TIBS Link Station, southbound platform.

Mike Lindblom, The Seattle Times [$]:

Sound Transit and its allies in Congress say they’ll fight a 2018 budget proposal by President Donald Trump that yanks $1.1 billion to build the Lynnwood-Northgate light-rail extension — half of that project’s entire funding.

The White House policy change would also remove an anticipated $500 million grant for the Angle Lake-Federal Way extension, scheduled to open in 2024, and 12 other projects still in development.

The White House policy change would also remove an anticipated $500 million grant for the Angle Lake-Federal Way extension, scheduled to open in 2024, and 12 other projects still in development.

Not a good development for Sound Transit.  The agency took an additional step to issue a joint statement with Los Angeles Metro:

“The administration’s assertion that our regions can deliver transit solutions for our citizens without federal partnership is uninformed, misguided, and unfair. The voters of our communities stepped up and voted to tax themselves to provide a path out of punishing congestion. For that bold action, they should be rewarded at the federal level, not punished.

It’s too soon to speculate what exactly Sound Transit would do if it lost all federal funding.  Presidential budgets are typically thrown in the recycling bin by congressional appropriations committees, but at the same time this one does represent the ideological commitments and priorities of a large faction of the Republican party, and the Republican party does have near-complete control of D.C. right now.

Earlier this month, Congress got together on a six-month spending bill that restored funding [$] for Lynnwood link and other local rail projects (such as the Center City Connector streetcar), so it’s possible something similar may happen when the budget process resumes.

Meanwhile here in the Other Washington Heidi Groover at The Stranger notes that HB 2201 passed the House in Olympia.  The bill would lower car tabs for ST3, costing Sound Transit as much as $2B.

90 Replies to “President’s Budget Cuts Sound Transit Funding”

  1. The voters of our communities stepped up and voted to tax themselves to provide a path out of punishing congestion. For that bold action, they should be rewarded at the federal level, not punished.

    If the standard for federal subsidizes is the level of congestion induced by sprawl, isn’t that sending the wrong message?

    1. Clever but too much so. Sprawl and congestion are caused by much deeper national problems, which the federal government explicitly created to a large extent with its greenfield mortgages and redlining and interstate highway prohtam and no equivalent transit program. So to take it all out on 2017 transit projects is unfair.

    1. Maybe it is; maybe it isn’t. But whether the money comes from local funding or national-level funding, what difference does it make? It basically comes down to US treasury bonds vs Muni bonds. Right?

      Maybe in addition to trying to shift the debt burden from the federal government to local governments, the federal government could back a percentage of the Muni bonds to secure a lower interest rate, like how the VA provides mortgages to veterans at a lower rate. Seems like this could be a good middle ground if the republicans insist on zeroing transit, then democrats could purpose something such.

      Our system is such a cluster, though. Whatever happens it probably won’t be consistent, fair, or make sense.

      1. “Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.”

        It is, and transit is a very small component as to why. But if cuts to our trains is what it takes to get some people angry I’ll take it.

      2. Well, it may be. But it doesn’t have to be. I think that the local level is where we achieve the most. So, if we can get the cost of financing down (assuming we’re going into debt either way), then what difference does it really make where the money comes from? Personally, I dislike one-size-fits-all solutions, and think more local control over things in general could be a good thing.

        I’m just trying to be optimistic here.

      3. Washington state and California both send more money to the federal government than they get back in grants and programs, so it really is our money paid by us. And not by those red-state congressmen that want to cut off our transit funding.

      4. Well said, barman. Compared to most of the budget, this is not the class warfare part. This is the culture war part. This is the war against the city and the war against the states that went Democratic. This is also part of the war against the environment. Make America great again, like when a Great Lake caught on fire and all the colored people and ladies knew their place. Throw the hippies in jail for smoking pot and keep all them foreigners out.

        The man has all the horrible qualities of Richard Nixon, without any of the good ones.

      5. It’s also sudden. There was no time to plan this into ST2 before the vote or over a five-year phase out. It’s just, sorry your transit is unimportant.

      6. Washington state and California both send more money to the federal government than they get back in grants and programs, so it really is our money paid by us. And not by those red-state congressmen that want to cut off our transit funding.

        And wouldn’t it be better if the money never went back to the cesspool in D.C. in the first place?

        I doubt those red state redneck farmers are too pleased with the $46 billion in U.S. Agriculture Department cuts Trump proposed. Hedging against bad crop years is what the futures market was created for; not lining Hillary’s pocket. Too bad he’s still in favor of the ethanol subsidies which strangely enough were pushed though as being “green” renewable energy. Take the money wasted on that and give it to transit agencies to upgrade equipment. That would do a lot more for energy independence than shoving corn in the gas tank.

      7. @RossB

        “The man has all the horrible qualities of Richard Nixon, without any of the good ones.”

        I’ve been saying for a while that Trump is like Nixon without the brains.

      8. The future may be converging on libertarianism where both left and right agree to stop sending money to Washington. But there are three problems that arise with that. One is poor states that can’t afford to fund basic things. Another is recalcitrant state governments that deprive their residents, where sometimes the federal government is more fair. Third is that states don’t control their currency and can’t borrow from the Fed to stabilize recessions and jump-start things. We’ve got an enormous backlog of defeetted maintenance, deferred infrastructure, and the social safety net than any smart country would borrow to invest in for its long-term economic prosperity. Our current government is incapable of doing it but a future government might, and you don’t want to take away the tools that we may need in the future.

      9. Mike,

        Why do you care? They vote for it. Over and over. If anything, it will speed the sorting of the population into the people who want to create the future and those who cling to the past. Maybe, if we’re lucky here in the State of Washington, lots of the loudmouths who dominate The Times comments section will up stakes and move where they’re wanted.

        We can then get on with the job of solving problems in the most efficient way instead of re-litigating cultural resentments held by those to didn’t “going to San Francisco”.

      10. This budget does not dissolve federal transportation spending. It targets specific areas for cuts and continues wasteful highway spending. Sure, you can increase your local funding to make up for the loss, but you will also be sending your hard earned tax dollars to other states to blow on wasteful highway expansion. Enjoy.

      11. you will also be sending your hard earned tax dollars to other states to blow on wasteful highway expansion. Enjoy.

        Or maybe the money will be spent not on building new infrastructure at all but instead on replacing worn out bridges so that your Amazon Prime order arrives at your door in 2 days instead of ending up at the bottom of a river. America has arguably the best freight rail system in the world; built and maintained by private industry. But, if you look at tracking info, what percentage of your orders ever travel by rail? Check the hub locations where it’s transferred and see how many align with RR routes.

        That said, a really good use of federal dollars would be to incentivize immediate implementation of PTC. Get ‘er done in 6 months from yesterday an we (the tax payers) foot the bill. Get it done in 12 months and we pay 50%. Need yet another extension? Well, you just paid for the early adopters with your fines for non-compliance… Carrot and 2×4.

      12. Um, the same administration that proposed this budget wants to turn the next infrastructure package into tax credits for private investments, which in practice fund only the most lucrative toll roads and leave unprofitable things behind. Plus there’s a good chance these projects will be things the companies would have built anyway, so they’ll get tax credits for doing nothing. Somebody needs to remind them that the purpose of public investment is to fund necessary things that the private sector won’t touch, and that we still have a huge backlog of maintenance projects.

    2. Mike, I’ve always been surprised how quiet the Democrats have been about constantly losing the use of our own money. Whatever legally and Constitutionally we can do about that, might be good just to remind our opponents we can make them spend a lot to get it away from us. But also of the credit we’ll share with them if they cooperate.

      But thing about Government that the last 40 years have lost track of is that it’s really our, the People’s, own machinery for accomplishing together the purposes we can’t achieve as individuals. Including repairs and maintenance like any tool of ours. And also, and education system that makes training in its operation a priority.

      EeePC, I think attributing any philosophy or long-term plan at all gives it too much credit, but also dangerously underestimates its chance to do our country real damage.

      Thing its every nominee has in common is no experience or the slightest interest whatever in the agency they’ve just been appointed to head. Also, the wealth they’ve gained by running their previous companies into the ground.

      News media in general and Democrats in particular deserve a lot of blame for how little they’re saying, and demanding about the water supply in Flint, Michigan, were residents are now being billed for water poisoned by a Republican incompetence.

      Also, fact that the Secretary of Energy, who couldn’t remember the name of the agency he heads, is joining the Democrats in saying nothing about the tunnel that rotted out from over a long train of radioactive boxcars at Hanford.

      This Administration’s present job as it sees it: Huge final really fast return for whole industries, coal and excellent example, on their way out by sheer filthy obsolescence. Bet their reps all have stock in solar and wind.

      Personally doubt that any career named above will last as long as its damage. So I think best course of action for transit and all other public works is to get equipment, operations, training, morale and planning in as good shape as possible.

      Our official demonstration banner will be waving the Stars and Stripes on the long handle of a mop.

      And flexibly ready for anything. So however much rail, or busway we build, at least none of our tunnels will collapse on a platoon of anything radioactive at all. Also see to it that the Party that Poisoned Flint doesn’t win any water-quality authority here.


  2. Why is anyone surprised at this? It’s what Republicans have been advocating for twenty years.

    It doesn’t have anything to do with “Federal standards” or “higher value projects elsewhere”. It’s simple anti-Democratic Party peevishness by a catastrophic genetic error who should never have been born, much less stumbled into the Presidency of the United States. That and the anti-urban, anti-brown-people selfishness of the “give it to me on a platter because I’m white” Republican “base”.

    Thank goodness the Northgate tunnels are completed and the contracts for the stations let. It’s not impossible to build an elevated bus intercept there, perhaps funded by the money saved by Snohomish for Lynnwood Link. The 24/7/365 bi-directional HOV lanes do reach 103rd and perhaps WSDOT could be pursuaded to make them 3+ and enforced. It’s not the best outcome by any means, but it could work.

    And isn’t Angle Lake to Midway already funded? That’s potentially a very good bus intercept on the south end, especially if a dedicated busway under or over I-5 at 240th is built.

    It’s ironic that the least-useful part of ST2 — East Link — will not be affected at all by the new power of the Republican jihadis.

    1. Well I don’t care for your over-the-top description of most Republicans, but we have to start considering in some corners the possibility of bus-only lanes and true BRT from Northgate to Everett. I don’t want to panic, but I would like the idea of a fallback position if these catastrophic hits keep coming.

      Or at least a reassurance Sound Transit Finance has a plan of no fed grants and a diminished car tab contribution. I’d like to hear that relatively soon.

      1. Does ST have the authority to delete the expensive parking structures at suburban stations, focusing the tax-backed bond money on the transit & bus/ped access? If they can do long-term leases on the land around the suburban stations, then private developers will decide what’s more likely to make money – residential, commercial, parking, or some combination.

        Bus-only lanes are a tough sell as most places won’t want to give up rush hour road capacity.

      2. @Joe,

        The fallback position is to delete things like any sort of pre-planning or provisioning for things like 130th St station and BAR. After that the schedule will just be extended.

        ST ain’t going to substitute BRT for LR anywhere. It just isn’t going to happen.

        But hopefully at least the bulk of the fed funding gets restored for ST2 projects.

        But don’t count the R’s out yet. They hate Seattle and transit, and even though ST is more than just “Seattle”, they will stop at nothing to kill ST.

      3. ST has the authority to choose which projects to keep if revenue is lower than expected. Ped access is not really a line item since it’s so little money. Deleting 130th station would save only a couple hundred thousand. What ST can’t do (or at least won’t) is spend on non-voter approved projects while voter-approved projects are unfinished. So no 45th line. But reducing a line to BRT is within the scope of each project’s authority. In fact, it has to be considered in the EIS anyway because ST must consider all plausible solutions fairly or the EIS is invalid.

      4. Pedestrian access isn’t always cheap, especially when I-5 blocks half the walkshed. Northgate is the most obvious example, but there’s currently no good way to bike/walk between Ash Way and Martha Lake. I’m sure there are other examples where “frogger” skills are required.

      5. @Mike Orr,

        130th St station is about $75M, and adds zero net riders to the system. It is an easy target for savings. One of the few in fact. The ax will fall.

      6. It adds zero net riders because ST can’t predict what Metro will do with the bus routes.
        In reality, this stop could be extremely useful and important for bus transfers.

      7. Metro has a long range plan now. Time to redo estimates assuming the future bus network instead of nothing.

      8. @Joe,

        The fallback position is to delete things like any sort of pre-planning or provisioning for things like 130th St station and BAR. After that the schedule will just be extended.

        ST ain’t going to substitute BRT for LR anywhere. It just isn’t going to happen.

        But hopefully at least the bulk of the fed funding gets restored for ST2 projects.

        But don’t count the R’s out yet. They hate Seattle and transit, and even though ST is more than just “Seattle”, they will stop at nothing to kill ST.

        Well I certainly don’t want to hear any lectures [ot] about Sound Transit being off schedule because of THEIR antics attacking Sound Transit. I am willing to support a deal on car tabs & elected ST Boards due to the general anger out there and to prevent a statewide initiative that could do immensely more damage.

        That said, OK we give the Republicans ORCAleak: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ORCAleak . We give the state legislature a cut on car tabs and possibly elected ST Boards. What will they get in return? Oh a few new feel-good laws to pad their reelection resumes and grow integrity, reduce the palpable anger out there on car tabs and known transit advocates instead of a round robin lottery on transit boards.

        Oh and since some just don’t share my passion for electing transit boards – my agenda is so we can push radical ideas like TOD, we can make sure transit is safe & accountable to We the People, and we can stop being so damn pessimistic. Damn.

        I think that’s a damn good deal.

      9. @Lazurus — The 130th station gets more net riders because it saves people time. It also saves Metro a lot of money. Saving Metro money also saves people time, as it enables the agency to provide more service for the same amount of money.

        It is reasonable to believe that saving people time won’t lead to higher transit ridership. But if that is the case, then nothing we build will actually increase ridership. Not ST1, not ST2 and not ST3. Fair enough. I don’t believe that theory — I think better service actually leads to higher transit ridership, but it is reasonable to believe that everyone who takes transit is a “captive” rider.

        Bus so what? So what if all we are doing is making transit better for those who choose to use it. Isn’t that, by itself, worth the money. NE 130th will certainly save a lot of people a lot of time. For the money, it is probably a better value than just about any project in ST3 and a lot of projects in ST2. it is quite likely that it will save people more time than the stops at 185th and Mountlake Terrace, for example (and those are just a couple of the stops on the same extension). If we are going to cut, why not cut those? For that matter, why not just abandon Lynnwood Link altogether, and terminate at Northgate? We will have the same number of riders, according to your theory.

      10. “Zero net riders” means that for every additional rider from 130th, one less rider from further north will come because of the 30 seconds additional travel time. That’s before Metro’s long-range plan or any upzone in the station area, because ST can’t count things that aren’t certain yet. But consider it from an urbanist perspective. There are a lot of apartments between 130th & Aurora, 125th, and Lake City, and room for lots more. That means a lot of people will have access to Link, and some percent of them will use it for most of their trips and downsize their number of cars. That was our original goal. Even more, people who want that level of access but can’t afford to live closer in will move to 130th. Shoreline and Mountlake Terrace just don’t have that level of potential: there’s too many single-family houses, golf courses, large highway interchanges, etc in the way. So even if it doesn’t add net riders, I’d still vote for it because of the large number of people whose lives it would benefit, and the more it will allow people to live closer in.

      11. >> “Zero net riders” means that for every additional rider from 130th, one less rider from further north will come because of the 30 seconds additional travel time.

        Right, and if you believe that theory, then you would have to believe the same thing holds true for 185th and Mountlake Terrace. The same would hold true for much of East Link as well (South Bellevue, East Main). Entire subway systems, like those in NYC are wasting their time stopping at smaller stops every few blocks — they should all be operating as expresses, carrying people from the sparsely populated hinterlands to the skyscrapers. The whole thing is absurd.

      12. The point is that since much of the area around 130th already has 1960s-70s apartments (the least desirable ones), it will be easier to get more of them around them because the area has already “gone to the dogs”. Shoreline’s upzones are impressive but it will probably be more difficult to expand them later because the single-family neighborhoods around them will be more upscale and they’ll argue that they already did their part. The result is a larger number of people living around 130th Station than the other stations, which is why the station is more worthwhile.

        One thing I forgot to mention, 130th Station hasn’t gone through EIS yet. The Lynnwood Link EIS merely allows for a station, to be studed at a later date. So depending on when construction is scheduled to begin, doing a year-long EIS for 130th Station might hold it up, and that might dissuade ST from accelerating the station.

        But there is such a thing as public pressure, which is how we got the station into ST3 in the first place. However, North King will have to think about what else in ST3 to postpone to make room for it.

      1. A great example of “give it to me on a platter” reasoning. If you don’t know American history enough to recognize that the current Republican party is the party of racists, you need to go back to eighth grade and take the whole class over again. The parts of the country which are reliably Red are primarly the old Confederacy and the agricultural high plains. The parts of the “swing states” which are reliably Red are the parts which are overwhelmingly Euro-American and old. It’s all around you; open your eyes. And your mind.

        The historic Republican party was in fact the driver of the fight against slavery and, until the early 1960’s a strong advocate of Civil Rights legislation and its enforcement. Like it or not, the reason that Republicans hate transit — and they surely do — is because it benefits disadvantaged communities more than it benefits them. In fact, without it many disadvantaged communities would become non-viable. Transit gets them to their jobs serving the rich.

        Not entirely, but largely, disadvantaged communities tend to be peopled by non-European-Americans except in declining rural areas where there is no transit anyway.

      2. >> Spare me the anti-brown crap.

        You don’t think the policies are racist, or have racist undertones? You don’t think they hurt people of color way more than they hurt white people? Where have been, man. His whole campaign was based on white anger over perceived government preference for people of color.

        It is simply an extension of such attitudes that have driven the Republican Party since Richard Nixon. Once the New Deal programs got extended from poor and middle class white people to poor and middle class black people, right wingers jumped into action. Welfare and federal programs were no longer supporting hard working white people who were simply born on the wrong side of the tracks, but lazy blacks, too busy having kids to go out and look for a job. The war on drugs was just a way to throw hippies and blacks into jail* and thus disenfranchise them.

        Trump knew the Nixon script well, even borrowing some of the same slogans (silent majority). Jeff Sessions is very much interested in continuing the drug war, knowing full well that people of color will be the main casualties. Then you have the immigration policy, which is intended to keep out Muslim terrorists, yet somehow manages to skip over the country that gave birth to Al Qaeda as well as any of the countries that the 9-11 attackers came from. It is simply symbolism meant to please the anti-Muslim, xenophobic, and yes, anti-brown sentiment held by many in the right.

        >> Man, now I know why he won.

        Somehow I doubt that.

        * http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/23/politics/john-ehrlichman-richard-nixon-drug-war-blacks-hippie/

      3. i didn’t say racism is not a problem so spare me the preaching my long winded fellows. However equating urban transit woes with racism, now that is of a bizarre nature. Being one who grew up in rural white america but having lived in urban centers the majority of my life I can tell you that racism is not the motivating factor for not funding public transportation. It is strictly based on economics and immediate benefits. An orchard-ist or a wheat farmer sees no immediate economic gain in his/her tax dollars being spent on a 130th str LR station. He/she can give a rats ass about what the race of a person is who uses it. Chances are he’s never left his rural county and has never ridden rail, except maybe after retirement. He/she is only going to vote down things that have no meaningful benefit.

      4. “He/she is only going to vote down things that have no meaningful benefit.”

        They have meaningful benefits. What you mean is there’s no direct benefit to them specifically.

        Thank you for confirming the selfishness of these voters.

      5. >> It is strictly based on economics and immediate benefits. An orchard-ist or a wheat farmer sees no immediate economic gain in his/her tax dollars being spent on a 130th str LR station. He/she can give a rats ass about what the race of a person is who uses it.

        Of course not. You are missing the point. He sees programs like mass transit and welfare as benefiting only urban folks. He sees urban folks as a mix of lazy, poor people of color and rich white elitists. This explains why agricultural subsidies and military spending are OK, but spending money on AFDC is not.

        From chapter seven of the book America Becoming: Racial Trends and Their Consequences, Volume II (2001) (https://www.nap.edu/read/9719/chapter/8):

        Attitudes toward welfare spending are correlated with racial attitudes (Bobo and Smith, 1994:389), and opposition to welfare among White voters has been shown to be related to attitudes toward race (Gilens, 1995, 1996).

        Again, it wasn’t always this way. In the post war period, New Deal programs weren’t seen as benefiting primarily people of color (in part because they had restrictions designed to do the opposite). But once poor people of color got their fair share, conservatives ran a very successful propaganda campaign linking race and social programs.

    2. We’re not surprised by it. We’re just reporting that it’s happening now.

      This has nothing to do with North Link (up to Northgate). That will be finished with local funding. It’s about the Northgate to Lynnwood segment. So they can’t take the money out of Lynnwood Link because that’s what they’re trying to find.

      Lynnwood Link is split between North King and Snohomish, so depending on how the cuts impact shares equity, ST may be able to build half the line to 185th. Snoho could potentially lend its money to North King in return for reciprocation afterward. Practically everybody agrees that Lynnwood is the highest priority after Northgate because of the opportunity to redeploy literally hundreds of bus runs, and the unique severity of congestion in the north end.

      1. P.S. Truncating buses at Northgate is not on. Northgate Way is already at capacity. Even if it weren’t it would take significant time for buses to turn-turn-turn into the ttsnsiiy center. Or an e pensive new rsmpvor flyer stop. If the buses stopped at an inline stop like Mountlake Terrace, where would they turn around?

        I don’t know about truncating at 185th,.

      2. >> If the buses stopped at an inline stop like Mountlake Terrace, where would they turn around?

        At the next available exit. I don’t think there is any way a bus could work its way over to 205th in time, so 175th would be the soonest. Att that point you might as well serve 145th. That is what the 512 does (serve Mountlake Terrace inline stop and then get off the freeway at 145th). There are special bus-only lanes for that right now, but they are in the right lane. So instead of serving those exact stops (designed to allow the bus to get on the freeway again) it simply turns around close to the 145th station. This is less than ideal, but would still save a huge amount of service time. For a lot of riders, it would save them trip time as well. Given the stops along the way (Northgate and the UW) I would imagine most people would come out way ahead.

        Unfortunately, running all the way to Mountlake Terrace is expensive. By then you are almost at Lynnwood. What seems possible, though, is terminating at 145th. You still have the same problem — getting off the freeway at 145th is less than ideal — but you still save a huge amount of service time and avoid the worst traffic (which exists south of there). Since most of that work is in Seattle, I could see Seattle putting up the money, as long as it included NE 130th. Just those two stops would be a big improvement over Northgate. Buses quickly turn around after leaving the freeway, and you connect much better to Lake City, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore and Bothell. It still doesn’t have the bus ramps that Lynnwood has (which makes Lynnwood the ideal terminus if you aren’t going to build any ramps) but it is much better than Northgate.

        Oh, and I could even see some some relatively cheap improvements being made to 145th. The exit ramp has a shoulder, which could be used as a lane (https://goo.gl/maps/KhR62PV857B2). So the left lane is for turning left and going straight (as it is now), the current right lane is for transit and the current shoulder on the right becomes the lane for turning right. That doesn’t look horribly expensive, but it could speed things up there. Similarly, the lane to the right of the truck carrying Mexican Products (https://goo.gl/maps/vDmgp9bJRXK2) could be a “straight only, except for transit” lane. That way a bus could pass all those cars turning left and then into the bus lane that will be added as part of the 522 BRT project (I assume there will be a bus only lane where those cars are parked — https://goo.gl/maps/4G9XiE9Wdau).

      3. les,

        You’re probably right about the orchardist and probably most wheat farmers caring more about the economics of transit. Somehow or another the surviving farmers of Red states nationally and Red counties locally think that cities such as Seattle and its environs are flaming Detroit ’64’s. That King County alone supplies nearly one-half (42%) the State’s total revenues with less than one-third of the State’s population (32%) is completely missing from the news on Faux so they think they’re funding Seattle when the opposite is the reality.

        Pretty rich slackers they’ve got there in King County, no?

        In any case not one dime of that orchardist’s or that wheat farmer’s taxes are going to fund the 130th Street station that you hate so much. The Federal contribution to ST2 was to have been merely 13%, so something on the order of $6 million total. Maybe a thousandth a cent between Mr. Wheat and Ms. Apple will pass through the Federal treasury to Sound Transit, but certainly not even a whole penny.

        So don’t let the ignorance of orchardists be a reason to defend the Calvinist unwillingness of Republicans to invest in the Hell-holes that are Cities. As Ross pointed out, this isn’t about economics, it’s about the white-sheet team burning crosses in jubilation.

      4. “$6 million total would be for 130th Street.”

        And Mike, I lined out how to make an elevated bus transfer facility “next to the Link station”. It wouldn’t be cheap, but the buses wouldn’t be stuck in traffic on 1st NE or Northgate Way either.

        Your musings about Mountlake Terrace or 185th seem pointless. Sound Transit isn’t going to build to 185th and stop when it runs out of money, for instance — though that might be just as good a site for an elevated bus intercept. They can’t build anything farther north without another maintenance facility, and there’s nowhere south of Lynnwood to site one.

        As I understand it, when Northgate Link opens and the new trains arrive the existing MF will be bursting at the seams, and ST will be parking a couple of trains at each of the end stations, if only to keep the sixteen cars out of the MF yard overnight. Obviously this makes crewing them very difficult; their operators will have to be at check-in an additional 30 minutes earlier to be sure that they can be ferried to the trains and then bring them up in time to be ready for service.

        The Eastside MF will be built, but it’s sized primarily to serve East Link.

      5. And I’ll correct myself on the contribution to 130th. Assuming as noted in the post that Lynnwood Link considered alone was to have been paid for half with Federal funds, the total Federal contribution would be between $30 and $40 million, depending how fancy the station is and how carefully the engineering of the alignment built prepares for it.

        So maybe a penny after all.

        Much less than the price supports Mr. Wheat receives back from Uncle Sugar. And he’s just one guy, not the thousands per day who will use the station.

    3. Why is anyone surprised at this? It’s what Republicans have been advocating for twenty years.

      I see no indication in the post or any comments that suggests anyone here being “surprised.”

  3. Maybe ST will start cutting out the waste found in such components as the 130th st station and the wasteful Ballard Line.

    1. Those are ST3. ST2 is more essential to the region’s mobility than ST3. If grants disappear, ST will plod along with ST2 until it’s eventually finished. I don’t know what it will decide on the various ST3 projects; you’ll have to wait and see. It all depends on the revenue and projects in each subares. ST may cut off everything at 2040 and roll the remaining projects into an ST4 vote. That’s what it did in ST3.

    2. >> Maybe ST will start cutting out the waste found in such components as the 130th st station and the wasteful Ballard Line.

      Are you trolling? Seriously, I wonder if you are just trying to be a provocateur. If so, well done, sir. You will now get a response to your ridiculous assertion that the Ballard Line and NE 130th station are wasteful.

      The station at NE 130th is the closest one to Lake City and Bitter Lake. Those two neighborhoods have more densely populated census blocks than anywhere between Martha Lake and Northgate. It stands to reason, then, that they will be more popular than any stop between Northgate and Lynnwood. Building a station there will not only save a lot of people a lot of time versus the alternative (145th or Northgate) but also enable a solid grid for the north end. Metro will finally be able to justify connecting those two neighborhoods, as well as providing a way to get onto our most popular bus (the E) from the west side.

      The Ballard Line is by far the best major project of those slated for ST3. It is by far the best value in terms of riders per dollar spent (http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2016/04/06/youve-got-50-billion-for-transit-now-how-should-you-spend-it/). There is no break down in time saved per rider per dollar spent, but it stands to reason that it is even better in that regard. It is where you have the most congestion — it is where you will gain the most speed over bus service (in many parts of ST3, bus service will actually be faster for many trips). It is also where you are likely to have a higher percentage of shorter (non-espress) trips. Lots of people will likely take the train from Ballard to Lower Queen Anne, but very few will take the train from Fife to Star Lake.

    3. If ST3 starts to cut lines and stations, Sound Transit will be delivering an end product nobody voted for. This will cause a lot of friction for people. You need to remember people voted selfishly, wanting lines and stations in their neighborhoods. If there is no direct benefit from ST3, people who voted “Yes” will feel cheated.

    4. They can’t expect lines and stations that aren’t paid for. That’s like if you go to a restaurant and order a $20 pizza and say you’ll pay $15 cash and here’s a $5 grant from your uncle saying he’ll pay the rest. But then the uncle says no he won’t pay the grant, and a recession occurs and your salary is cut so now you only have $10. If you don’t have the full price you don’t get the pizza, no matter whether you voted for it or not. The only thing you can do is hold a bake sale to try to raise the amount the grant would have covered, or ask for half a pizza or just get cheese with no toppings.

    5. FWIW, Metro’s LRP in 2025 has a Frequent route on 125th/130th from Lake City to Greenwood and north to Shoreline CC. And another Frequent route like the 75 but continuing west on 125th and south on 5th like the 41. In 2040 these are combined into one route from the U-District to Sand Point, Lake City, 130th Station, Greenwood and Shoreline CC. The other part of the 75 on east Northgate Way is replaced by another route from Ballard (15th) to Lake City.

  4. For what it’s worth, I’d rather have HB 2201 + an elected Sound Transit Board than the alternatives. Alternatives like turning back our light rail dreams completely. Alternatives like not having diverse voices on the transit boards. Alternatives like NO car tab contribution to ST3.

    Yeah, I can dream real dark. I support the upcoming hearings to clear the air and put final resolution to this. Nobody is going to look good – especially state legislators who didn’t read the fine print, and I’m fine with that. Especially if we get more democracy out of it… ;-)

  5. Republicans: this together with gutting science funding is what pushed me from registered indie often voting Republican to registered Dem who voted for Hillary. If you’re really approaching things from a fiscal conservative perspective, this kind of stuff has the least bottom line impact on the Federal budget, deficit spending, and national debt. It’s just like when retailers tell us “save $1 when you spend $100.” Frankly, your targets for budget cuts have more to do with your social agendas than the bottom line of the budget. Unless you want to keep alienating fiscal-conservatives-at-heart who happen to live in urban centers to be close to jobs, please wake up!

  6. Let’s keep in mind that what our State Legislature is doing is actually worse than what Trump is proposing, from a democratic perspective. Trump’s budget is substantively terrible, but pulling back the grants now is within the range of discretion the authorizing law grants. It’s certainly at odds with Trump’s campaign promises regarding infrastructure spending, but if congressional Republicans were to pass a budget it’s well within the sort of thing they routinely promise to do in their campaigns.

    Our state legislature, on the other hand, is saying to the 55% who voted for the ST package they authorized to go to hell because they elected to pander to a Seattle Times-led astroturfed tax revolt.

    It’s not the way I’d set things up, but if we’re going to transit by referendum, we really, really need the state legislature to respect the basic norm of not just going and rewriting the thing on a whim, because some loud people complained. We need to have some confidence the agency we’re voting to empower will be allowed to do what we’re voting for them to do.

    Trump is a huge threat to democratic norms and governance, but in this narrow case, the Washington State legislature is a greater threat to it.

    1. As to;

      It’s not the way I’d set things up, but if we’re going to transit by referendum, we really, really need the state legislature to respect the basic norm of not just going and rewriting the thing on a whim, because some loud people complained. We need to have some confidence the agency we’re voting to empower will be allowed to do what we’re voting for them to do.

      I would like a real debate with those pushing for these car tab reductions. Yeah sure we do a deal on car tabs against the ST3 pledges and we give them (probably) elected transit boards which if so we transit advocates will win an easy majority.

      Is that going to be The End so Sound Transit can get to work or is this our future now so the State Senate Republicans can keep some… bullet-point candidate in to replace the wit and wisdom that was the late State Senator Andy Hill?

  7. The ideas of the extreme right wing of our political spectrum has been ever more powerfully defining our politics for at least forty years. Won’t grace them with the name “Conservative” because there’s nothing of that description about them.

    The Progressive Movement of the early 20th century was beneficial. It gave us the civil service. But it wasn’t known for its affection for participation by the poor in our politics. Meaning meaning most of our population, whom they felt favored corruption.

    So think it’s telling that for that exact length of time, the far right’s opponents have stopped calling ourselves “Liberal.” And what it tells could be exactly why our country’s worst political worst has been steadily tightening its grip like a python preparing its dinner for two generations.

    In 2009, the new Administration’s first move after Inauguration was to give the bankers responsible for the Crash of 2008 nothing of what they deserved, like jail, and everything they wanted, starting with return of all their money and the power that went with it.

    Shortly afterward, the Democratic effort at national health care immediately not only swiftly discarded the “Single Payer” model, favored by many modern industrial countries, but also the extremely moderate and popular “Public Option”, giving us a real choice about our health coverage.

    And also dragged about twenty doctors and nurses off the hearing floor in handcuffs for demanding to be included in the discussions. Where insurance industry lobbyists had recently been royally welcome.

    2010 election results. The permanent shredding of the Democrats’ victory two years before before, showed the electorate’s assessment of that strategy.

    Fact that so many factory workers, loggers, miners, fishermen and others in trades where you can get worse things than your feeling hurt any day at work vote for politicians who hate them worst could be this.

    In most of the non-Information Technology world, anybody whose first response to an determine violent attack is to back away deserves to get the crap kicked out of them.

    A long way from accepting physical political violence. But recent event on MAX in Portland, and some similar treatment of girls in scarves here, indicate that forty years of accommodation don’t prevent it either.

    Whatever the character description of two the two MAX passengers who got killed and one damned near the other night for being truly moderate and courteous, a political party that wants the chance to govern needs to claim it for a label.

    Mark Dublin

  8. This should come as no surprise.Trump never does anything that does not feed his conservative base and/or somehow puts money in his pocket. Everyone should know that conservatives DGAS about anyone other than themselves and how they can wring money out of others for their own benefit.

  9. This is obviously part of his plan to steal from the poor and give to the rich. Redistribution of wealth it sure looks like it.

    1. steal from the poor and give to the rich. Redistribution of wealth

      Just how much can you “steal” from the poor? When you define “stealing” as a reduction in redistribution from the rich to the poor that’s pretty much the embodiment of the strategy to relegate a dependent classes to a lot where they have no option other than to rely on government support. Sadly, transit and infrastructure spending in the federal budget is held hostage to this method of buying votes.

  10. A couple of thoughts:

    1) If we do find the money to build north of Northgate, it should include the NE 130th station from the get go. The reasoning given before (it would screw up the grant) was dubious then, and it is absurd now. If Seattle has to find the money (via ST money or Move Seattle money or something else) it should.

    2) Can ST3 money be put into ST2 projects? It would be silly to someday build a line north of Lynnwood if it doesn’t go south of there. Building this with ST3 tax money would certainly delay things (and maybe screw up the full ST3 build out unless federal funding came in later) but it might speed up the most important work (ST2 work).

    1. Just a thought. Delay building that parking garage in Lynnwood as long as possible.

    2. 1) If the Fed grant completely falls through, then yeah I’d hope 130th would be scoped in.

      2) For all intents & purposes, yes ST3 tax revenues is currently being spent on current projects. In turn, ST2 taxes will pay for ST3 projects in the future. ST is not setting aside ST3 monies in an escrow account and then borrowing to pay for ST2 projects. That’s my understanding from the financial reports I have read.

      1. 1) But why wait? It isn’t like the federal government is saying “We will pay for this, but don’t try and make it better, by adding a station”. They are basically saying “We don’t care what the old grant said — we aren’t paying for any of it”. They might change their mind, but it sounds like the details of the old plan (it not having 130th) will have nothing to do with we get money or not.

        2) That being the case, I think the articles here are very misleading. ST2 projects are not in danger, ST3 projects are. Snohomish County simply shifts money from Lynnwood-Everett over to Northgate-Lynnwood. In other words, it is quite possible that we won’t get to Everett (unless a future administration grants us the money) but we certainly have the money to get to Lynnwood.

      2. 1) RossB is right, the reason ST postponed 130th was it said it would invalidate the grant application and throw away the priority it had received. But if the grant is dead anyway, that argument vanishes, so put 130th back in its rightful position (which would also save net money by building it with the track rather than after). However, I’m doubtful ST would do this because it considers 145th, 185th, MT, and Lynnwood higher priority.

        2) We think of it in terms of “the ST1 tax stream”, the “ST2 tax stream”, and “the ST3 tax stream”, but all of them were approved for ST3. ST can probably reorder projects between ST2 and 3, and it can backfill “ST3 money” for ST2 projects if there’s a shortfall. Practically everyone agrees that the ST2 projects are the most essential ones, so there’s no reason to put anything in the way of any of them. Lynnwood Link is a tiny cost compared to the whole of ST3, so it will be completed, if not by 2023 then a few years later. Everything else in North King and Snohomish will be rescheduled after that if necessary.

      3. 1) B/c we might still get the money, and it’s enough money that it’s worth waiting for (~$1.5B?). IMO, it’s still likely the grant will come through, albeit less likely than a few months ago.

        2) I still firmly believe nothing is at risk because the taxes are permanent until the projects are delivered. Lack of Federal funding is not different than a recessions or cost overrun: financial constraints might push back timelines, but it shouldn’t impact project scope unless people want to build faster.

      4. @AJ — My point (and the one Mike is making) is that having NE 130th as a station won’t make any difference as to whether we get the money or not. If anything, you could make the case that our willingness to pay for more — to improve the line — justifies the money more than ever.

  11. They really should look at cutting one of the Shoreline stations, like 185th. These areas have no density and I read a while back that the neighborhoods sued the city over the upzonings around the stations. Seems like a no brainer to not reward those raging NIMBYs on steriods. Especially since 130th would serve the densely populated Bitter Lake and Lake City transfers.

      1. Right, but it’s not going to do any good if none of them are willing to budge and sell to developers who want to build more density.

      2. That’s not what I’m seeing. There are at least 3 groups of homeowners in the 145th station area who’ve aggregated parcels to get over 20,000sf (and thus meet shorelines min lot size requirements for full 70′ height build out) and are actively looking for buyers.

    1. Also, why in the world did they site BRT on 145th which barely connects any existing density. If these BRT projects were diverted to connect Bitter Lake and central Lake City with a 130th station, they would serve low-income, diverse populations and existing affordable housing. The choice to site the Shoreline stations in mostly white neighborhoods and connect the mostly white areas of Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, and Bothell with fancy, new BRT projects, while completely skipping Bitter Lake and Lake City seems extremely discriminatory.

      1. 145h BRT was specifically requested by those cities, and I believe will be primarily funded with East King money. Serving Bitter Lake or Lake City would come out of Seattle’s ST3 budget and would need to be prioritized against existing Seattle ST3 projects.

      2. There’s a lot of old thinking around 145th (and Northgate). In the 1980s they were seen as good places for P&Rs. When Link was drawn up, the powers that be assumed those would be the best places for stations because they could leverage the existing P&Rs rather than buying up new land, and they assumed most riders would come by car. Since then walk-up ridership and density have proven themselves more. East King is paying for 522 BRT, so they get to say where it goes to. They believe 145th will render shorter travel time to downtown than 130th would, and they don’t care about going to Lake City or serving the 130th corridor. Metro is likely to ramp up the 372 to the same service level as the BRT (and use the same stations and BAT lanes), so that’s how people in Kenmore will get to Lake City when they want to.

      3. In addition to what Mike points out, placing a station on the north side of 145th (i.e. outside the Seattle city limits) allows the station to have a giant concrete carhole and avoid Seattle’s moratorium on providing garages at in-city stations. It’s one of, if not the main, reasons that the station is actually at 147th and not terribly useful for quick transfers from crosstown bus service on 145th. That station’s function is almost solely to provide parking for several hundred cars and serve as a terminus for the 522. The station at 130th will provide a far better intercept of crosstown transit and will link two areas that can take a great deal more density in Bitter Lake and Lake City.

        It would be an interesting idea to run a ramped-up 372 all the way to Roosevelt station, providing, along with other routes, Lake City with direct service to three Link stations–Roosevelt, Northgate, and 130th. While 130th will be by far the quickest from the heart of Lake City, Roosevelt would be useful for people south of about 115th (Northgate will forever be a time sink best avoided unless actually going to the the mall itself). This entire area has great potential for further densification as it is fairly flat, has a relatively small potential NIMBY population, and despite already being denser than anything north of the U District/Ballard has available developable land in the form of car lots and older, small apartments.

      4. Well blow me down, said Popeye, Metro’s LRP is a tangled mess on Lake City Way and all the plausable streets south and west of it. There are at least four overlapping routes on parts of Bothell/Lake City Way, 25th, 145th, 130th, Northgate Way, the Roosevelt area, and I-5. At least two are Rapid, one Frequent, one Express. None of them look like 522 BRT so I guess it’s not on the map. There are differences between 2025 and 2040 that I can’t make sense of. So it looks like Metro is throwing a lot of service at Lake City Way going various places. I can’t tell if any of them are close enough to Roosevelt Station. The 25th routing goes around via UW Station and Pacific Street to U-District Station. There’s an Express like the 522 but to Boren Ave and Cherry Street.

        If we want a route specifically between Lake City and Roosevelt, we’ll need to advocate for it when the restructure comes up. It’s not clear to me whether any of Metro’s ideas serve Roosevelt Station.

  12. As much as I don’t like Trump, I could see this coming. From the moment Trump took office the strategy has been about resistance, not conventional opposition. Just like the Republicans did with Obama, the Democrats decided not to cooperate with the Trump in any way, shape or form, and some wouldn’t even consider a single GOP nominee for a cabinet post. Local officials said they wouldn’t cooperate with the federal government on prosecuting illegals. And now you expect Republicans to give us a billion dollars for mass transit? Seattle is deserving of this funding, but politics is politics, folks. Seattle is arguably the most leftist city in the country. A lot of politics is, unfortunately, about sticking it to the other guy as much as helping your own, and politics is a fact of life. The irony is that the suburbs are more Republican, and if Congress enacts this budget, they will be hurting their own people. But a lot of this funding will make it back into the budget before Senate Republicans have at it. It won’t be the full 1.1 billion, though.

    1. So, it’s bad when the Democrats do it but just fine when Republicans do it. Is that right?

      1. In what way was Republican opposition to Obama not “conventional”? Under Reid, the Dems never actually put together budgets through the conventional process, so hard to blame Republicans for being inflexible there. Re: Supreme Court, if you say Garland, I will say Abe Fortas and Judge Bork. And don’t forget that the Republicans approved Sotomayor and Kagan. Obama never went to Congress on any foreign affairs matters – Hello Libya, Syria, and Iran.

      2. Abe Fortas was nominated by Lyndon Johnson and blocked by Republican Senator Robert Griffin.

        Had Democrats “cooperated” with Republicans in Congress this year, this exact cut to the budget would have occurred. Trump has no motivation to give anything so why give him anything back?

      3. In 1968 the both the House and the Senate were controlled by a Democratic majority. A coalition of Republicans and Democrats blocked the nomination of Johnson crony Abe Fortas. It was also during the lead up to the pivotal 1968 election. Which it is somewhat relevant to the nomination by President Obama to replace Justice Antonin Scalia (read up on what Joe Biden has said about that scenario).

        Abe Fortas was nominated by Lyndon Johnson and blocked by Republican Senator Robert Griffin.

        Yep, that’s pretty much how today’s mad stream media would “report” it.

  13. This is a proposed budget, not a done deal. Look at the 6 month budget extension. Democrats managed to get some significant compromises (increased NIH funding, no wall) that made the bill more popular among Dems than Reps.

    If this monstrosity of a budget is the starting point for Congressional negotiations, let your Senators and Representatives know which parts of the budget are most important to you. If Jayapal and DelBene and Reichert and others hear local residents say that ST2/ST3 funding is critically important, they will fight more for it in a compromise budget (or in Reichert’s case oppose it less). If they only hear people complain about cutting Social Security and increased military spending, transportation might get lost in a grand bargain.

    1. Right, we haven’t lost the grant yet. This is just the announcement of a hurricane against it. That doesn’t mean the hurricane will necessarily blow it away.

  14. Not exactly sure what the fuss is all about. Maybe ST can use some of the ST3 money for ST2 also. $54B is far and away more than ST3 should truly cost without corruption.

    If our own crippling requirements for getting anything productive done in the Puget Sound on a reasonable timetable didn’t slow everything to a halt, ST2 sbould have been completed already. This would all be a moot point.

    1. It’s only $28 billion or so. The rest of the $54 billion is the effect of interest payments and inflation over the 25-year lifetime of the project. As for costs, you can add them up yourself. It’s roughly $5 billion for the Everett extension, 5 billion for West Seattle, etc. that’s 10 of the 28 right there.

      Other countries like Canada can build a line for half as much, but they have a completely different regulatory and cost environment. We are subject to EISes, “Buy America”, commuter rail regulations that require the cars to be as big and heavy as freight trains (unlike the DMUs used in the rest of the world which are like light rail), privately-owned mainline railroads that charge a huge profit to allow a commuter-train run on their track, different labor costs, employer-funded medical insurance, etc.

  15. Everyone should remember that this is just Trump’s proposed budget. It will be modified by Congress, so its cuts to transit are by no means a certainty.

  16. This post and the May 25 Lindbloom story focus on ST2 Lynnwood Link. Please note that the Trump skinny budget targets several northwest transit projects that do not yet have their full funding grant agreements (e.g., Swift, Tacoma, Federal Way, CCC streetcar, Madison BRT). See: http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/transportation/trump-budget-would-withhold-money-for-7-transit-projects-in-state/

    The final federal budget is unknown. What is known, is that the debate will lead to uncertainty and probably to delay.

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