longer-term your view, the more win-win it is. The most successful transit services of all — rail rapid transit in big cities — work because of the huge diversity of people who find them useful, and because they’ve had a chance to pay off in the long run, by helping the city grow around them. These are the consummate win-win services, not just because there are so many riders from every part of the society, but because so many people benefit from the economic, environmental, and social opportunities that these services create.

        There you go. I think we’re all exhausted here.

  15. Could someone explain the mechanics of what would trigger going ahead with a provisional project- First, what’s the financial threshold? Would ST have to have the entire funding for the provisional project in its coffers, or just have freed a revenue stream for a provional project (by having revenue from higher than expected tax receipts or state or federal grants), or is there some other criteria?

    Secondly, legally, does ST have any other obligations that would have higher priority than funding provisional projects, e.g. retiring existing debt?

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