21 Replies to “Podcast #51: Load Factors”

  1. Thanks for taking my question. I already have the one for the next mailbag lined up…. or two, or three.

    I do think though a competitive bid process will put pressure on municipalities to ease up on Sound Transit. Every penny spent on an office is one less penny to speed up ST3.

  2. ~36:00….10% cost overrun?? Prosaic and quaint? Guys, the $500 million projected cost escalation for Lynnwood Link announced this summer is way more than 10% and hardly quaint.

    1. Well, it’s mostly a result of the greed of Shoreline,s and Mountlake Terrace’s city councils. Cut it back to 130th, build an elevated bus intercept over I-5 and call it good.

      Show me some real data that says Snohomans and Shoreliners really want a train, and maybe we can talk. If they do really want it, they’re showing their love in really strange ways.

      1. Setting aside your hyperbolic claims, the data you’re seeking is easily available by reviewing the election results for ST2 from 2008.

    1. (This was in reply to Joe’s comment above. I’m sure I clicked ‘Reply’, so I’m not sure how this ended up as it’s own top-level comment.)

  3. Did you guys think perhaps you were swayed/blinded by Kubly love? Based on your angst over his cons (you admitted he stunk on the execution side, the reports he was horrible to his staff) that perhaps you take a more objective/circumspect view towards transit officials as opposed to fan-boys?

    1. Sorry if that sounded harsh. But this gets back to my concern that STB did not reach out to anyone in SDOT regarding their proposal, their thinking/justifcation (What were some of the thoughts that Amazon/Expedia will even exist in 18 years, much less be based in Seattle?). It is sort of like sports reporters, asking the coach tough questions “Why didn’t you give the ball to Lynch on the one yard line, etc”

      1. I am not a Ballard/UW dead-ender and was pleasantly surprised by the SLU alignment.

        Someone asked us what we thought of Kubly, we disclosed our relationship, and then we discussed pros and cons. I’m not sure what else you want us to do.

  4. “this gets back to my concern that STB did not reach out to anyone in SDOT regarding their proposal, their thinking/justifcation (What were some of the thoughts that Amazon/Expedia will even exist in 18 years, much less be based in Seattle?)”

    The region clearly dropped the ball in not having high-capacity transit to SLU, and the SDOT alignment rectified that. What else is there to say? You want a station moved a block or two? If Amazon vanishes, other companies will take the space. The only way that wouldn’t happen is if there’s a major retraction in the region’s economy, or if companies reverse their back-to-the-city movement again. If several SLU buildings go vacant, Paul Allen will try some other kind of hub theme to attract other companies. I can’t even remember what his first attempt was (maybe the Commons, or maybe something before or after it), but the second one was a biotech hub, and when that didn’t amount to much either, the third one was the current tech/cloud computing hub.

    1. As opposed to building a Ballard to UW line that will be much faster to build and provide a much needed East to West alignment? Or not putting a stop in Belltown? Or not choosing an alignment/washing their hands for West Seattle?

      Again, the lack of feedback from SDOT on their proposal is what bothers me. For better or worse, McGinn’s SDOT person would have been available to face the music, even if it was a street car uber alles proposal

      1. I’m not going to argue out Ballard/UW vs. ST3 here, but suffice it to say that the STB staff is pretty happy with the ST3 Seattle alignment and is not inclined to wail on it in favor of Ballard/UW.

  5. In regard to your reply to baselle’s question/request,

    “Speculate on the odds of whether Northgate Link will open early.”

    unless Northgate Link opens in early 2020, it will not be opening early. The original service target date was late 2020.

    1. EarliER than the current target. It was postponed to 2021 because of the recession, meaning an unexpected drop in sales-tax revenue. If you’re buying a gallon of gas for $3 but then you only have $2.50, you don’t get the full gallon. (I decided that was a better analogy than part of a pizza.)

      1. I appreciate your reply but there’s no need for any sort of analogy. I’m aware of the history here and the reasoning ST supplied for the delayed service date. That doesn’t change the situation. Even if Northgate Link opens as planned in 2021, it will still be a project delivered late, just as the light rail’s extension to the UW was. Sound Transit’s claims to the contrary are nonsense.

  6. The podcast said ST is dedicating surplus land to affordable housing because of a change in state law, but why did the law change? It must have been because of the Puget Sound legislators because the rest of the state cares more about low taxes than affordable housing. So what motivated the legislators? It must have been ST or housing fans or local politicians. Does anyone know anything specific about how this swap got the legislators’ ear?

    1. … Because I first heard about the policy in an ST board meeting around around 2014, and it was presented as already in effect but there was no mention of a state law, which gave me the impression that it was just ST’s policy that had changed. So either they just didn’t mention the law which is odd, or the law didn’t exist then. If the law didn’t exist until later, then what motivated its creation? My simplest guess is that ST asked for the law in order to have stronger legal grounds for the policy, to withstand attempts to overturn it. So did ST ask for the law? Or did someone else ask for it? And if so, why this particular arrangement?

      1. Mike. You’ve asked some good questions here so I hope someone who has more insight into the matter can chime in. If my memory serves me correctly, the statute didn’t exist then. I believe it was part of the transportation package that the legislature passed in the 2nd special session back in June or so in 2015.

        If I have the time, I’ll do a little research on the matter and give an update here.

      2. Mike. I double checked this earlier today and it was actually passed in the legislature’s third special session in July 2015. It’s 2ESSB 5987 (a transportation revenue package that included a section for the new taxing authority for RTA’s that qualify such as ST) and the provision in question is in new section 329. (It’s too long to provide the verbiage here.)

        You can check the state legislature website to see the history of the bill as enacted to see who the primary sponsors were, as well as the legislation’s cosponsors. Without being an insider down in Olympia, it might be tricky to discern the parties responsible for inserting the provisions contained in section 329.


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