West Seattle Bridge construction, 1981

The simplicity of the Seattle Transportation Benefit District (STBD) is a big part of its appeal: two straightforward taxes used to purchase Metro service hours. Back when it was first proposed, then-councilmember Nick Licata insisted that the money not go to what he considered wasteful capital projects (a.k.a. streetcars).

But several years ago, with Metro unable to sell as many hours as Seattle wanted to buy, City Council added some flexibility to allow for some of the money to be diverted to capital expenses. With bus hours exhausted, we and other advocates generally supported this idea. After all, capital spent to get buses out of traffic, either via queue jumps, dedicated lanes or signal timing fixes typically pays for itself many times over in reduced operating costs.

Now, with transit demand in a slump, that capital carve out could fund… the West Seattle Bridge?

It’s just a single offhand comment, so I wouldn’t read too much into it, but it reminds us that dedicated pots of transit money are in short supply right now and with ridership down, politicians may be eager to raid the kitty for other, tangentially related projects.

To be clear, the West Seattle Bridge will cost on the order of half a billion dollars to fix, and the TBD only brings in $50m/year. A diminished TBD (sans car tabs) might bring in half that, as Dan recently noted.

Still, the city doesn’t have any clear path to getting the money for the West Seattle Bridge or the Magnolia Bridge (or any of the other structurally deficient bridges for that matter). Whether it’s the STBD or Sound Transit funds, that money will have to be guarded vigilantly.

41 Replies to “The ever-present allure of capital funds”

  1. Could we have some comments from people both riding and operating transit as to how well, all things considered, transit is doing its own job right now? And equally or more important, what we readers can do to help?

    Because I think that money being carefully and skillfully used is a lot harder to steal than money either left lying around or stuck away someplace where it risks being one, forgotten, and two, stolen.

    I also think that actively ongoing well-publicized plans for improvement count as security surveillance. Doubt most thieves will try to get a shop full of milling machines into the truck when they’re all running on “High”.

    Situation that also makes presence of at least a few human machinists worth their wages.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Could we have some comments from people both riding and operating transit as to how well, all things considered, transit is doing its own job right now?

      Since transit is the only method I have of getting around absent my own two feet and an electric scooter, I have ridden it recently, though less than I ordinarily would have. I haven’t been passed up, there has been room to stay separate from others, the trips and routes I need are still running, and drivers have almost entirely been cheerful. One driver I’ve seen a couple of times on a 300-series route has gotten on the PA at the end of the route to say “thank you for riding Metro!”

      Almost every other rider on every route has worn a mask and the windows have been mostly open with the air conditioning running so we get max level air filtration and circulation. I am far less worried about taking transit regularly than I was at the start of this. Can’t wait to get back on my bus for joyrides again (but not until we’re in a later phase, for sure).

      1. Wes, you’ve made my morning! What you’ve told me is the best of what I’d hoped to hear. So let me follow up with another question, again for those-in-the-know:

        If Sound Transit were to get the notice to finish one more Link station per line and then shut down construction- though not service- where would we be as to service in general?

        Emphasis being not what we can’t do, but, given some ingenuity, what we can. Starting with assessment as to whether the “Down” economy has left fewer cars in our bus fleet’s way, or the opposite?

        Mark Dublin

      2. Can’t wait to get back on my bus for joyrides again (but not until we’re in a later phase, for sure).

        My thoughts exactly.

      3. I hasten to add that I primarily ride bus routes on the north end so I have very limited insight into routes on the south end like the 7 and 150. I have heard that both of those routes are over Metro’s “recommended capacity limits” on a regular basis so Metro is having to add back service to them to avoid pass-ups. The people telling me this are people I trust and I’ve obviously not tried to ride one of those buses to see if the reports are true since, if likely true, that would add to the capacity constraints…

        But to your other question Mark, I think what you’re asking is what the system would look like with the ST2 build-out done plus the added station to downtown Redmond. I can’t see ST2-plus-one for Northgate Link or Federal Way Link because the construction just isn’t far enough along. If we did that, we’d be in about the shape we needed to be in twenty years ago. Not great but better than we had in 2012.

        That comes with one big caveat: the north end would be way overserved with rail compared to the south end.

      4. That comes with one big caveat: the north end would be way overserved with rail compared to the south end.

        Wait, what? I don’t think that will ever happen, no matter when we stop. We still haven’t finished what we should have started (U-District to downtown). Meanwhile, we’ve gone farther than we need to (Angle Lake). ST2 will send the line up to Lynnwood, while sending it down to Kent-Des Moines. At that point the lines would be a bit more in balance, except that there would still be more miles of track to the south, the southern terminus would be farther away from downtown, and there would be more stations to the south. Yet with all of that, the northern end would have more riders.

      5. The north end is different from the south end in several fundamental ways. It’s narrower so one transit corridor reaches a larger percent of the population. The south end was the original industrial side so it has more highways and pedestrial-hostile wide streets. The north end has three highways (99, I-5, 405); while the south end has seven (509, 99, 599, I-5, West Valley Highway, 167, Maple Valley Highway). This creates north-end bottlenecks that generate greater demand for an alternative. North Seattle is more urban than south Seattle, has a wider variety of jobs and destinations, has UW, and the city boundary is 50% further. This means Snohomish County has a lot of interaction with North Seattle, which is close and only partway to downtown. All these create a more favorable transit market in the north end and explain the double-frequency to Lynnwood. Think of North Seattle as a second Eastside and you understand why it needs a second train line: the corridor has both downtown and North Seattle.

        The south end is screwed for fundamental geographical reasons even before you get to the flaws of south Link. If you fold a map of the region at Pine Street, UW would be around Mt Baker Station, Lynnwood would be in north Kent, and Everett would a bit south of Federal Way. What are your 30- and 60-minute travel circles from Lynnwood, north Kent, and KDM Station? Especially when Sounder is not running or you just missed it. From Lynnwood, 15 minutes gets you to Northgate, 20 minutes to he U-District, 28 minutes to downtown. All of them are urban centers. From KDM Station, 15 minutes gets you to TIB, 20 minutes gets you to BAR, 28 minutes gets you to Othello. Going downtown takes 49 minutes, with no urban centers in between. (Southcenter might be an urban center but it dioesn’t have much housing or offices, it’s not on Link, and it’s a soul-crushing car sewer.) If you extend this to Federal Way and Tacoma, the access is even worse. Some of this is due to Link’s flaws, but much of it is the greater distance of south-end cities, the bulk of the population being several miles away from 99 or Tacoma Dome, and the lack of urban centers between Federal Way and downtown.

      6. I cut out north Kent and east Kent. The average person at a Lynnwood-like distance lives in East Hill or beyond. North Kent (James Street/240th) has a smaller group and industrial jobs. Des Moines is another smaller group. The bulk of Snohomish’s population lives around 99 or I-5, pretty close to Lynnwood Station, MT Station, or the northern extension. The bulk of South King’s pupulation lives in East Hill or futher east, Renton, and Auburn, all of which are several miles from a Link station. A Lynnwood-like distance is north Kent (James/240th Street). From either north Kent or east Kent/Covington you’ll have to take either the 132nd-Kent-KDM RapidRide to KDM Station or a 180-like route to SeaTac Station on top of the 49-minute Link segment to downtown (57 minutes to the U-District). That’s a total travel time of well over an hour. In that time our Lynnwoodite can get to Othello, Ballard, Bellevue, and West Seattle — practically everywhere. In consolation, our Kentian can pretty easily get to Federal Way, Tacoma, and the airport, for whatever that’s worth.

      7. I agree with all of your points Mike — the geography is just different (the same way that the geography for the eastern suburbs is different).

    2. In my experience transit has been normal except for the policy changes and lower ridership. I’ve mostly ridden the 10, 11 and 131/132. Occasionally the 49, 73, 522, and 550. The biggest issue is keeping track of canceled runs; they’re in an obscure place on the website, and you have to click through several likely links to find it.

      Routes in central Seattle are all screwed up now due to the protests. That hasn’t affected me, but my roommate rides the 150 northbound in the late evenings and finds it going to different places at different times.

      1. OneBusAway is a useful tool for that. If an approving bus shows a real time location, rather than a scheduled arrival, than that bus is probably for real.

        So far, I’ve only ridden twice since March, both times being literally the only person on board, except for the bus driver. On route 231, the bus driver didn’t even bother putting on his uniform and was just driving the bus in a t-shirt.

        So, at least Eastside buses, I have mentality declared safe to ride.

      2. Besides a tee shirt, is the driver wearing a mask? I’d like to know if it’s Metro Policy (although if they drive naked I guess they have enough seniority to not fret about policy). And if it’s Metro policy are they providing masks; or maybe they hand out tee shirts and instructions on how to make your own?

    3. “In [60-75 minutes] our Lynnwoodite can get to … Ballard … and West Seattle”

      That’s before Ballard and West Seattle Link.

      Pierce is screwed because its regional transit assumptions were unrealistic. Snohomish has Link through its urban core, and the county border is ten miles from downtown Seattle. Tacoma Dome barely reaches into the county and is miles from the population concentrations, and the county border is twenty miles from dowtown Seattle. The length of the King County segment is what makes it harder for Link to serve Pierce. Downtown Tacoma’s location is a backtrack toward a dead-end penninsula. The concentrations of Lakewood, Parkland, and Puyallup are in completely different directions.

      The 20th-century suburban transformation of the US had greater effects in some cities than others. A few cities had already built a large dense inner city (jobs and residents) that remained mostly intact. Seattle was one of those. In the early 2010s downtown Seattle still had 10% of the region’s jobs. Some large downtowns depopulated drastically, but not in the northwest. Still other downtowns were less dense to begin with, and suburbanization left them indistinguishable from suburban downtowns. Tacoma is one of those, along with Everett, Raleigh NC, and Dayton Ohio. Tacoma had a little more: one highrise (the BankAmerica building), a new university branch, and a larger number of businesses than say downtown Kent or Renton, but still suburbanesque in its density and transit frequency. So downtown Tacoma has three problems: an out-of-the-way location, non-density, and a half-century of 90% car preference.

      Bending Link up to downtown Tacoma is a good idea: it solves the dilemma of the Tacoma Dome gap. High-capacity transit should be within walking distance of downtown destinations. And it could still branch to Tacoma Mall with half the trains going to each. That would be unacceptable for downtown Bellevue but could be tolerable given Tacoma’s size. Tacoma Link would be truncated to meet it as RossB has outlined, or Tacoma Link could continue south to the Pacific Avenue corridor, pending some kind of sharing or parallel tracks in the short overlapping segment. Central Link cannot go as far as 9th & Commerce due to the narrow street.

      However, the time for proposing that was before the ST3 vote. ST3 chose Tacoma Dome as the terminus, with the longer-term expectation of Tacoma Mall, not dowtown. The problem is not so much a violation of the long-term plan because Tacoma Dome is clearly “for” the downtown Tacoma urban center, so if it gets closer to the center that’s OK. The problem is the budget scope: it would be an extension of Central Link beyond the budgeted terminus. ST3 is already packed tightly full with projects; there’s no room for more expensive options.

      Ultimately, Pierce made a really bad decision in designating Tacoma Dome as the ST3 terminus, with a longer term extension to Tacoma Mall but not downtown Tacoma. Why did Pierce do that? Because 1990s thinking was that existing P&Rs made great termini: the land was already publicly owned for transit, and voters could see themselves driving to the P&R and taking the train. But that loses the goal of having a station within walking distance of the downtown concentration. Pierce just ignored that, and assumed Tacoma Link was an adequate substitute. The reason for that comes down to downtown Tacoma’s suburbanization and its suburban mindset. And, to give Tacoma credit, a vision of a multi-line streetcar network covering much of Tacoma, something that Bellevue, Lynnwood, and Everett failed to consider. (Although Lynnwood’s and Everett’s Swift is a good substitute, and more appropriate for their areas, and perhaps appropriate for Tacoma too.) Tacoma Link’s role is to unify the city of Tacoma, for intra-Tacoma trips, and for the rest of Pierce to use in Tacoma. Central Link never tried to do that.

      The vision of Central Link to Tacoma Mall is based on the assumption that people will get to Tacoma Dome Station via Tacoma Link or bus somehow and transfer to Central Link to King and Snohomish County destinations. The planned Tacoma Mall urban center is a place for jobs and mid/highrises to concentrate, away from the NIMBYs adjacent to downtown Tacoma (all that area north of Division Ave). The Tacoma Mall Link station will give those residents/workers/customers direct access to the region, even if it’s almost 90 minutes to downtown Seattle. It won’t give them direct access to downtown Tacoma, and downtown Tacoma is oddly left out of the regional network. Why did Pierce choose that? Because of the half-century of assumptions that downtown Tacoma would be small, non-dense, and car-oriented (suburbanesque). And the belief that Tacoma Link and a BRT network would adequately connect Tacoma’s neighborhoods to downtown Tacoma.

      Central Link’s role in Tacoma then is then as a bypass to King County. And secondarily for the Tacoma Mall-Tacoma Dome segment (for trips to downtown Tacoma). And thirdly for the Lakewood concentration to access Central Link at Tacoma Mall. This bypass role for Central Link: it looks very much like a freeway. With stations (“exits”) at odd locations. And not just any freeway, but I-5 in particular. Because that Federal Way – Fife – Tacoma Dome – Tacoma Mall alignment parallels I-5. And both of them bypass downtown Tacoma. I-5 has a connector called 705, and Central Link has a connector called Tacoma Link. Interesting.

      My vision in the early 2010s for the Pierce part of Central Link was to go up 705 to downtown Tacoma. And then, if a further extension was warranted, along 6th Avenue to west Tacoma. ST totally didn’t accept that.

      1. I agree with you that there is a “Tacoma Dome gap” problem with Downtown Tacoma. I point to the sequence of events that led to ST3 development. It appears that Pierce first budgeted for TD Link — then had money left over once more costly North King and Snohomish subarea leaders got their higher-cost projects included. At that point, the Pierce delegation appeared to default to incremental project additions — Sounder trains extended to DuPont (note these would only run northbound in the AM peak and southbound in the PM peak so it doesn’t serve JBLM jobs) and the T-Link to TCC — and money for Pacific BRT.

        A modest trade from some of these projects to a one-station surface extension to Tacoma Union Station area (21st and Pacific) is all it would seem to take. While the one-station extension would make a Tacoma Mall Link extension harder to serve, I don’t see a compelling reason for the Tacoma Mall — Tacoma Dome Link segment anyway.

  2. The Magnolia Bridge is not going to be replaced. It is quite likely they will build a new bridge, but it will be much smaller and much cheaper to build. Other bridges are in the same category. The city needs to find a funding source (hopefully not taking it from transit). Like many issues, it comes down to taxing authority. A gas tax would likely raise plenty of money, but I don’t know if it is legal. If it isn’t, then we should ask the state for that right. The danger is that you could raise gas prices too high in the city, and people would drive outside to buy gas. But for things like the Magnolia Bridge replacement and similar projects, I doubt that would be the case (that aren’t that expensive).

    The West Seattle Bridge is. I like the idea of making the West Seattle Freeway a state highway, and asking for state funding. It is crazy that the state is building big unnecessary freeways (SR 167/509) but won’t fund the repair of a vital, existing bridge. Of course it isn’t absolutely necessary to make the freeway a state highway to get funding, I am assuming that there is some state mandate to maintain existing highways. Either way, the state should be funding it through gas taxes. I could also see the federal government helping. I doubt that Seattle can afford to pay to fix it on its own. Of course, at first we have to figure out what all is involved.

    1. With that in mind, what about making the West Seattle Freeway an Interstate .. similar to the 705 in Tacoma. Wouldn’t that help provide Federal Funds?

      1. I was thinking that though, but I did a little bit of reading, and it don’t think it makes any difference. Even though the federal government built the interstate system, it is up to each state to maintain it. Of course for all I know turning the West Seattle bridge into a state highway wouldn’t make any difference either (the state could still neglect to fix it).

      2. For federal interstate designation, the Spokane Street Viaduct would need to meet to interstate highway design standards, like having 10-foot right-side shoulders and 4-foot left-side shoulders, which I’m pretty sure don’t exist currently (granted, there are plenty of design exemptions across the interstate highway system). In any regard, anyone dreaming of taking a future I-905 to/from West Seattle with shoulders that comply with the federal standards might want to wait after the Cascadia megaquake since liquefaction will totally reshape SoDo’s topogaphy and infrastructure.

    2. Would be nice to have a new statewide gas tax that is 100% transferred to local governments based on population. Counties would get money for the portion of their population that doesn’t live in a city. That eliminates the drive to the next city issue, unless that is Idaho (or Oregon, if you don’t like to pump gas…).

      Some good info from this 2012 (but still relevant) STB post:


      Most local governments spend some of their property tax revenues on local road maintenance. This would allow them to use gas tax money to supplement, or if they don’t need extra money, they can reduce their property tax rates instead. That helps politically by making the decision to reduce property taxes under locally control.

      1. And raising gas taxes to reduce property taxes will be regressive within a community.

      2. Sounds like a great idea. It could work alongside the big WSDOT budget, that still needs to pass to cover work that can’t be done locally (or just doesn’t make sense to). I would still like to see the West Seattle Bridge — and other — major restoration projects funded via the latter mechanism. Not all of them (not the Magnolia Bridge, for example) but for something as large as the West Seattle Bridge, I think it makes sense. Simply divvying the money would be a major handout to newer, wealthy suburbs. Medina, for example, wouldn’t have to pay for much of anything (unless you made them pay for that one little piece of SR 520).

      3. And raising gas taxes to reduce property taxes will be regressive within a community.

        Yep, carbon taxes are regressive (at least in the short term). In the long term, it is one of the few approaches that can stave off the greatest disaster the civilized world has ever experienced. Local agencies can respond by keeping the dropping sales taxes instead, or doing as Alaska does, and giving everyone a rebate. The whole point is that unlike redoing the entire tax code, this is politically possible.

      4. OK, so yes the gas tax is “regressive”. Anything that’s revenue positive tends to be. Exceptions are things like a luxury tax on yachts, but that really doesn’t raise much money. Cigarette taxes are regressive but it serves one of the reasons for taxation which is to form/force policy. It might not “drive” people to transit but it might “steer” them more toward a Prius than an F150.

      5. Gas tax as a pigouvian tax is great policy in a region where there are reasonable alternatives for most of the population to avoid driving, i.e. much of greater Seattle. Higher gas taxes in rural Washington is just straight-up regressive while making little difference in curbing driving. That is why I strongly objected to the state-wide nature of your proposal. I’d fully support raising gas taxes in King county and strongly object to raising gas taxes in, say, Okanogan.

        One idea I’ve had was for the state to extend sales tax to retail gasoline/diesel, only for King/Snohomish/Pierce. I think this is roughly a 40 cent gas tax, so pretty steep. For the state’s share of the sales tax, this becomes WSDOT revenue to spend within the 3 counties, for WSDOT projects (405 HOT, I5 HOV, US 2 replacement, etc) or just granted down to the counties.

        The interesting part is that for all the other entities that levy sales tax, this boosts their revenue also. Sound Transit would be the biggest beneficiary, and would also boost revenues for transit agencies, municipalities, and everyone else who depends on sales tax revenue.

        King would be game because of the big backlog of SOGR, such as these bridges. Snohomish is looking for big money to replace the US-2 viaduct, and I’m sure Pierce has their own mega-project needs.

        Either way, divvying up money by city make little sense. Route the money through the counties or a body like the PSRC and give grants to cities for individual projects that are evaluated per some criteria.

      6. OK, so yes the gas tax is “regressive”. Anything that’s revenue positive tends to be.

        A graduated income tax is not regressive — it is clearly progressive (which is why it is often called a progressive income tax). Unfortunately, it is not possible in this state. A flat income tax would pass constitutional muster. It would be flat (neither progressive nor regressive). Both could raise a bunch of money.

        Higher gas taxes in rural Washington is just straight-up regressive while making little difference in curbing driving.

        As I wrote up above, that is only true in the short term. In the long term, people figure out ways to reduce their gas consumption (e. g. by buying more fuel efficient vehicles). Worse case scenario, they move. In the case of rural businesses, they pass on the costs to consumers. The numbers would still be tiny — business fees take a much bigger hit.

        In any event, no one is arguing your point. It will be regressive in nature. That doesn’t mean it is a bad idea. Cigarette taxes are extremely regressive. A tobacco addict has to pay a lot of extra money AND deal with their addiction. Soda Pop taxes, gambling taxes, alcohol taxes — just about all of the pigouvian taxes are regressive, but they are still a good idea. Some people adjust, some people don’t. What is true of those taxes is true of gas taxes.

        There are ways to compensate. The state can spend more property and sales tax revenue in rural areas.

      7. One idea I’ve had was for the state to extend sales tax to retail gasoline/diesel …

        A per gallon tax is much better than a per value tax. It is way less volatile. If you tax the value of gas, then when gas prices go up, it goes way up. When they it goes down, it goes way down. It is the opposite of what you want. Volatility is bad for the economy. Someone could buy a car right now and completely ignore fuel economy. Then, in a couple years, see gas prices skyrocket. Or the opposite could happen. Pity the driver that bought a Prius a couple years ago.

        There have been some who have called for a gas tax that runs opposite average price. It would essentially set an average cost for gas. This would be a reasonable approach. You would want to increase gradually, so that eventually the price of gas becomes very expensive (like in Europe).

        In general that is the key with energy taxes — you want to increase the prices steadily every year. I remember Ross Perot wanted to increase gas taxes 10 cents every year to pay off the budget deficit. Our economy — our world — would be a much better place if we had applied that idea.

      8. AJ:
        “One idea I’ve had was for the state to extend sales tax to retail gasoline/diesel …”

        “A per gallon tax is much better than a per value tax. It is way less volatile.”

        While RossB’s comment is on point, such a proposal to extend retail sales/use taxes to gasoline and diesel sales (at the retail level) would be a huge feat politically speaking. (The fossil-fuel industry would pull out all the stops to defeat such a measure.) Additionally, a carve-out for certain counties, i.e., King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties, would almost certainly be met with a legal challenge. There just isn’t any precedent that I can think of for creating such an “exemption from the exemption”, if you will, based solely on the location of the transaction within the state’s extensive excise tax architecture.

      9. Totally fair point about volatility. And no idea on the legality issues – I just thought it was a way to both increase transit funding (generally sales tax dependent) and create more local transportation funding for roads, while not burdening the rest of the state with higher taxes.

  3. Is there an opportunity for ST to work with the Port of Seattle and BNSF/UP to include light rail with a package of upgrades to the rail infrastructure around Harbor Island? The T5 renovation project is going to bring much larger container ships into Seattle and the existing rail infrastructure around T5 is a mess when the 6,000 TEU ships come into port. With 18,000 TEU ships coming, the current rail infrastructure is going to be overwhelmed. Yes, we need to fix or replace the broken bridge, but there’s also going to be a real need for better rail access to T5 when the really big ships start arriving. Would ST, POS and the railroads be able to work together on something mutually beneficial?

  4. the key Frank point is the magnitude of the capital needs for the West Seattle and Ballard bridges. the TBD is not the appropriate funding vehicle. Licata was correct on the CCC. The TBD can find useful capital projects of a smaller scale. they could be targeted by via a metric such as passenger minutes.

  5. Is the STBD really simple if it was/had to be amended, and if it is now being eyed to fund bridge construction? I wouldn’t exactly call that simple, and I’d argue it is the antithesis of straightforward.

  6. Thanks, asdf2, both for the information and also not ratting on him. From my memories of Metro, showing up for work at all, and especially on time, entitled us to some reasonable treatment as to uniform adherence.

    Budget-wise, I don’t think either Metro or ST could afford the wages I’d demand for reading the average day’s passenger complaints right now. Hope Local 587 could get contract language preventing any verbiage linked Alpha Centauri from being used against an operator.

    Mark Dublin

  7. Funding for the the West Seattle and Magnolia bridges is easy: with tolls.

    1. Yeah, I was going to bring up tolls. This again is why it should be a state run bridge. The city has no experience with tolling. I’m sure they could learn, but the whole process would be new to the city, and there is no need for that. Just build a new bridge (like 520) and toll. It will still likely cost money, but that would be handled by the state (just like 520). Politically, this is easier (West Seattle whiners wouldn’t harass city leaders, and complain that they are being treated unfairly).

      Tolling the Magnolia Bridge would be ineffective, assuming you built the same type of bridge. If you charged a reasonable amount, you would never get back your money (there just aren’t enough people using the bridge). If you charged a bunch, people would just drive around. They just need to build a smaller bridge, relatively close to the Dravus Street Bridge (as planned). They could toll that, but being closer to the other one, it would have the same problem (even if it is a lot cheaper). The city could start tolling for all their bridges, but my guess is, they aren’t ready to do that yet (hell, they aren’t ready to do anti-congestion tolling downtown, despite the obvious value).

      For all the talk of Seattle being progressive, we are a very slow moving city. Although I guess we are progressing in the right direction. No wonder our mascot is a Banana Slug.

      1. Oh, and this again is why the SR 99 tunnel was so stupid. Anyone with any vision of the future would realize that at some point, our infrastructure would start falling apart. We have more stuff built over a longer period of time, so of course our stuff falls apart first. At some point it was likely that we would have to appeal to the state to build — or rebuild — what we have. Spending a fortune to build something that is not actually needed sends a terrible message. It is crying wolf; it really hurts us when we really do need a big, expensive bridge (or tunnel) like with West Seattle. It is tough for us to appeal to other parts of the state and say “but wait, we are trying to be frugal here” when clearly we have no history in that regard.

  8. “Can’t wait to get back on my bus for joyrides again (but not until we’re in a later phase, for sure).”

    Phweeeeeee-yeeeeeeew! Word of caution, though. Long as I’ve got my ORCA card wrapped in a copy of my rental agreement, I’ve at least got proof that even if I am deliberately spreading the virus on purpose, I’m not homeless.

    Would give a lot to be back in the days of, say, February, when there was anything enJOYable at all about driving, or where they’re still running, buses, on any street, road, freeway, or alley in the Greater Puget Sound Region. Motor scooter to double-bottomed diesel semi rig, everybody’s wound up to a human steel spring on a cat-hair trigger.

    This comment could legitimately be viewed as a pathetic attempt to be “With It” by knowing at least a little truth about the matters I mention in these pages. Knowing that best I can ever really achieve is some frosted chartreuse hair and sparkles for freckles.

    I’m trying only to get a “feel” for where we are in our possible transit development, in order to have some idea what we can do next. If there’s such a thing as an “AntiNihilist”……It’sminebecauseIsawitfirst! Because the one answer I refuse to sit still and listen to goes like this: “Due to Our Dozens of Decades of Doom, we can never again do ANYTHING!!!!!!”

    Anybody doesn’t like my attitude, really do enjoy knowing it while I slide my ORCA card back in my coat pocket and lean back and watch Tukwila International Boulevard Station join Mt. Baker on the horizon ahead of my train. Coffee at Empire in Columbia City or Station Cafe at Beacon Hill, my business and not yours.

    Mark Dublin

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