Nickels and Sound Transit 2

As expected, our endorsement of Greg Nickels generated a lot of good discussion. Reasonable transit advocates can disagree on the best pick for Mayor, and they certainly have.

The only thing I’d like to add is to correct a false impression. Some people believe that the credit everyone gives to Nickels for getting light rail built is basically a function of him endorsing a few measures and being in the vicinity when the key decisions were made.   In fact, it’s much more significant than that.

Back in July 2008, we covered extensively the battle to get ST2 back to the ballot.  It basically came down to a number of fence sitters waiting for all the other fence-sitters to commit.  The key swing vote was Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, who was holding out for rail to cross the county line, which required North King funds that Seattle would probably prefer to spend elsewhere.  Crosscut did some excellent reporting at the time about the key deal between Nickels and Reardon that got it done.  The tone of the piece is also a useful reminder of an atmosphere where further ST expansion seemed much less inevitable than it does today.

The other crucial Nickels contribution that year was in the conduct of the campaign itself.  In contrast to the big-money Roads and Transit campaign of 2007, donors were stingy in 2008.  Several STBers participated heavily in the 2008 yes campaign, and those that were there know that several Nickels staffers were given leave to run the campaign and do most of the work for it.

And of course, as late as November 1, 2008, the polling was pretty ambiguous as to whether or not Prop 1 was going to pass.  Prop 1 was far from a slam dunk, and Team Nickels is what got it on the ballot and put it over the top.

News Round-Up

Link at sunset
Link at Sunset, Photo by Flickr User litlnemo.
  • Some Beacon Hill residents are not happy about powerlines that have been installed in their neighborhood for the station their, noting they would rather have had them buried. As a Beacon Hill resident I’ll say I never noticed the powerlines, and I prefer the “don’t ask, just do” approach that was taken to an endless barage of community mailers, meetings and notices.
  • Speaking of endless meetings, the Seattle “process” even made the New York Times in their write-up of Link’s opening.
  • In order for Sounder to be extended southward from Downtown Tacoma to Lakewood, new tracks need to be built. The choosen path has an incline from D to M street, and the grade needs to be slowly elevated in that area. Many in Tacoma are not happy with the proposal for an “earthen berm” construction that they say would be akin to a wall in the neighborhood and be a potential barrier to future re-development in that area. Others just want Sound Transit to get on with it already.
  • Here’s WSDOT’s report on SR 167 HOT lanes. Apparently some 30,000 single occupancy drivers paid a fee to drive in the HOV lanes in the project’s first year, with an average of 1,710 drivers per weekday in April. The first number seems huge, while the second seems incredibly low to me. Still, the program had a postive effect on general purpose lane speeds with no apparent negative effect on HOV or transit speeds. (H/T to Erik G.)
  • Some County Councilmembers want to charge Seattle more for the ride free zone Downtown, and Downtown Business leaders are not happy.

More links below the fold.

Continue reading “News Round-Up”

Guest Post Series: In 1996, A Second Chance for Light Rail

by GREG NICKELS, Mayor of Seattle and Chair of the Sound Transit Board
rta01Following the defeat of the March 14, 1995 RTA proposition, things looked bleak for mass transit in Metro Seattle. Despite a relatively close outcome, the votes were not evenly distributed – Seattle, Lake Forest Park and Mercer Island were the only jurisdictions that passed the measure – the rest of King County and both Pierce and Snohomish Counties voted no. In Everett, Light Rail was slightly less popular than Prohibition! There was no requirement that the plan pass in each separate county (just the overall district), but politically it was necessary to show broad support, not just from a Seattle dominated electorate.

Given the math, how could a majority of the RTA Board be convinced to put the measure on the ballot? To make matters worse, the RTA, which had been given revenue from the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax for planning, no longer had any income and no legislative support for additional dollars in Olympia. Could the agency even survive until the measure was resubmitted?

Critics often bemoan the absence of leadership in our civic affairs, but I would argue that our regional leaders responded to the defeat of the first RTA plan with creativity and courage. I was approached after the election by two respected political professionals: John Engber and Don McDonough. They quickly convinced me (and ultimately the rest of the Board) that the key to success was to place a revised plan on the Presidential ballot in 1996. The reason? Younger voters would be a much larger proportion of the electorate. Younger voters believe they will be around for a while and therefore are much more likely to vote for a transit plan that may take years to complete (the defeated RTA plan took twenty years to build out).

The problem with November of 1996 was the twenty-month wait. How could an agency with no assets and no revenue survive? And what would it do in the interim?

rta02It began with a listening tour, asking voters why they had rejected the plan. Was it opposition to the entire concept or to certain aspects of the specific plan they rejected? The Board laid off most of the staff, keeping just 22 folks to reduce expenses to a bare minimum. Operating funds were borrowed from King County. The original Executive Director, Tom Matoff, resigned to give the Board a clean slate moving forward (Tom was a light rail guy with little interest in express bus or HOV access). Planning director Bob White (one of the original Metro staff) replaced Matoff.

Snohomish County Executive Bob Drewel took over as the Board Chair despite the terrible showing the proposition had in his county. Work soon focused on some basic concepts – a smaller initial phase (somewhat ironic given that this was the big reason for Everett’s opposition) with a shorter timeframe and more investments in express bus service and HOV access projects. This was an attempt to respond to concerns raised in our listening tour. Among the issues we heard were accountability for such a huge program from an agency with no track record and that there was nothing in the plan for many parts of the RTA district for many years (if ever).

In the end the phase one plan the Board put on the ballot, now called Sound Move, was reduced from $6.7 billion to $3.9 billion (1996 dollars) and Light Rail scaled back to a line from the UW to Sea-Tac (with a door open for Northgate if additional funds were secured). Added were park and ride lots, access ramps to HOV lanes and a concept called “sub-area equity”, the concept that funds should return to the county or sub-region in rough proportion to what they had paid. The time frame for completing phase one was pegged at 10 years. The election was set for November 5, 1996.

The campaign again was hard fought, but this time the proponents were less defensive. We focused more on grass roots support and less from “opinion leaders”. It worked, voters in all three counties approved the plan, 58.8% in King County, 54.4% in Snohomish and even Pierce voters gave a 50.1% nod to the yes side.

At last it looked like smooth sailing for a Metro Seattle mass transit system!

Sub-Regionalism Run Amok

Oakland Airport
Oakland Airport, photo by Invisible Hour

Something underlying the entire downtown Bellevue light rail tunnel conversation is the attitude present in many that since Seattle is getting a tunnel under Beacon Hill, and another from the ID up to almost Northgate, Bellevue deserves one as well. I could never argue against that: obviously, the fewer automobile intersections Link has to make the better, and a tunnel through downtown Bellevue is a way for Link to avoid several long-wait intersections that it would have to cross but would not have signal priority in. However, the more people throw around “multi-core” and “regionalism” when discussing Link, the more I fear events like the following quote, below the fold.

Continue reading “Sub-Regionalism Run Amok”

News Round-Up: 73 days

"Riding made EASY" RapidRide
Rapid Ride, photo by Oran

1973 is the year King County Metro was formed from the combining of Seattle Transit and the Metropolitan Transit Corporation.

Here’s a news round-up:

  • Metro is facing a giant budget hole, but King County Council-member Larry Phillips wants to make sure that Rapid Ride, Metro’s BRT system that will open next year, will be prioritized over other service when cuts are made. The Federal Transit Administration has awarded Rapid Ride a $13.8 million grant for buses and stops, and it would be a shame if the service was cut down to make the BRT service infrequent. I think we need a chance to see BRT really work in our region, so I agree with Phillips.
  • The tunneling for the station on Beacon Hill apparently created a ton of sink holes in the area around the station. It’s going to cost about $1 million to fill them all up.
  • May 9th is National Train Day. Unfortunately, I’m not going to be able to take a train that day, but I will be able to in just 73 days.

This is an open thread.

Update: This is a big week for BRT in the Puget Sound region. Today, Community Transit had an unveiling ceremony for its version of BRT called Swift. It will run along SR-99 in Snohomish county starting Nov. 30th of this year. It will have higher service frequencies than Rapidride (10 minutes all day) and use Transit Signal Priority to speed buses along SR-99. This corridor is perfect for BRT and will be very interesting to watch.

Guest Post Series: Sound Move, The First Try

by GREG NICKELS, Mayor of Seattle and Chair of the Sound Transit Board

scan0001_small
CPSRTA Election Pamphlet (also note the old agency logo on the train)

With just over ten weeks until Sound Transit Light Rail opens, this is my fourth installment on how we got here.

After the three County Councils agreed to place the RTA plan on the ballot, the RTA’s first actual service began on January 28, 1995. Called TRY Rail, this demonstration of commuter rail service carried passengers between Tacoma and Seattle for a few weeks and then between Everett and Seattle. In total, 35,000 passengers rode TRY Rail. Commuter rail was one of the elements of the ballot measure.

The first vote to decide Mass Transit for King County in 25 years (and the first ever for Pierce and Snohomish Counties) was scheduled for a March 14, 1995 Special Election. In addition to commuter rail, the plan contained a mostly surface light rail system connecting Tacoma to Seattle, north to Lynnwood (actually 164th St SW) and east across Lake Washington to Bellevue and Redmond.

The campaign in favor was called “Citizens for Sound Transit,” and the opponents, “Families Against Congestion and Taxes.” Early polls looked favorable with some 60% of respondents likely to vote yes. According to the Pro campaign FAQ:

There are basically two opponents: Ed Hansen, the Mayor of Everett and Kemper Freeman, Jr., a Bellevue developer. Mayor Hansen opposes this project because it doesn’t include light rail to Everett – in other words, it’s not enough. Freeman opposes this plan because he thinks it’s too much.

The campaign was nasty and the proponents often found themselves on the defensive, responding to FACT’s charges that the ($6,700,000,000) cost was too high (compared with buses and freeways), the ridership numbers inflated and it would not put a dent in congestion.

Despite carrying King County 50.3% to 49.7%, getting 61.7% in Seattle and winning in Lake Forest Park and Mercer Island, the measure got only 42.8% in Bellevue, lost Pierce County and did so poorly in Snohomish County (especially Everett) that Prohibition looked popular in comparison. It went down RTA district-wide 46.5% yes to 53.3% no. The region rejected mass transit. History repeated itself – mass transit was once again treated by many politicians in Olympia and the region as political roadkill. It looked like another dead end for rail transit.

The mayor’s previous installments: Counting Down to Link, Light Rail’s Beginnings, 81 Days

News Round Up: Park-and-Ride Bait and Bus Bulbs

japan april 158
More Pretty Bridges, Shimonoseki
  • The House has approved a bill approving the deep bore tunnel option as the preferred option for replacing the aging Viaduct. However, a House amendment pushed by Speaker Chopp puts Seattle on the line for any cost overruns. Never in the history of Washington State have local taxpayers been asked to contribute to a state roadway project.
  • The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department nabbed a park-and-ride burglar by setting up a bait car. Turns out, the sheriff’s department has been running a bait program since 2007, and the amount of incidents has fallen from 82 to in 2006 to just 20 last year.
  • CHS Capitol Hill Seattle Blog talks about the upcoming transit and pedestrian improvements to Pine St. Pine is a pretty strong corridor for buses, feet, and bicyclists so these improvements will be quite welcome.
  • A commenter has posted a photo set of his ORCA card and related documents. ORCA is the region’s next transit smart card, which can be used as both a monthly pass or a fare storage card. Did we mention that it automatically handles transfer for you? You can get one for free at orcacard.com.

PSRC Allocates Stimulus Funds

The Puget Sound Regional Council has released their approved project list to receive funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The only change from the initial staff recommendations is that the Metro hybrid bus purchase fund has been increased by $3m, by zeroing out funding for a Burien TOD project (I think it’s this project).  The big relief, though, is clinching the Metro vehicle maintenance subsidy, which should plug the 2009 deficit, increasing the time for someone to save Metro before armageddon in 2010.

I’ve asked Metro if the $25m for maintenance does count directly against the $29m deficit, and will follow up when I get an answer.

The full FTA list (and FHA list)  is below the jump.

Continue reading “PSRC Allocates Stimulus Funds”

Prop. 1 Precinct Maps

STB super-illustrator Oranviri has done it again.

Raw data here.

Some random comments:

  • Yes, the maps have the proposed Sound Move stations, not the actual Central Link or ST2.  Get over it.
  • You can compare this map with a 1999 median income map for kicks.
  • Given his constituency, Mayor Nickels was pretty smart to get out in front on ST2.
  • That huge blue block in the Southwest corner is Fort Lewis.  People that live on base pay no sales tax at the PX, and many have experience of other metro areas. (?)
  • We knew this already, but Aaron Reardon, Deanna Dawson, and Paul Roberts really delivered Snohomish County.

What do you learn from this?  Share in the comments.

PTBA Campaigns

To stir the pot a little more, here’s the voter’s pamphlet statement for the Snohomish County Public Transit Benefit Area.  No one bothered to submit a No statement, which is a pretty good indicator there wasn’t much of a campaign.  This August’s Everett Herald article seemed to indicated clear sailing.

Thanks to the insane requirement that every ballot measure be named Proposition 1, I have no doubt that a substantial chunk of voters thought they were voting on light rail.  It would be nice to see a breakdown of votes by people who actually read their ballot.

PTBA and Rural Sounder

Before we get too far into planning Sounder to Stanwood, Marysville, Orting, Olympia, and God knows where else, I think it’s useful to apply a little reality check from the last election.

This blog spent about 0.01% of its time in 2008 worrying about it, but there was a ballot measure in Snohomish County to extend the Public Benefit Transit Area to the Southeastern part of Snohomish County. This would have been a 0.9% sales tax increase to bring signficant bus service into these areas, which aren’t that far from Downtown Seattle in the grand scheme of things.

To make a long story short, this relatively modest measure got killed in the strongest possible pro-transit tailwind.

Areas like this, in general, contain dispositionally transit-averse voters who will contribute relatively little in terms of tax revenue and make it harder to pass needed measures.  Furthermore, people that live in these areas and work in major regional job centers are indicating a pretty strong preference to live as rural a lifestyle as possible, inconsistent with the growth that makes high-quality transit worthwhile.

I’m all for more Amtrak service to facilitate the occasional trip to or from Seattle, but subsidizing this kind of daily commute is not where we want to dedicate resources.

Image of Maltby from Flickr contributor Don Decoud.

Reflection

Before we resume celebrating, I’d like to make a personal note of apology to Erica C. Barnett, Josh Feit, the Sierra Club, and all other friends of light rail that advocated the defeat of Proposition 1 in 2007  I underestimated the wisdom of the region’s voters, and thought it foolish to hold out for a better package.  I thought the road measures were a critical sweetener to win suburban and exurban votes.

It took a lot of work to make my judgment wrong and theirs right, but that verdict remains true nonetheless.  In particular, I’d like to thank the Sound Transit staff, Mayor Nickels, Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, my blogging colleagues, and everyone who worked, volunteered, or donated to the campaign.  This is your victory.  Savor it.

U.S. Transit Measures + Cali HSR Prop 1A

Currently, Most of the transit measures that was out for rail, buses, etc are passing except for a few.

California High Speed Rail – 50.6% Yes – 49.4% No with 30% reporting in

Sound Transit Prop 1 – King County 61.9% Yes – 38.1% No – Snohomish County 55.4% Yes – 44.5% No. Pierce County 50.82% Yes – 49.18% No.

I-985 – 39.6% Yes – 60.6% No

New Mexico Transit (Including RailRunner) – Winner

Kansas City Light Rail -Defeated

Honolulu Elevated Commuter Rail – 53.0% Yes – 47.0% No

St. Louis Metrolink Tax – 48.0% No – 52.0% Yes

LA MTA Sales Tax – 64.5% Yes – 35.5% No

Sacramento Streetcar – Passing per SF Gate

BART – Passing per SF Gate

What to Look for Tonight

While we will likely know who the next President is within a few hours, we won’t find out the results of our state elections (Governor, I-985) or the regional transit expansion measure that we strongly support (Proposition 1). King County, the state’s largest, expects to count only about 39% of the ballots tonight.

But of course we can look at the returns as they come in and try to predict the outcome. For background, the Sound Transit District covers part of King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties. The harsh reality is that King will likely have to pull up lackluster support from Snohomish and Pierce voters. If — and this could be a big if — Snohomish and Pierce Counties report 43% and 44% respectfully (as they did in 2007’s Roads & Transit vote), then it’s projected that a 55.5% vote in King County would lead to the measure passing by 51%-49% overall. Now, obviously, if we get worse results in Snohomish and Pierce, then King voters will have a steeper hill to climb.

When the polls close at 8pm you’ll be able to see results at this page. Results will come hourly until around 1am. Again, we probably won’t know for sure if the measure passes tonight so be patient.

Let’s party

The Mass Transit Now campaign boosting Proposition 1 is throwing a party at Kells Irish Pub near Pike Place Market. I think some of us bloggers will be there, so stop by. It’s right near the Showbox!

How do the polls look?

Well, for Proposition 1 we don’t have much information. Older polls showed massive support for a light rail expansion, but there are concerns that the financial crisis will hurt Prop. 1. The latest meaningful poll pegs support at 47% Yes, 33% No, and 20% Undecided with likely voters (including leaners). The wisdom is that undecideds tend to break against initiatives. That poll was taken on October 18 and 19. Things could have shifted for or against the measure, and the likely voter model that SurveyUSA uses may not account for a changing electorate that Obama might bring to Puget Sound.

But this looks much, much better than a poll taken from the same pollster for last year’s Roads & Transit measure around the same time last year, which ended up failing. That poll found 30% Yes, 32% No, and 37% Undecided but unfortunately didn’t include leaners — so it’s not an apples-to-apples camparison.

I-985 has had more polling from SurveyUSA. A poll taken 10/26 – 10/27 found 29% Yes, 42% No, 29% Undecided. Another taken 10/30 – 11/02 found 33% Yes, 45% No, 23% Undecided. Because these polls are from the same pollster and are recent we can extrapolate that there is at least some solid opposition to Tim Eyman’s bad initative. Thank goodness.

In terms of Governor, polls are extremely close. We have endorsed Gregoire for Governor because Dino Rossi’s policies are dangerous to transit.

How did the Proposition 1 campaigns do?

The No campaign, NoToProp1.Org, has mostly relied on a massive amount of funding from Kemper Freeman, Jr. Just a few small contributions have been made. The campaign raised $152,725. The No campaign started a bit late, and invested mostly in radio ads as far as we can tell. They have had some online ads and of course have yard signs here and there.

The Yes campaign, Mass Transit Now, has received funding mainly from engineering companies, unions, and environmental groups. It has also received dozens of small contributions made online. The Yes campaign raised substantially more money with $892,623 in the bank.

The Yes campaign focused on grassroots operations, targeting farmer’s markets initially and canvassing Seattle and urban parts of the Eastside, Pierce County, and Snohomish County. The campaign reached voters through phone banking and multiple mailers (of which the No campaign had none). The Sierra Club, FUSE, TCC, and other major contributors to the campaign supplied volunteers and space for phone banking. The Yes campaign has also appeared on the radio, though the buy seemed smaller, and they have had online ads as well. There was far more Yes signage around.

The Seattle P-I, The Tacoma News Tribune, and the Stranger endorsed Proposition 1. The Seattle Times suggested voting No.

So that’s where things are. Today it’s in the hands of the voters.

In Crosscut Today

Whoa, did you see that Crosscut piece?

If you’ve been reading this blog or gone over to the Mass Transit Now website, you won’t read much you haven’t seen before.  What’s important, though, is who it’s by: Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, Edmonds City Councilwoman Deanna Dawson, and Everett City Councilman Paul Roberts.

These people aren’t the “true believers.”  They’re not in the tank for light rail, as we are.  They’re not part of the Seattle Mafia.  In fact, they were skeptics early in the process and were brought on board only when they were sure that Proposition 1 did what was needed for the region.

Much more useful than more of Mayor Nickels preaching to the converted.   Bravo.

BNSF selects GNP/Ballard to serve Snohomish County shippers

Thanks to tipper Jason Hill regarding the selection for freight service on the Eastside Rail Corridor:

The Port of Seattle announced today that it will begin negotiations with GNP/Ballard for freight service operation on the northern portion of the Eastside rail corridor. GNP/Ballard, a partnership between Byron Cole, who operates the Ballard Terminal and Meeker Southern Railroad, and Tom Payne, owner of GNP Railway, will pay the Port for use of the land, which runs from Snohomish and Woodinville.

The Port of Seattle is acquiring the corridor from BNSF, who selected the short line operator. Any contract between the Port and GNP/Ballard will not be finalized until the transfer of the corridor is complete.

The Port is acquiring the corridor from BNSF for $107 million. King County will contribute $2 million toward the purchase price in return for an easement for trail development on the southern segment of the corridor. The Surface Transportation Board is expected to grant approval in the fall of this year. The Port will then begin a public process to gain input on how King County citizens would like to see the rail corridor used.

Find more information about the Port’s purchase of the corridor or the public process that will follow on the Eastside Rail Corridor Web site.

New Service Starting Next Week

TDS_Sounder_plat0705_ppt

This Times article has the details here.

• In Kent, Metro’s new Route 157 will operate at peak times from the Lake Meridian Park-and-Ride, East Hill, and across the Green River Valley to Interstate 5 and downtown Seattle.

• Metro’s new Route 215 will run at peak times through North Bend, Snoqualmie, Snoqualmie Ridge, the Issaquah Transit Center, and the Eastgate Park-and-Ride en route to Seattle.

• More buses will run on Seattle routes 3, 4, 10, 11, 12, 14, 26, 28, 41, 44 and 46; Eastside routes 209, 230, 253, 269 and 929; and South King County routes 143, 153, 164 and 915.

• One round-trip Sounder train will be added between Tacoma and Seattle, and one reverse-commute train, for a total eight round-trips a day for the south line. Sounder’s north line will add one round-trip train from Everett to Seattle.

• Sound Transit’s new Route 599 will go from Lakewood to Tacoma, to fill a void because Sounder service has been delayed until 2012. Several trips will be added on Route 522 from Woodinville to Seattle, and Route 590 from Tacoma to Seattle.

• Community Transit in Snohomish County will add trips on its 200, 201 and 202 lines from Arlington to Everett and Lynnwood.

Bus Crunch

The Times has a pretty detailed analysis of the crowding we’re seeing on buses in King County and Snohomish County, and also has a nice graph showing bus routes by increased ridership, and descriptions of which routes are leaving riders behind. There’s also a section on how to solve the crunch, a couple of points I found interesting:

On Sept. 20, money from King County’s 2006 Transit Now sales-tax measure will add trips to 10 Seattle routes, as well as high-ridership lines serving Kent, Overlake, Redmond, Bellevue, Northgate and Green River Community College, and a new route to Seattle from Snoqualmie and North Bend. Another 30 buses are due next year.

Sound Transit soon plans to add buses on its lines from Everett and Lynnwood into Bellevue. Community Transit is buying 23 double-decker buses to replace smaller buses on commuter routes, and it is adding 15 buses to launch its bus rapid transit service next year on Highway 99.

We might not get much out of Transit Now:

But it’s not clear if Metro can provide everything it promised voters in Transit Now, including new bus rapid transit lines serving Overlake, West Seattle, Ballard, Aurora and Federal Way by the early 2010s.

But we will get likely get another fare increase

A proposed 25-cent fare increase at Metro would yield about $10.3 million a year — tackling only part of a predicted $30 million to $40 million yearly deficit. The agency could sell land, eliminate the idle Seattle waterfront streetcar, dip into rainy-day funds or seek fare hikes. A recent dip in diesel prices could provide some relief, but not enough.

Snohomish County on Oct. 1 will raise fares by 25 cents or more, depending on the length of a trip.

There’s a mention of the Mass Transit Now measure, but not a very positive one:

In an $18 billion ballot measure this November, Sound Transit is including a boost of 100,000 yearly bus hours and more south-end Sounder trains. But the lion’s share of the money would go to build light rail to Lynnwood, Overlake and Federal Way, which would open in the early 2020s. King County Executive Ron Sims opposes the plan, arguing that buses need more money, right now.

There’s some light rail opening next year… No mention of that.

The routes skipping passengers most often:

Route 358: Aurora Avenue North to downtown Seattle

Routes 194, 174: Seattle, SeaTac, Federal Way

Route 71: Wedgwood, U District, downtown Seattle

Route 41: Lake City, Northgate, downtown Seattle

Route 1: Queen Anne to Chinatown International District

Route 3: Queen Anne, First Hill, Central Area

I haven’t been left behind yet. Has your bus left you behind, or have you seen your bus leave others behind?

CT Expands, Raises Fares

The Everett Herald reports that CT is considering annexing a big chunk of territory, and introducing bus service there.  If I read the article correctly, the people in that area — and that area only — would get hit with the full 0.9% sales tax to get the new service.

Unfortunately, there’s some overlap between the annexation area and the Sound Transit district, so we may be looking at a 1.4% tax hike for transit in those areas, which can’t really be good for the prospects of either.

At the same time, CT has decided to hike fares:

Adult local fares will be $1.50 (up 25 cents). Adult commuter fares will be $3.50 (up 50 cents) for trips to and from south Snohomish County. Trips to and from north and east Snohomish County will cost an adult $4.50 (up 75 cents).

I like that the increase is weighted for distance of commute; the longest-distance trips cost the most to serve, and have the highest cost advantage vs. driving.