By VLAD GUTMAN-BRITTEN

Vlad Gutman-Britten
Vlad Gutman-Britten

Over the coming several years, more than half of Washington’s emissions will come from the transportation sector. If we don’t act now, Puget Sound’s booming population will mean more people will clog our roads—cars will spend more time idling in traffic, dirtying our air not just with dangerous greenhouse gases but also other pollutants that contribute to asthma and other lung disease.

Tackling climate change is about so much more than cleaner cars and efficient lightbulbs. We must identify different ways of moving people around. In Puget Sound, even with a multitude of races on the ballot this November, passing Sound Transit  Proposition 1 is the single most important vote we can cast to fight climate change.

If it passes, it will stand alongside Los Angeles as among the most ambitious and comprehensive mass transit packages in the country. It means that commuters from Everett to Tacoma can choose a fast and reliable light rail system with zero tailpipe emissions over crawling on I-5. It means a more connected Seattle, so that trips to West Seattle and Ballard no longer mean hopping into a more expensive and higher polluting rideshare vehicle. Taken together, it will cut over 360 million vehicle miles per year, and the entire Sound Transit system will save 800,000 tons of annual carbon emissions—equal to burning 89 million gallons of gas.

Solving for climate change requires solutions at the scale of the problem. So rather than seeking merely to expand transit options, Sound Transit  Proposition 1 thinks bigger. As we develop greater rail and bus access, Sound Transit will also facilitate expansion of affordable and market-rate housing in areas adjacent to the growing system. This will be a game changer for how busy working families, people with disabilities, and seniors experience the system and afford our region. Studies show that families in auto-dependent areas spend 25% of their household income on transportation. In places with robust transit systems, that total falls to just 9%.

This kind of transit-oriented development doesn’t just reduce vehicle miles traveled, it can help eliminate the need for a car entirely. The American Public Transportation Association estimates that families that rely on transit, only possible with a comprehensive system, will save over $10,000 a year in fuel and other costs. This is a clear win for our climate, and it ensures that low-income communities can thrive in the heart of our region.

Environmental advocates often argue that the transition to a clean economy will contribute to broadly shared prosperity, supporting more jobs than our fossil fuel economy does. Investments in public transit are a centerpiece of that transition—Sound Transit Proposition 1 will create nearly 80,000 direct jobs  and contribute an additional 144,000 indirect ones. For comparison, the fossil fuel sector in Washington employs less than 12,000 people.

The fight against climate change isn’t just about averting disaster. It’s about cheaper living, cleaner air, and wasting less time in traffic. Vote YES on Sound Transit Proposition 1.

Vlad Gutman-Britten is the Washington Director of Climate Solutions

46 Replies to “How ST3 Helps Fight Climate Change”

  1. “In Puget Sound, even with a multitude of races on the ballot this November, passing Sound Transit Proposition 1 is the single most important vote we can cast to fight climate change.”

    Correction. Proposition 1 is the second most important vote we can cast to fight climate change.

    The most important –

    https://yeson732.org/

    Not only will it start to tax currently un-taxed externalities associated to the burning of fossil fuels for the entire state of WA (not just the Puget Sound region) it also uses the tax revenue to reduce regressive taxes, including the sales tax, the combination will help to discourage auto use, encourage transit use, and reduce tax fatigue when voters see a sales tax increase associated to Prop 1.

    1. I want to make it clear that I’m playing devils advocate here, but there’s an argument to be made that 732 could end up being just as regressive as the sales taxes it offsets. As housing costs in Seattle soar, more and more middle class people are forced to “drive until they can buy” in the auto dependant suburbs. Those who make enough to live in the city can choose to take transit and avoid the carbon tax, but no ammount of transit investment is going to make carless living realistic outside the city limits. Thus the tax might be felt most by the bottom 60% of wage earners, in exactly the same way that sales taxes are.

      1. I’ve lived in Washington State for about forty years, and still can’t figure this out. I can see where people with very large incomes would object to a graduated income tax. Though I can also think of advantages they’d gain in having an improved State to live in.

        But I cannot understand why people at the other end of the spectrum are so much against what has to be the fairest tax of all. The problem with a “Flat” tax is that the lower one’s income, the higher the percentage that has to be spent on real necessities.

        Tell me. What am I not getting here? Because I’m seeing so many people insisting on a tax system that gets them nothing but the worst.

        Mark

      2. As they’re fond of saying in the other Washington, it’s the dark side of the American dream. Everyone plans for the day they’ll be rich. It’s the same reason you can score political points by railing against the “death tax”.

        But seriously, the lack of an income tax here is ridiculous. We have among the highest sales taxes in the nation (or is it actually the no. 1 spot?) but nonetheless the state is always too broke to fund even basic needs like education and infrastructure maintenance.

      3. no amount of transit investment is going to make carless living realistic outside the city limits

        That’s nonsense. First of all, people do live in the suburbs without cars. Second of all, there are nodes of dense development and broad arterials that are reasonably supportive of bus service.

        It’s true that cul-de-sac sprawl is hard to serve with transit, but that is a caricature of the suburbs.

    2. Agreed. I cannot understand why “progressive” groups oppose the Carbon tax. Maybe the Republicans are right that the Left simply can’t abide the thought that somebody else might be able to run things better than they are. It’s pretty disgusting.

      But to the topic, I’d very much like to believe that ST3 will make a difference in carbon emissions, and I will grant that it makes a difference on the margin. But to make a real contribution it would have to be heavy rail with standing room only ten car trains every two minutes on the north end and some magical hill-climbing version of Sounder up on the Sea-Tac/Des Moines/Federal Way hill on the south end. Light Rail is just not up the to the task. It’s probably adequate in the West Side corridor in Seattle and fine for Seattle-Bellevue, but The Spine will be overwhelmed.

      1. Very much agreed on heavy rail. My thinking is that light rail is a good way to get the stations and ROW lined up and paid for as early (and thus cheaply) as we can, and then convert the system to heavy rail line by line, as demand warrants, over the next century. It’s not unheard of to do that kind of conversion, Boston’s blue line was originally built for streetcars, but got so congested they changed it to a high platform subway just a few years later.

      2. The stations would have to lengthened, so I hope that the underground stations in the new tunnel are longer than they “need” to be. It’s much cheaper to build them longer when they’re first dug than to extend them under service.

        The elevated ones can be extended much more easily.

        I am glad that all the extensions are being built as 100% grade separated. I personally prefer at-grade, private right of way LRT because it blends into the community much better. No ugly supports, you just walk right up to the train, and its easier to have lots of stations and “let LRT be LRT”.

        That said, the “Spine” is WAY too long for true LRT and the station spacing is already BART-like. Sound Transit might as well take the next step and convert it over the next couple of decades. If they don’t by 2030 it will be massively overloaded.

      3. “Left simply can’t abide the thought that somebody else might be able to run things better than they are.”

        They can’t abide the thought that it doesn’t fund their favorite causes. They have a bad case of identity politics: that everything has to explicitly do something for minority groups and certain other social groups, that that’s how to measure its value. It has been going on for decades more or less, and arose this year at a caucus my friend was in, where they were so focused on making sure the delegation was diverse that it dragged on for several hours and many people left because they had families to get back to. As my friend said, the point is not who’s in the delegation but winning the election.

        The pro-732 side (which I’m on) would say that one doesn’t preclude the other. We can have a revenue-neutral carbon tax and a progressive social-services tax, but they can be in separate bills and be debated separately. The other side either thinks a revenue-neutral carbon tax is morally wrong or is afraid its social-service initiative would fail unless it’s attached to something that has broader support.

      4. “But to make a real contribution it would have to be heavy rail with standing room only ten car trains every two minutes on the north end and some magical hill-climbing version of Sounder up on the Sea-Tac/Des Moines/Federal Way hill on the south end. Light Rail is just not up the to the task. It’s probably adequate in the West Side corridor in Seattle and fine for Seattle-Bellevue, but The Spine will be overwhelmed.”

        We have to start somewhere, and Link+Sounder is what was politically acceptable to the broadest number of people in power and voters. A perfect network does no good if it can’t get approval to be built. 4/5 of the population don’t share our urbanist-transit values for a Berlin-like network; they want something that helps them avoid driving in freeway congestion. Your argument is a variation of “If people took transit like they did in the 1920s, we’d need several times more capacity.” Yes we would, but it’s more than one step from here to there. The future is not a 1920s Seattle where 10% of the population had cars, it’s 2010s Brooklyn where 30% or 40% of the population has cars but doesn’t drive them all the time. There are conflicting arguments on whether Link’s capacity is adequate for this stage: some saying off-peak trains in Lynnwood and Everett will be empty. others saying trains in north Seattle will be overcrowded. At this point we rolled the die in 2008 and we’ll see what happens. If trains are overcrowded, that means high-capacity transit is a success and the naysayers can shut up. Transit modeshare is already 33% on I-5 nortth, which is impressive but still ignorable. If it eventually reaches 50% with Link, that might turn some heads and make more extensive transit politically feasable. If Link is nearing full, the logical next step is a lone on Aurora, or targeted express buses, or something to divert a portion of riders.

      5. I do agree that the incremental approach is the only one which will work. As you know I’m in the “it’ll be seriously overloaded” camp and it’s significantly too bad that ST3 probably won’t pass, so the second tunnel won’t get dug for another twenty years. Ballard-Downtown might be the entry point for that second line along Aurora.

        But please make this one “real” LRT with reasonably close station spacing north of 130th in the “catchment area”. And Use Linden, not Aurora. That thing will never be the right place for walk-up transit because it’s a honkin’ wide street that riders have to cross one way or the other.
        Linden runs right down the middle of a big swath of developable land.

        Of course, north of 155th it’ll have to be in the middle of Aurora, but Shoreline has done enough traffic calming to make it more useful.

        By the way, THAT would be the line that should have gone to Paine Field. Direct connections to crossing buses all up and down Aurora for Boeing folks who live in North King and South Snohomish. It’s MUCH more accessible.

    3. As Vlad says in passing, the 800,000 tons of reductions in CO2 emissions that’s the basis for this argument about climate benefits from ST3 is actually for “the entire system” at full build out.

      According to Sound Transit’s most recent estimate:

      Sound Transit 3 projects alone are projected to annually reduce the number of private vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by 362.2 million miles starting in 2040 (midpoint of range of 314-411 million miles annually). This would further reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions by more than 130,000 metric tons annually in 2040. These savings are based on the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts methodology. This approach calculates emissions and vehicular mile reductions due only to the Sound Transit 3 Plan.

      This is from page D-6 of the June 2016 draft of “ST3 Appendix D: Social, Economic and Environmental Impacts; Integration with Regional Land Use; Transit-Oriented Development.”

      (http://www.soundtransit.org/sites/default/files/Resolution%20R2016-16%20Appendix%20D.pdf)

      130,000 metric tons a year is only about 1/3 of one percent of the annual reductions we’ll need to get to the State’s official target for 2050. It’s a figure for 34 years from now (if build out is actually completed by then) not an immediate reduction. It doesn’t count the emissions from the concrete and steel that will go into the project.

      Furthermore, it’s an awfully expensive way to get the reductions it will produce. Sound Transit estimates the cost of the expected reductions from ST2’s Northgate to Lynnwood extension at roughly $612 a ton, while in California, carbon pricing and market mechanisms are producing reductions through the cap and trade system for about $13 a ton.

      There are good reasons to vote for ST3, but reducing CO2 emissions cheaply now isn’t one of them. Voting for I-732 is. It’s a shame that Climate Solutions isn’t out beating the drum for that…

  2. Reducing fossil fuel use means building transit that more people will use instead of driving. For example, building an express train from Duvall to North Bend – or building a train from Ballard to Northgate that only goes at 1 mile per hour – will, in all likelihood, do next to nothing to cut emissions.

    So, the question becomes: Will ST3 be good enough that people will choose it over driving? Even though its travel times are, along many corridors, slower than driving? This post doesn’t even touch on that question, which makes me doubt the rigor and honesty of your argument.

    1. Yes, people will choose ST3 over driving on the same corridors. They will choose it because buying a transit pass is more cost effective than buying a car. They will choose it because transit fare is cheaper than taxi fare. They will choose it because it is more convenient to their work or home. They will choose it because parking is inconvenient or expensive. They will choose it because they don’t like driving. They will choose it because they are unable to drive due to age or disability. They will choose it because they want to reduce their impact on the environment. They will choose it because at high traffic commuting times it is faster than crawling along the freeway. They will choose it because transit provides a more predictable commute than driving.

      1. Nice blanket statements there, and definitely arguable… but how many, or how few, will make that choice? We’ve already got a lot of comment threads delving into the details there; I don’t want to recap all of them here, but just point out the unstated premise.

    2. The travel times you speak of are not at peak. ST3 lines will beat peak times of adjacent travel lanes during peak 5 days a week. That’s quite a lot of emissions saved.

      1. To be fair, I’ve rarely (if ever) driven Everett to Lynnwood or Issaquah to Bellevue during peak. But looking at Google Maps historical traffic data, I don’t see solid red except for afternoon traffic into Everett. Obviously there will be accidents etc…, but on a regular basis I just don’t see how Link will beat a 60 mph bus.

        Yes, ST2 will undoubtedly be faster. But ST3? Not so much outside of North King from what I see.

      2. I just pulled up Google Maps at 8:40 AM and can assure you that all peak directions in the region are solid red at a minimum (except a 1 mile portion of I-5 N through Tukwila and a 2 mile stretch of 167 N just past Kent). There is nothing on those freeways consistently going anywhere near 60 MPH. This is not an atypical morning and none of the traffic sites are reporting any incidents.

        Add another million people to the region over the next few decades and you can see this is only going to get worse and for longer periods of the day. This is what a lot of the ST3 opponents don’t understand. If you compare ST3 and its cost to the traffic of today, it’s not going to turn many heads. What someone needs to do is run an all traffic model for the year 2040. That might turn some heads.

      3. “Obviously there will be accidents etc…, but on a regular basis”

        Accidents are regular. There’s at least one almost every day somewhere in Pugetopolis, and a particular highway segment gets hit every few weeks. That’s what’s driving people up the wall and making them demand Link to Everett and Tacoma and West Seattle: everyday congesti0on is a bummer but accidents bring an entire lane or even an entire road to a standstill for an hour or longer and traffic often backs up for five miles and people have to crawl through it, plus they can’t predict when or where it will happen.

      4. Everett to Lynnwood on Link will be 31 minutes according to the ST3 documents. WSDOT has a 95% travel time calculator (my numbers here are for an arrival time of 9 AM). It doesn’t have Everett to Lynnwood directly, but it does have Everett to Seattle (77 minutes) and Lynnwood to Seattle (55 minutes). So 95% of the time, Everett to Lynnwood is going to be 22 minutes – you save 9 minutes 95% of the time. That doesn’t include HOV access (though to be fair that probably won’t help much). Issaquah to Seattle are 21 minutes from WSDOT and 23 minutes from ST. For the afternoon commute, Lynnwood to Everett are 20 minutes and Bellevue to Issaquah are 26 minutes.

        Overall, 95% of the time, you save 19 minutes vs. Link from Everett and lose one minute going to Issaquah, though Seattle to Issaquah will be even longer on Link. Is it worth spending $3 billion (in the case of Everett) for reliability the rest of the time? That’s the question for voters.

        “What someone needs to do is run an all traffic model for the year 2040”

        Traffic models for the year 2040 are going to be unreliable. They’re based on a bunch of guesses on what development will happen where. Personally, I don’t care about Everett Link and I’m not basing my decision on that. But I do care about East King, and dumping over a billion into LRT to a strip mall area of Issaquah based on a hope that that area will get developed is absurd in my opinion. Especially since the parts of Issaquah that are denser (such as they are) are not even near there and there’s no provisions made to improve access from them to the one stop that would be in Issaquah.

      5. @David: What you are saying is, 95% of the time, if you leave after the main part of rush hour is over from a far flung city, and are only going to a suburb of Seattle, just outside of the pinch points, you’ll get freeflow speed. That much is pretty obvious.

        $3 Billion seems like a lot of money to guarantee reliability the “rest of the time”. That is a fair question, but it ignores the important question: how much value are we willing to put on guaranteeing reliability for the core rush hour people going from Everett to Lynnwood and then on to Seattle? Once we do that, then we can ask whether the remaining value is worth guaranteeing reliability. Then compare that value to what it would cost to “guarantee reliability” for drivers. That number would be well into the double digit billions.

        Of course, this is again all based on today’s population and traffic patterns, which leads me to your second argument:

        “Traffic models for the year 2040 are going to be unreliable. They’re based on a bunch of guesses on what development will happen where.”

        I call both bull and shit on this statement. This is the statement of somebody that has no idea about how traffic modeling works and is similar to those accusing the weatherman of guessing (maybe you’re a commenter from MyNorthwest?). We know VERY well where development is going to occur in the next decade and can make well informed estimates (not guesses) of the decade after that. Ignoring any traffic modeling, 1 million new people (30% growth, 50% increase in jobs) in 25 years is going to wreck havoc on traffic, nobody would argue that. And it doesn’t take many new drivers to turn your late morning jaunt from Everett to Lynnwood into a grueling grind.

        Sure, you might be taking a bold step by releasing a traffic model for almost a quarter century in the future, but guessing and unreliable, it will not be. Is there a chance it could be inaccurate come 2040? Well yeah, even the weatherman can get tomorrow’s forecast wrong; hell, even a professional sport better can lose a sure shot bet. We could fall into a recession, losing jobs and population or a meteor could hit Puget Sound and wipe everything out.

        The anti-ST3 argument IS unreliable, as it provides zero alternates, going forward, to our coming traffic crisis. It’s just people passing the buck to the next generation to avoid a tax and hoping the coming crisis won’t affect them.

  3. The ST3 supporters must be getting desperate using “Climate Change” as an argument for ST3! I believe in climate change, but I don’t believe in ST3!

    The two most important votes on the upcoming ballot on President and ST3 and I’m voting No in both cases!

    1. Fun Fact: Most transit activists are environmentalists at their core.

      * Insert The More You Know gif here.

  4. “As we develop greater rail and bus access, Sound Transit will also facilitate expansion of affordable and market-rate housing in areas adjacent to the growing system.”

    No question, Vlad. But there’ something left out of every discussion on this point for a generation or so, that could send this election to the same decades-long fate as American liberal politics in general, and maybe control of the US Presidency in a month.

    Not one word about where the residents of this housing will be able to work where they can participate fairly in the market for anything. Because for a long, wide swing of voters, the issue is not whether people can use transit to get to work. It’s where they can find decent work in a transit-oriented life.

    It’s a snickering given now how many dented pickup truck bumper-stickers will reliably oppose ST-3. Though no laughing matter at all, the percentage of reliable positive voters, and especially transit-friendly officials and corporate owners, who even know anybody that turns a wrench or lights a welding torch for a living. Or even personally programs any machining within this election’s boundaries.

    I hate the term “Post Industrial.” With Computer Numeric Control machining, we’re probably the world’s chief manufacturing power. But the last four decades have literally seen machinery pulled out of the hands of the American people. Along with the skills and experience that justly commanded those wages. And were the real gold behind our currency. And the muscle in our military. And much closer to home:

    After 26 years’ operations, the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel is by far ST-3’s strongest positive argument. But it deserved to open with a fleet of vehicles whose achievement was more than our drivers and mechanics’ ability to keep it on the road and off the towing hook. The voters I have to convince, for however many ST-s I’ve got left.

    So to me, Transit-Oriented-Development means a comfortable home in a healthy community, walking distance from union-represented work with the successor of the St. Louis Car Company. In either Ballard or South Lake Union, or both. Whose location will always give our own region the low bid for a high-quality fleet. Same plants can make wind turbine blades and mechanism too.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Your viewpoint is valuable, as the voice of the people who built the infrastructure we live in, and who know how to renew that infrastructure for the next century. It’s also the viewpoint of the industrial-union worker, which some of us never experienced and our parents didn’t either. I have some more distant relatives who did but I’ve only seen them a few times and they’re scattered across the west coast. The “post-industrial”, “information economy” rhetoric gets carried away sometimes. As somebody said in the 1980s, “You can’t eat a floppy disk.” Meaning, all that information is still not the basic necessities of life: food, shelter, etc.

      But I think we’ve turned a corner on manufacturing. Most people have realized by now that manufacturing didn’t due, is coming back, will be a major part of America’s future, and both the abstract-information work and the material-construction work are necessary to accomplish the things we’ll need to do. Both presidential candidates want to get on with an infrastructure renaissance. The sticking point is probably unions, with one side favoring them and the other opposing them. And of course, future manufacturing will not be as labor-intensive as past manufacturing, so it will have a different role in the economy. And even here in Pugetopolis, Everett is counting on a manufacturing future, either with Boeing or without Boeing. And Seattle has held onto its industrial land, thinking it might become increasingly important in the future.

  5. Here is a puzzle.

    Seattle to Portland

    To fly – maximum carbon footprint – by the time you get to the airport check-in, clear security, wait around, board, finally get in the air for less than an hour you’ve consumed about 3 hours of your time, enjoyed the stress of an airport and been crammed into a seat.

    Amtrak – minimal carbon footprint – turn up to the train station 30 minutes before departure, casually check-in, mill around for a few minutes watching other trains. Enjoy a nice relaxing train ride. About 3 hours, and a fraction of the cost, no stress, and a much more comfortable.

    My wife had done this trip a few times flying, and was getting annoyed with dealing with airports, I suggested taking the train one day, she’s never flown since, and cant understand why people punish them selves flying this short distance.

    You’d think that using the train to make this trip would be far more popular, to the point where Amtrak would be running a train every hour between these two cities.

    1. Absolutely the difference is that you can get a plane from SEA to PDX just about every hour of the day, and sometimes more often. It is that you had better want to be travelling when the train leaves, and the train had better be on time, for the plan to work. Otherwise, you end up wasting a day. This is just one o the things we need to be prioritizing.

    2. It’s not a whole day if you miss a train or it’s delayed, just a few hours. That may ruin a day’s business trip but it doesn’t necessarily ruin a weekend trip or longer stay.

  6. If ST was serious about fighting climate change the only thing it would be proposing would be a massive fleet of free to ride all electric busses. building light rail infrastructure creates carbon as well. Light rail in the subburbs and exurbs is not the solution to climate change.

    NO ON ST3!

    1. Building pretty much anything releases carbon – so, if you’re concerned about carbon emissions, you should make sure you build things where they’re worth it.

      Ballard-UW is. Uptown-SLU-Downtown is. Lynnwood-Everett… is another question.

    2. The answer is “moar transit!” or “All of the above”. Get trains on trunk corridors, get frequent buses feeding them, make them all electric, don’t waste undue time arguing about exactly what kind of trains and buses they are or whether they have wires or batteries. The right of way is the most important thing: tunnels and transit lanes compete the most effectively with cars. But if you’re going to build a new right of way, you might as well put trains on it because of their potential higher capacity and long-term lower costs. If the future turns out well and 70% of people don’t own cars then we’ll need all he capacity. The best way to get there is to provide high-quality transit so that people don’t feel their cars are as necessary. Then they can get rid of them when they’re ready to. In most of the 20th century we did the opposite: we cut out transit and replaced it with less and didn’t extend it to new suburbs, and that gave people the sense that driving was the only viable way to survive. That’s what created the current situation, which we need to reverse.

    3. If you are taking about battery driven busses (not just overhead lines), the production of lithium for the batteries is just as bad if not worse than fossil fuels extraction.

  7. If I-5 is crawling in the future, at least one of the following is probably true:

    1. Private vehicles are emitting about as much carbon as ever.
    2. We have about as many vehicle-miles per-day as ever, but are making up for it with better efficiency and alternative fuels.
    3. We have far fewer vehicle-miles per-day because the capacity of I-5 (and other parallel roadways) has been reduced.

    Adding more regional mass transit can allow continued mobility, along with population and economic growth, with minimal carbon growth. But we can only reduce carbon emissions by doing less polluting!

    1. Look at it the other way: if we don’t build high-capacity transit, we’ll have to build another freeway. Then a lot of those transit passengers will be in cars and the emissions will double.

      1. The article mentioned crawling traffic on I-5. In the situation where traffic is still crawling on I-5 there are still about as many cars on it as there are today!

        If transit is only attractive in the face of congestion and high oil prices it can’t cut much into climate change, because the conditions that create congestion and high oil prices involve emitting lots of carbon by burning oil. Transit, of course, has a role in building a more sustainable future. But we’re going to do a lot of other, harder, stuff.

  8. “Taken together, [ST3] will cut over 360 million vehicle miles per year, and the entire Sound Transit system will save 800,000 tons of annual carbon emissions—equal to burning 89 million gallons of gas.”

    So there we have numerators in the fraction showing degree of impact. What about denominators?

    360 million VMT annually saved — divided by how many total VMT per year in the region? Hint: DAILY VMT is forecast by PSRC as 120 million in 2040. Another hint: A year contains 365 days.

    800 thousand tons of annual carbon emissions avoided — divided by how many total tons emitted per year? Divided by how many total tons emitted building the system?

    89 million gallons of gasoline saved annually — divided by how much gasoline burned annually in the region? Hint: See earlier hints. Estimate miles per gallon in 2040.

    Now you are going to make me look up the other missing denominators, right? Anybody want to bet the resulting ratios will be closer to 1% than 10%?

    And just think, for only $54 billion spending over the 25 year construction period plus $100 billion more in additional ST3 taxes while the bonds are being paid off. Such a deal!

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