Sanity in transportation investment:

Hi, and Daimajin, thanks for the welcome! I was just in Paris a few weeks ago, and I wanted to share a couple of photos of what it looks like when government investment in transportation is more sane – when there’s more than one technology getting dollars, instead of a monopoly. This first shot is one of the trains that runs east from Paris – the TGV Est line that opened this June. This train took me to Strasbourg (nonstop) at a maximum speed of 320kph – or 200mph, the fastest passenger rail service in the world right now. Interestingly, it would have taken more time to fly, because the train station is in the city, and the airport would have required local transportation on both ends.This second shot is of the German ICE train – also high speed, also operating from Paris, this train likely went to either Frankfurt or Munich. This particular service also just started running in the last couple of months (although both of these train designs are a few years old):
What’s crazy, to me, is that the common arguments against this kind of investment don’t hold up under pressure. We don’t have the density? That’s not true – except for Paris itself, the TGV Est serves cities smaller than Seattle, Portland or Vancouver BC, in a similarly sized corridor, with nonstop service. We don’t have the money? Also untrue, we spend vastly more on our roads in this region than we would need to for this kind of rail service – and it isn’t subject to congestion like our highways.

I’m not suggesting we should stop spending on roads entirely – but I do want to point out that the largest highways in France are generally six lane. They don’t have to spend the billions we do on highway infrastructure that doesn’t really scale up – a 14 lane highway doesn’t move people any faster than a 6 lane highway, and they know that. The best way to move more people is to make sure they have more options, to split transportation investment rather than just letting our highway costs snowball ever higher. That’s what Roads and Transit starts to do this year – build us infrastructure that doesn’t cost more and more to expand over time, and that lasts instead of needing constant upgrades and replacement. That’s what the rest of the world has done, and they’re not seeing messes like our SR-99 and SR-520 now. The best time to stop making future messes for ourselves is now – and building a comprehensive rail system is the best way to avoid the problems that come with only having one transportation option.

Guest Blogger: Ben Schiendelman

Climbing onboard.
Photo by Chris

I’d like to welcome Ben Schiendelman as a guest blogger to Seatrans.

Ben knows heaps about trains, transit, urban planning, civic development, and the history of the process in our region. He’s travelled the globe riding trains, and has read extensively on transportation and environmental issues. Some of Ben’s other work on transit in the area:

Among others.

Ben’s a very busy guy, so I don’t expect him to post often or to post especially long pieces. But he’s going to be posting images of train systems in other places and to give us an idea of what has been done in other places and what works.

Welcome to Seatrans, Ben!

Uh, really?

Bus Rapid Transit
Photo by via Oren’s Transit Page

Is Stefan “Shiesty Tipper” Sharkansky talking crap on buses when at the same time he″>thinks we ought to only build more buses?

That wasn’t even an actual bus that caught on fire, and how many trains have caught on fire recently? How about cars, how many of those catch on fire?

(Apologies for the language of this post)

What specifically do you need?

Notice how close the train is to the platform.
Photo by Chris

James Vesely, the man with the confusing title “Times editorial page editor”, in his editorial today argues that he cannot support the Roads and Transit ballot because it’s difficult to find a responsibility chain among bureaucracy

It’s tough for anyone, even those immersed n the public process, to tick off the names of all the seated members of the Sound Transit board, or the board of directors of the Regional Transportation Investment District. It’s easier to remember the names of the county executives of King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, but their direct responsibility for a successful roads-and-transit program is limited.

Certainly true. But the problem here is not with the package, but with the way we raise money in this state. Our leaders have no way to create the locally, and the legislature in Olympia is not willing to fork over the whole state’s cash for transportation projects in our area, even if we are more than half the state’s totally population. While Sound Transit is actually a regional government organization, Prop. 1 (aka Roads and Transit), is a funding mechanism to pay for capital projects. Who’s responsible for the package? For the transit side it’s obvious: Sound Transit, and ultimately its CEO Joni Earl, and its Board of Directors, 17 elected officials and the Washington Secretary of Transportation.

… That doesn’t mean the voters won’t accept the tax burden — but I think we are entitled to focus the responsibility on a few individuals and hold them accountable. Accountability eventually shattered the Seattle Monorail. Those who were accountable were discovered to have an overly optimistic financial plan. Accountability made a mess of the political decision over the viaduct. People knew the mayor, the governor and the speaker of the House were sometimes together, more often at odds about what to do next. They were accountable and we knew who they were. No one seems to be accountable for ST2/RTID. Even the name doesn’t conjure a face. It is a vote for bureaucracy.

Maybe it’s public relations that’s missing, maybe it’s hype, maybe it is the personalization of the political process. But, I have yet to find anyone who can tell me specifically who is in charge.

I’m not exactly sure what Veseley wants. A directly-elected regional transportation officer? I think that would just serve to expand the politicking surrounding the process. We already have enough politics when it comes to transportation and I don’t see the value in that sort of position. Having the board made up of elected members from within the region helps ensure that everyone’s needs are at least heard and considered, and having the board’s chair rotate from the county executives seems fair. Transportation is one of the most important local issues and part of the jobs of our elected officials. Setting up some sort of transportation czar would be passing the buck away from those who have it as part of their job already. So much for accountability.

It’s almost a Bush Administration type argument that we need some person responsible for the bill; “Brownie’s doing a heckuva job”. I certainly hope Joni Earl is doing a heckuva job, I’d rather than Sound Transit as a whole were.

Sierra Club has no credibility

So now the Sierra Club has gone one step past it’s usual greenhouse emissions line and has taken the bizarre step of criticizing the ST2 lines themselves.

A Sierra Club leader took the rare step Thursday of criticizing part of Sound Transit’s light-rail vision — a proposed track extension from the city of SeaTac south to Tacoma.

“I think it’s not the most efficient use of tax dollars,” local club Chairman Mike O’Brien said during a campaign debate over this fall’s multibillion-dollar Proposition 1.

He called the Tacoma line a “political decision” made to satisfy elected officials in Pierce County. “If transportation planners were in charge, they would come up with a more efficient solution,” he said.

In this country (and others) tax dollars are rarely efficiently used. Hell, I don’t even efficiently use my own cash. That doesn’t mean I should stop spending it or stop paying taxes. Sound Transit actually has a pretty decent record of not being hugely wasteful with tax dollars. The argument that the line doesn’t go to the right place is laughable. No matter where the build the line in South King County, that’s the right place: people will move to where the line is built and development will happen around the line!

While several environmental groups support the joint “Roads & Transit” plan, the Sierra Club argues that more road lanes would worsen global warming. O’Brien says he could have endorsed a transit-only plan.

After the debate, O’Brien said South End* trains would take too long to reach Seattle, because of the system’s slow surface segment currently under construction through South Seattle’s Rainier Valley. He suggests building separate lines outward from downtown Everett and Tacoma, serving local riders into those urban centers.

What the hell is he talking about? Separate lines outward from downtown Tacoma? That is just insane. People living in Federal Way aren’t well served by a line that takes them around Tacoma.

I’ve noticed the Seattle Times is still using the $38 billion number which is before the $7 billion double counting was corrected for.

Joel Connelly actually makes a good point today

Vote down the roads-and-rails package so we can “do a lot better” next time with a transit-exclusive measure, urged Mike O’Brien of the Sierra Club. The club has broken with most major green outfits, which back the November measure.

King County Councilwoman Julia Patterson argued that delay carries a human price on working families coping with longer commutes, and added, “Every year that we wait will cost another $500 million.”

Polls show a buffeted electorate: Voters want a solution to the mess and favor mass transit. They’re not that enthusiastic with a six-tenths-of-a-cent increase in the sales tax and a licensing tab of $200 or so on a new car. Didn’t we already vote to limit car tabs?

Other cities in the West have been transformed, positively, by light rail and commuter rail systems. Once a dark, cavernous place populated by hoody teenagers, downtown Portland at night has come alive with light rail. The SkyTrain in Vancouver, B.C., is often packed and has revitalized neighborhoods.

The best public transit systems don’t just supplant already used bus routes, but extend to and serve growth areas. I used Bay Area Rapid Transit to visit an old friend in the far suburb of Pleasanton, Calif. Benedictine monks in Mission, B.C., use commuter rail for trips to diocesan headquarters 45 miles away in Vancouver.

Sound Transit has shaped up after a chaotic start. The light rail line is no longer going nowhere, but ending at the airport. Still, it proposes to spend huge amounts of money, and is asking for a huge leap of faith. The $1.64 billion price tag to tunnel beneath Capitol Hill is more than the entire Forward Thrust system would have cost.

Are we building new freeways and stoking the fires of global warming, as the Sierra Club charges? Or does this package make safety improvements and fix choke points so Puget Sound-area families can get home rather than fuming in traffic? I sense that the Sierra Club has let itself get driven by ideology.

It’s a very good reason to get out of the office this fall, seek answers and write down observations … which will keep me from lying on the horn in rush-hour traffic and being pulled over and given a ticket.

I agree with Joel. The Sierra Club has been taken over by ideology on this issue and are no longer credible.

*I don’t like people using “South End” this way. Seattle’s Rainer Valley is the South End, SeaTac is not the end of anything, and thus not the “South End.”
Update: Does Will read this blog, or is the conclusion just that obvious?

Simms Takes the Fifth

After watching the news last night and reading the PI, Ron Simms neither supports nor rejects the Roads and Transit Package. Last night on the news Simms said, “This is up to the voters to decide”. Leaving no indication whether he was for or against. Clearly those that want transit don’t want roads and vice versa. Although, I wonder, is this a political game? It was not long ago he was all about Transit Now. He was appearing everywhere and was extremely vocal on his pet project for the County. Is this a pro-bus and anti-rail stance? Who knows?

“I’ve always taken this position,” Sims said Tuesday evening. “I’ve told people in political circles I won’t support or oppose it. It’s a very significant proposal that voters are really going to have to dwell on and think about.”

Sims said his neutral stance on the measure has surprised some, but “people made an assumption” about where he’d stand. “You should never assume things about what I’ll do.”

This sounds like a loose canon statement to me, but I fear this may be a bit of a bump-in-the-road so to speak for the ballot! If people look to their politicians for answers then they will be left in the dark. The ST board is full of politicians that will gladly pose for a wonderful photo-op, but is that their true intentions? Is transit really what their concerned about? Seems not too long ago John Ladenburg was also in the loose canon spot not too long ago if his crossbase highway wasn’t supported.

Papers play up bus safety concerns

This sells papers, so it’s obvious why they write about it:

Welcome back to Seattle’s downtown transit tunnel. Watch your head.

The 1.3-mile tunnel reopens Monday morning after a two-year shutdown for $94 million in upgrades.

There have been some safety questions raised about it, and things are a little different.

When buses start running again in the tunnel, they’ll be on a floor that’s been lowered 8 inches so that doors on light rail trains — scheduled to share the tunnel in two years — will match the boarding platform heights.

This means outside mirrors on buses also will be lower and closer to the height of riders’ heads when the buses pull up to the platform. The bus drivers’ union raised a red flag about the possible hazard, and safety measures were added.

This sounds a lot scarier than it is: anyone with sense knows not to stand within three feet of a ten-ton vehicle approaching at 15 mph. Actually a lot of safety features seemed to have been added to the tunnel:

The retrofit included lowering the roadbed in the stations to accommodate level boarding for passengers using either trains or buses, and installing new electrical, communications, and safety systems. For example, inside the tunnel passengers will benefit from better lighting and signage, more security cameras, and a new public announcement system.

I think the odds of getting “bonked”, as the union officer put it in the p-i article, in the head is not very severe.

Future of Transit in Seattle

The Seattle Times article today, “Seattle gets a glimpse of its transit future”, is a decent little round-up of the goings-on these few weeks with regard to transit.

• In the South Lake Union area, a red streetcar arrived by truck Monday afternoon, the first of three to begin service in December.

• Two Sounder commuter trains will be added Monday between Seattle and Tacoma, and one will be added to Sounder’s Everett-to-Seattle line.

• Link light-rail trains begin service from downtown to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in the second half of 2009. Train tests inside the tunnel will start in October, on nights and weekends, Sound Transit spokesman Bruce Gray said.

• And, high-occupancy vehicle lanes are being added in Everett, Tacoma, on Highway 99 south of the airport and on the Interstate 90 floating bridges.

Also, the bus tunnel reopens next week. Some people are worried the mirrors might start taking people’s heads off now that the tunnel floor has lowered eight inches. It’s funny that the times article spends half the space on unions and danger. Pandering to it’s suburban, anti-transit readership I reckon.

The street car arriving is great news, but I am sure it’s “unfortunate” nickname may actually boost its popularity. It’s a bit stupid anyway, since trolley means any transport with an overhead wire, so the electric buses are actually trolleys too. I guess I shouldn’t be so pedantic.

In other Seattle Transit news, the Elliot Bay Water Taxi has had its service extended through October. I’m not exactly sure why this doesn’t run year ’round. Is it a safety issue? Ridership drop-off?

Bus Tunnel re-opening celebration tomorrow

There are two celebrations marking the bus-tunnels reopening on the 24th. The first is tomorrow at 11:30, and includes a chance to walk through the tunnel. The second is a party at Westlake Park on the 24th itself. From the press release:

What a difference two years makes. After being closed for construction, the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel re-opens on-schedule for weekday bus service Monday, Sept. 24, better than ever. In a giant leap forward, the 1.3-mile tunnel has been retrofitted to incorporate Sound Transit’s Link light rail service, which will begin running through the tunnel in 2009. Link will connect downtown Seattle with Sea-Tac Airport, sharing the tunnel with buses. Which means one thing: It’s time to celebrate progress!

Sneak Peek: Press Conference & Public Tours
Tuesday, Sept. 18
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Westlake Station platform & mezzanine, Pine Street & 4th Avenue, Seattle (Enter through Westlake Mall’s Metro Level)

Street Treat: Street Fair & Celebration
Monday, Sept. 24
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Westlake Park, Pine Street & 4th Avenue, Seattle

NW Progressive on Sierra Club’s defeat in Superior Court

At Northwest Progressive, Scott has a thought-provoking post on Sierra Club’s case’s denial by King County Superior court. The Sierra Club, an environmental lobbying/political group, had been trying to add their own “con” argument to the voter’s guide because the con argument that goes with the bill is an anti-rail position. The Sierra Club supports the rail portion of the bill, but opposes the RTID roads portion. The court ruled that the planned con section is within legistlative guidelines, and it is too late to change it.

Scott’s point is very well though out:

The Sierra Club is the only major environmental organization to oppose the measure. The Washington Conservation Voters, the Washington Environmental Council, Futurewise, and other groups dedicated to a sustainable Earth strongly support Roads & Transit.

They believe, as we do, that by investing in fifty miles of new light rail, thirty miles of new high occupancy vehicles lanes, enhancements to Sounder commuter rail, and Park & Ride expansions we can decrease single occupancy vehicle use and improve our transportation choices.

Additionally, by removing dangerous choke points that cause congestion, we can improve the reliability of our bus system and make our roads safer.

The roads section of the bill is mostly freight roads, HOV lanes and is chokepoint improvements. It has very little new roads in it, the major new road, the so-called “cross-base highway”, it does not even full fund. My position is that we will never get a fully baked region rail system if we don’t start it now, and we’ll never get expansions and increased rail systems in the future if we don’t start now. Opposing a bill that creates something we need, light rail, because it has something you don’t really like, roads, is counter-productive because the roads projects are likely to get built anyway by politicians, and they are not likely to build rail on their own accord. I feel like if you’re going to oppose roads being built, you should do it where huge roads projects much worse than this are, and don’t oppose those that are tied to necessary transit improvements.

Should we never build more roads? Should we destroy the ones we have? If you hate roads, than that is the only logical step after the Sierra Club’s argument.

City of Destiny Train Opens!

Sound Transit opened a the new reverse-commute “City of Destiny” train (a Seattle-to-Tacoma route).
From the press release:

Today Sound Transit announced expanded Sounder commuter rail service starting September 24th that includes two new weekday round trips on the south corridor and one on the north corridor. The new south corridor trains include the introduction of a new “reverse commute” train that will run from Seattle to Tacoma in the morning and return northbound in the evening.

The reverse commute train will for the first time enable commuters to ride Sounder to jobs in South King County and Pierce County. The additional runs expand Sounder service hours in both the north and south corridors, with the first train starting at 5 a.m. and the last train making its final stop at 6:55 p.m.

More trains, more hours, and the new reverse commute train all add up to more choices for commuters who want to ride Sounder commuter rail and leave traffic behind.

Pretty awesome! I have been doing reverse commutes for years, first from San Francisco to San Jose, and now from Seattle to Redmond, and this is going to open possibilities for economic growth through that corridor, and give people more options to work where they want, and live where they please.

So what kind of commutes do you guys have? Anyone else do a reverse commute?

SLU Streetcar On Track

On Harrison, en route to the barn plus my cool shadow!

Harrison and Terry where the last tracks are getting finished
Harrison and Terry view #2

On Westlake between SBRI and Group Health
The Maintenance barn, almost complete

Fairview and Harrison approaching the barn

This may be more of an important issue to me than others here cause I work in South Lake Union, however, the Streetcar is on track to be finished and operating by December. As I was on my bus the other morning my driver was telling me that they were asking for Metro drivers that wanted to drive the streetcar. I guess this is where the seniority rules. My driver has the seniority he says, but he’s holding out for Link. He also said the training for the light rail vehicles is over a week long, where as the training for Streetcars isn’t. I found that interesting. Westlake is literally transforming as we speak, as I write this in fact, they are working to install track beds on certain sections of the line. Westlake Avenue, of which I walk everyday, has been switched to a two way road now, two lanes each direction. This is has been short of a nightmare. I don’t think people quite understand the meaning of the double yellow line? I have seen cars heading southbound slamming on their brakes to avoid accidents, cause people aren’t looking both ways yet. Pedestrians have been dodging cars, meanwhile bikers are huge targets. I have seen near hits. My advice: avoid this area for a few days. I must say though pedestrians on foot have significantly increased and it is completely noticeable. This is different than when I started working in SLU, which was for the most part run down. Group Health is starting to take space in their new building, I imagine others will be on the way shortly. Now it is becoming a transit mecca which if you have ever had to wait for a 17, you are probably as giddy as I am for the streetcar. We were told via email that we could expect testing mid-October-November, and it is on time. I assume this will be after the maintenance barn is completed, which it looks like it is getting there. The streetcar will gain ridership and make the neighborhood much more transit friendly.

Time to retire, Van Dyk

I think the expiration date on Van Dyk’s writing has definitely passed:

The local establishment reflexively scorns Eyman. It, too, reflexively endorses proposals opposed by Eyman. Keep Washington Rolling, the front organization backing the Proposition One ballot measure, has drawn big dollars from the contractors, subcontractors and others who eat at Sound Transit’s trough. But it also has gotten $200,000 from Microsoft, $75,000 from the Seattle Mariners, and $50,000 each from PEMCO Insurance Co. and the Washington Association of Realtors, among other donors.

I had to read that five times to make sure I was reading it correctly. Did he just say that Microsoft, Seattle Mariners, Pemco insurance and the Washington Association of Realtors, among others, reflexively donated more than $375,000 to Keep Washington Moving because Tim Eyman opposes it?


That man has become senile. Maybe they donated money because they think it’s a good ballot measure and that it’s passing will mean they will get more than $375,000 worth of benefit out of it. And that just happens to oppose Eyman’s any-progress-is-bad, let’s live like cavemen reality. Eyman just doesn’t want to pay for anything. And we all know a society gets no better than what it’s willing to pay for.

If you can’t see that, Van Dyk, it’s time to get out of the business of writing op-ed pieces.

Sierra Club tries to split up Roads and Transit

Update: Will at horse’s ass sums up the if-we-vote-down-this-we’ll-get-transit-only-next-year argument:

I respect the Sierra Club guys. I don’t disagree with them on most of the facts, it’s their political judgment I question. Most of the people I talked to are convinced that if the Roads and Transit package fails, our elected officials will learn their lesson and give us a transit-only package in ‘08.

In an election year.

With Gov. Gregoire on the ballot.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

I find it much more likely that if this package fails, Gov. Gregoire will take care of business. Her business. And that’s SR-520, not Sound Transit. Olympia politicians don’t care about rail, only roads. They’re waiting for an excuse to enact “governance reform,” which will “reform” Sound Transit, alright.

Right out of existence, come next year, if this package goes down

Emphasis theirs.

Original post: I was writing a post about this article when I got a call from my friend at the Sierra club. Basically, she made the same point TroyJMorris made in his comment.

The Sierra Club really doesn’t want it’s name associated with the No on Prop1 campaign, because they agree on essentially nothing other than that neither supports this ballot. And they don’t support it for different reasons, No on Prop1 is a Tim Eyman-style anti-tax agency, especially anti-light rail, while the Sierra Club is actually very pro-light rail and anti-roads.

So the Sierra Club wants to split the ballot up into two proposals, one roads, one transit, so they can endorse the one they actually support, and then there’s a chance that the rail ballot could pass while the roads wouldn’t.

Even if the ballot does get split, I very much doubt that will happen. The roads ballot is almost a sure thing, and splitting them up only weakens rail’s chance.

Other blogs

More on Taxes, Costs

These guys love the line “largest local project in American history” but, it’s pretty easy to see that it isn’t. Someone sent me this link showing what the typical family already pays in transportation taxes.

A Seattle Times review of major transportation taxes estimates that agencies collected an average of $843 per adult in urban areas of King County, including Seattle, last year. The figure for Seattle residents is $881. Roughly half the money went to transit, and half to roads.

Look at the graphic, of the $843 per household, $385 was for transit. Adjust that for transit now (increased property taxes), but eliminate the $30 sound transit car-tab fee has been retired, we stay at $385. So we get about 45% of the average county resident’s transportation tax spent on transit. With Roads and Transit, it would add $250 to each family for transit, and $150 for roads. I kow these are a bit “back-of-the-envelope” because I can’t know the exact number, but that still keeps transit under 50% of transportation spending, not the 90% the gas and concrete crowd crows about.

Things are really bad in terms of transportation here. Commutes just keep getting longer an there’s no reason to waste time will they get worse and our local economy is slowed because of it. That’s what Kemper Freeman doesn’t understand: who’s going to pay for his over-priced downtown Bellevue condos if no one can get anywhere?

Non-Transit Related

Thirty-five years worth of change in the skyline for Tokyo’s Shinjuku district (not really a neighborhood, what other word is there) boiled down into ten seconds:

Sorry, I as I site in my windowless office for as yet another beautiful summer day goes by, I read this.

Anti Prop-1 Campaign

Carless in Seattle has a great round-up of the anti-prop 1 ads that have just started airing. The comparison of the Pierce County ad with the Seattle Ad is pretty interesting.

King 5’s Robert Mak, whose show “Upfront with Robert Mak” is one of the most (unfairly) unintentionally hilarious programs on television because of Mak’s resemblence to Kermit the Frog, discussed the issue and sums up the anti-transit side of the story though in a little bit simplistic way.

“When you find out how little it does, and how much it costs, it’s the largest public works project ever proposed in America,” said Kemper. (STB – What? It’s the largest project works project because of how little it does?)

Some opponents are now running radio ads claiming the extra license tab and sales tax would add up to $157 billion by the time the last bonds are paid off in 50 years.

But transit supporters say the estimates are wrong, because after the year 2027, Sound Transit may choose to reduce taxes if it doesn’t need them.

Anyway now I finally figured out where the $157 billion number comes from, they assume that all taxes that are being collected will be collected for the 60 years that started in 1996 and will end in 2057 without building any more than is in the plan today. If prop 1 passes, the taxes will start to decrease after 2027 – when final construction finishes – unless new construction is approved by another vote.

The other thing, is the $157 billion number is mentioned in year-of-expenditure dollar amounts, which are inflation-adjusted. That means that the 2057 dollar amount is listed along side the 2007 dollar amount even though nothing in 2057 will cost the same as it does in 2007. Confusing right?

We’ve gone over and over again why using inflation-adjusted number make no sense (short recap: 1) All inflation numbers are estimates, so we don’t know the actual number anyway, 2) inflation adjusted numbers over huge time spans vastly over emphasizes later expenditures because inflation has increased those numbers, and 3) population growth increases the number of people who are paying the taxes, so per-person numbers are mis-estimated). By including money that is not being taxed (full taxes instead of debt-servicing from 2027 to 2057) 30 years from now, they are adding the largest possibly number because inflation will make costs 50 years from now so much higher than today. They are also dividing by current population numbers, to come up with a $94,000 per household figure.

Liars and crooks with deep pockets trying to confuse voters because of an ideological opposition to mass transit. Wow.

Mount Baker Station Shots

I can’t say who took this photos because I don’t actually know. Whoever took these, could you send me a mail from a real address? I don’t work for Sound Transit, and I promise I only want to talk about transit, nothing more.