April 18, 2006
Ron Sims proposes yet another unnecessary tax hike
Today's Seattle Times reports that "Sims wants to boost sales tax to add buses"
I'm actually with Ron Sims on the part about enhancing the bus system. Frequent, flexible, efficient bus service makes more sense than most other forms of public transportation. In other cities I've lived in, buses are an attractive alternative to driving and parking in a congested downtown. Buses could work better here too. But that doesn't mean we need to raise the overall amount of taxes we pay for public transportation. The biggest problem with transporation in this region is that too much is being wasted on extremely expensive, inflexible fixed rail systems that do/will carry an insignificant number of riders. (The counterargument in favor of rail is that service is more dependable and predictable than bus, but that's not necessarily true.) There's no reason to raise taxes to support bus service, all that is needed is to stop wasting money on silly rail projects and spend some of the "savings" on buses.
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at April 18, 2006
10:00 AM | Email This
Frankly, people should have known that a vote for Ron Sim$ would have resulted in this. David Irons would have never done something this incredibly stupid.
2. Light rail or subway systems make cities much more liveable when done well. It's an incredible waste of money when done badly. Wash. DC's Metro is excellent, New York's subway is essential, and San Francisco's BART system is also good. On the other hand, the Miami light rail system was foolishly planned and a complete waste of money when I lived there, in part because it did not go anywhere anyone wanted to go. Seattle would be better off with a good light rail system. I'm just not sure we are going to get there from here.
What other cities have you lived in that offered better bus service than Seattle? Did those cities not also have rail mass transit? It's time for Seattle to enter to the 21st center in regards to mass transit. You simply can't have a city grow exponentially without matching that growth with mass transit.
I suspect your oppoosition to this plan has nothing to do with transit options and everything to do with greed. You opposed the monorail in favor of buses. Now you say it should be buses instead of light rail. Where in the heck do think all those buses are going to drive?
Stop being so self centered and short sighted. Get out of your SUV's and support mass transit - it's the way of the future.
4. But there was already a special tax voted on by the people a couple years ago for buses. And there are already too many empty buses running around Redmond! Now we have to pay for MORE empty buses on the eastside??? NOOOOOOOOOOO
Claire it is the way of the libs
future to impose this on everyone. Can you explain what it has to do with greed?
What advantage is there to have the city grow exponentially? Who does that benefit (other than the government to collect more taxes)? Why not spread out so that we do not have such massive concentrations of populations? With the technology of the 21st century that is possible without having to herd people around on mass transit. This would reduce commuting especially in such concentrated areas, reducing the amount of polution. Children (it is about children after all) would have better air and more safe open spaces.
6. Interesting little online poll they have going...as of this posting 68% of people said either "No More Taxes!" or "Tax money could be better spent on other projects" or "I don't ride the bus now and wouldn't if there were more of them".
7. Frequent, flexible, efficient bus service makes more sense than most other forms of public transportation.
Indeed. I only wish that Sims was as enthusiastic about flexible
as he is about frequent
. It's hard to get excited
about buses coming every 10 minutes to stops that I don't use.
Clair: Here's a problem I'm having with Sound Transit -- maybe you can clear it up. It has to do with ST's spending habits. Back when ST was on the ballot for voter approval, the voters were told on the ballot it would cost $3,900,000,000. That was for the heavy rail, light rail, and HOV lanes.
Let's assume the light rail route promised actually gets built -- U-district to SeaTac (minus the first hill station). That should be up and running when, 2015? Let's also assume ST2 does not pass. OK. What will ST have spent by 2015? And, what will the present value be of the remaining costs of the bonds ST has issued up to that point?
This is not a trick question, Clair. This information is not on the ST website, and I honestly can not determine what the actual costs of the system promised in 1996 will turn out to be by the time the thing gets up and running. Can you provide an estimate, and show us how you determined it? Thank you.
by greed and self centered-ness claire must be referring to things like:
-being able to pay off a student loan
-being able to pay off my mortgage
-being able to pay my property tax for Sims
-being able to take a vacation with my family when I haven't been able to for 3 years
-being able to start a business (for which all capital and operating expenses will be higher)
-being able to save for my kids college tuition
-being able to save for retirement because the responsible people in our government burned my social security money.
yeah I'm greedy and its all about my love for SUV's- even though many of us don't really own them. God forbid my kids get to go see Disneyland when Claire doesn't have enough transportation options.
In truth- I do love SUV's. They are paying 3x more per mile for our roads than those who make smarter purchases. Keep them sucking it up.
Does anyone else see the irony in Claire suggesting we get into the 21st century with a 19th century solution in fixed rail transit?
Rail systems like Chicago and New York and DC work well primarily because the cities either grew up around them (rail transit was added to Chicago within about a decade of the Chicago fire when the city was doubling or tripling every decade, and thus the city could adapt to the mass transit system) or cities that grew up before the advent of mass transit. Both of these situations greatly favor rail mass transit solutions because they were well adapted to the idea that all services needed to be available within easy walking distances from the center of a neighborhood (or transit stop, in the case of Chicago). Seattle doesn't have that advantage--the growth of Seattle was as a result of urban spread where large subdivisions consisting of hundreds of square acres grew up with nothing but houses in them and retail services at the fringes. In these situations, mass transit is very inefficient, and it shows particularly in places like Seattle and Los Angeles.
In other words, the 19th century rail solution fits well with 19th century cities, and not so well with 20th century cities that grew up around the idea that automobiles should not be luxuries. When this 19th century solution is applied to 20th century cities, you end up with a situation like Portland where the rail traffic has plateaued despite a rapidly growing population, but because the funds were diverted into hugely expensive rail projects instead of true congestion alleviation projects there was no budget left at the end of the day to actually improve traffic flow.
This is not just an issue of how much it costs to build rail, but also an opportunity cost issue and thus a zero-sum game--it's not just how much you spend on the rail lines, but also how many lanes of traffic/road improvements could you have done with the money you spent since in general populations do not have an unlimited appetite for taxing themselves. This is further exacerbated by those on the fringe left who believe this is actually a good zero-sum game to play, hoping that traffic will get so bad that it will actually force people out of their cars and into rail cars so they can claim that rail was a successful solution. The costs on this are obviously two-fold (above and beyond the opportunity costs and the sheer cost of implementing the rail solution): the cost in freedom for those who would prefer to drive their cars, and the cost in commerce when commercial traffic gets held up in traffic jams due to funds that would speed up the flow of traffic being diverted into non-commercial uses such as light rail.
I know that it's a romantic notion (isn't it interesting that the Romantic era largely occurred during the 19th century with the dreams of railroad robber barons at the center?) for quiet, pollution free rail to replace all those angry, cell-phone talking commuters in their noisy, dirty cars with happy commuters, but this isn't really what happens in the real world. In the real world, rail tacked onto 20th century cities leaves behind not only the deferred costs of the traffic-alleviating projects that will have to be taken eventually but in terms of lost commercial opportunities as well.
I live 10 miles from work, and don't need to get on a major highway to get there. So owning an SUV doesn't have much of an impact on me, even if gas prices hit the $3 mark. I get to work in 15-20 minutes, but would have to drive 3 miles to get to a bus stop to take the bus in. No thanks.
As for the "greedy SUV owners", this is still a free country and fortunately no one, not even liberals, will ever tell us what cars we can or cannot own. Besides the fact that we use our SUV extensively for hauling, even if I had a longer commute, I would still own an SUV purely for the fact that I stand a better chance of walking away from a bad collision than you do in your Prius, Civic, whatever.
12. Well-written post, Marc. Thank you.
O.K. Mr. Sims you say you are requesting more money to augment bus service. My question to you is why should I give you so much as a wooden nickel when under your leadership of Sound Transit the decision was made to operate express bus service between the Tacoma Dome and S 9th & Commerce which duplicates to within a hundred yards the exact route served by the Tacoma Link Light Rail route. This redundancy of service wastes 4,500 plus service hours per year of Express bus service with no benefit to the citizens of Sound Transit’s service area. Let me ask you this one simple question: How did you justify this waste of ‘scarce transit resources?’
Here is my take on what went on here – There is a cadre of politicians in Tacoma/Pierce County that consider being elected to public office as an invitation to join a select group in a very closed ‘investment club.’ This group consists of politicians, their family members and close business associates of theirs. This ‘investment club’ is heavily involved in development within in Tacoma’s ‘redevelopment zone’, which is traversed by or located in close proximity to the Tacoma Link Light Rail route. Remember the politicians, their family members and close business associates were instrumental in defining this ‘redevelopment zone.’ In defining this zone they basically were giving special favors to themselves, their family members and to their close business associates. These favors included ten years of exemption from paying property taxes, what this little trick amounts to is a transfer of riches from each and every other tax payer in the City of Tacoma to the ‘development partners.’ How this works is that at the time the development is on the market, be it condos, retail space or whatever part of the ‘value’ that the purchasers are paying for is that in moving from a $450,000 house in Proctor into a $550,000 Condo in one of these subsidized developments they will be paying less out of pocket each month because they are allowed to freeload on the taxpaying residents of the City for Fire, Police, and the rest of the necessary municipal services. This makes each unit more valuable because it is more attractive to prospective purchasers enriching the members of these ‘private investment groups’ by and additional ~$50.000 to $100,000 per unit above what they would have sold for without this tax break.
Providing multiple layers of taxpayer funded public transit options also adds value to these ‘investments’ at no cost to the developers. Having Ron Sims agree to make the Tacoma Link Light Rail “FREE” also adds value to these ‘investments.’
If you doubt anything in what I have said here do your own research and ‘follow the money’ you will find that it leads straight back to the Ladenburgs, Evans, Phelps cabal. Ron Sims was an integral part of this scheme and if you look closely the connections are only too obvious. Not all the Tacoma/Pierce politicians are involved, some of them are not involved at all in this organized theft, but to the ones that are it is a ‘way of life for them.’
By the way, while there is a duplication of service in this area there are whole areas within ST’s service area that have either no or very much less than adequate service. This, my friend is a scandal and a disgrace of the first magnitude. 4,500 service hours pi$$ed away in order to enrich Tacoma and Pierce politicians, their family members and close business associates by allowing them to advertise their condos as having a multiplicity of transit options all paid for at public expense.
DC's Metro system was built in the early 70's and completed, I believe, in 1976. It's a wonderful system. Clean, well lit, safe, convenient, etc. Plus, the Rosslyn station has a bitchin' escalator!
Traffic in DC during construction was horrible, and traffic in the area, especially on the Beltway is still horrible, but a tourist can drive easily on the DC surface streets and parking is not too hard to find. The parking lots at the Metro stations in the 'burbs are packed, and most of those cars would be in DC w/o Metro.
The Metro trains are above ground in the 'burbs, and underground in DC. Seems like the system was well planned. I don't see much of that intelligence at work here.
Why do we need to INCREASE the tax rate to subsidize public transit?
It is already bad enough that King County Metro only pays 14% of its operating costs through the fare box.
A full bus will actually operate at a slight profit. But the vast majority of Metro's busses operate at less than 10% of capacity.
Ron Sims says that King County will be adding 250,000 new jobs. This means a lot more sales tax revenue. So the existing 0.2% sales tax will be generating a lot more money if this happens, and increase the number of dollars going to transit subsidies.
In addition, if there are 250,000 more people, then more of them might actually ride Metro's busses, and the 14% share from the fare box could actually increase.
So there is no need whatsoever to increase the 0.2% sales tax subsidy for King County Metro.
Let's don't forget that Sound Transit currently gets a 0.4% sales tax subsidy -- twice the amount going to King County Metro. Sound Transit also gets a 0.3% MVET on top of this.
If there is any need for an additional subsidy for King County Metro, the dollars should come from Sound Transit, and not from another sales tax increase.
Here’s something to think about. People said that our roads are subsidized too, so why not subsidize public transportation? But car drivers pay the road subsidy themselves, through gasoline taxes. Bus riders do not pay the subsidy, but instead pass the burden on to other taxpayers.
It is 11 miles from my home in east Bellevue to downtown Seattle. My car gets about 22 miles per gallon, so I will burn a gallon of gasoline on a round trip. I will spend $3.00 for the gallon of gasoline. 31 cents for state taxes, and close to 20 cents for federal taxes. I pay all the costs of the roads I drive on at the pump when I buy the gasoline.
If I take the bus to Seattle for a round trip, this costs $4.00 during peak hours. However, the bus fare pays only 14% of the cost of operating the transit system. The remaining 86% of the cost – about $24.57 per trip – gets paid for by other taxpayers.
Let’s see – a Metro bus pass costs $792.00 per year to include all of King County and peak pricing. Fares cover only 14% of Metro’s budget. This means that it costs a total of $5,657 for Metro to cover the costs of the average annual bus pass holder.
My automobile costs less than $5,657 to own, operate, maintain, insure, fuel, and depreciate. I can use it any hour, day or night, and go from my house to wherever I want to go. I can safely transport my three year old daughter in my automobile (assuming no careless enthusiastic Democrat congressional candidates are on the road).
So automobiles are a far better bargain than public transportation. This would remain the case, even if gasoline was $5.00 or $6.00 per gallon.
The topography around here makes for an impossible rail system. Rail stations require gentle slopes leading up to and leaving the station. It is not a roller coaster, or at least it shouldn't be.
Therefore, a lot of the system will be underwater or on geological faults.
Seattle is north-south and is hilly and narrow. This is not conducive to rail. At least, efficient rail.
The low densities of the outlying areas means huge and unsafe park and rides, which is another detriment.
Someone this morning brought up that rails and etc. become even more inefficient when they include multiple stops. Stops means time drags on and it is easier to ride your own or carpool.
It ain't going to work and a system cannot be planned out that will make it work. The best you can hope for is buses and maybe they should be smaller on some routes.
Kill Sound Transit and adopt King Cobra Ron Sim's proposal. (King Cobra as in squeezing your lifeblood from you)
Hmmm... IMHO, this is how it should be done:
- Light rail down I5.
- Light rail down 405.
- Light rail down Highway 99.
- Bus lines running in loops, approximately every 1/2 mile, East-West (for example, one North Seattle loop would be 85th-32nd-65th-Sand Point Way - 85th)
Basically three main North/South lines on the high-traffic corridors where the State and Feds already have the right of way.
Then use bus to spur off into the neighborhoods. Buses should be 16-24 passenger units, running every 8-10 minutes. They tried a system like that (Link, in Ballard) and it was great, heavily used.
Then make it all free. We're already covering 90% of the costs, cover that other 10% as well.
Where have I seen such a system work? Vancouver, BC. Regular buses, closely packed lines (don't have to go 3 miles to find a bus), and intersecting a long rail system.
It could work, if done right. I know it doesn't placate those who desire light rail everywhere, but they have to face the facts - our geography dictates that we CANNOT have a solution that works elsewhere.
We're N/S because the lakes and Puget Sound. And we have lots of hills. Buses are fine on hills; trains are not. What works in DC or Chicago won't work here - we're not spread out circularly, and we're not flat. Run the trains down the main freeway corridors (which are plenty flat), and use buses to distribute out into the hillier, harder to access parts of the city.
But you guys are not seeing the big picture. I do ride transit every day to work and take Metro into Seattle for mid day meetings and ST Express from Seattle to Tacoma on occasion, I also drive about 20,000 miles per year too.
The other day I had one of the berets and Birkenstock crowd get right in my face and say ‘yea, but if you never took the bus you would never interact from those of a lower socio-economic status than yourself would you?’ Well that is not quite true, I interact with people of all socio-economic bla bla bla what ever the h3ll that means all the time, but I assure you I would not voluntarily interact with people who don’t bath, have puke hanging from their being, are generally disagreeable to be near etc all of which and more I have been blessed with sharing a bus with.
Their response was that having to ride the bus with reprobates ‘broadened my horizons’ sand therefore I benefited from it by being forced to acknowledge them. To which I say. B.S.
22. claire should know "mass transit" is not limited to subways and rail systems.
So for me to get from Bellevue to Pikes Market I would take a bus to a 405 train station, go to the I90 train station, catch a bus to the I5 train station and catch a train to Pike St station and then catch a bus to Pikes Market.
If I waited an average of 4 minutes at each stop, I would be waiting 20 minutes and have four transfers. Much better than my car.
24. Fred... actually, what's planned is that from Bellevue, you'd get directly on a rail that would drop you off four blocks away from Pike in downtown. We're building the first half now, and you'll be voting for the second half next year with the RTID package.
So, you're saying that hills and tunnels aren't conducive to rail? You mean, much like Japan, where the new 360km/h bullet train line to Hokkaido is 3/4 tunneled over several hundred kilometers? Or the Tokaido Shinkansen line that carries 3.7 million passengers *per day* over a 1/3 tunneled line?
On the contrary, Seattle is uniquely suited to rail because it's bottlenecked perfectly in downtown.
Nice post from the Pope, I bought a 94 prizm four years ago and have put 100K miles on it since then--North Bend turns out to be a long way from anyplace. Assuming 25MPG, I've bought about 1000 gallons of gas a year, I paid under $3K for the car and at $2.50 a gallon (significantly more than the four year average of fuel)and adding insurance, I still spend only about $4K per year, and I get to subsidize you urbanite liberals with your big polluting diesel busses.
How's this for a idea, why doens't everyone get their own hiney where it needs to go on their own dime from now on.
Claire also needs to look up the word exponential. Growth in the Sound is increasing, but not exponentially. The trouble with mass transit fantasy is that is does not fit the world in which we live today. (Nice post Marc) And the world we live in today is as much a creation of our long standing auto centric culture as the reality of today's vast dispersion of origins and destinations that can only be easily serviced by individual autos.
There is no simple panacea of mass transit. And the cost of building mass transit and the realism of weaving it in to the existing infrastructure of the region mean that there is no way it can be completed to a truly useable point in anything less than 50 years.
un-Sound Transit should be shut down asap. It's hemorrhaging tax dollars. And it operates at an extreme loss.
Not another freaking dime!!!
I live on the Enumclaw plateau and have to get to Redmond for work.
Even with the benefit of a flexible schedule, it's impossible to get to Redmond from Enumclaw via transit in less than 3.5 hours unless you drive 20 miles to the Auburn train, (more than half the commute distance in the wrong direction) and with any transit option I'm forced to go through the liberal s***-hole of downtown Seattle. (Twice for a round trip)
No thanks, I'll pay any gas price to not have to visit Seattle twice daily and increase my personal expenditure of time by nearly another full time job.
29. Have you heard? Sims is so busy raising taxes that he doesn't have time to meet with the Chinese president - one of King County's largest trading partners...
Sorry, there, Transitman, but comparing Seattle to Japan is laughable.
Now, maybe we aren't on the same page. I am saying that the system needs to pay for itself to make it work. Yes, you can build underwater, over and under the hills of Seattle, Bellevue, Lake Washington, Pike Street. I didn't say you couldn't if you had an open checkbook.
With the low densities of population in the area (especially compared to Japan) you need to make many more stops (assuming again you are expecting full trains in a less densely populated area). The idea is that with many stops and few people getting off the train at each stop (i.e. you don't have the density).
With that being agreed upon (the need for lots of stations) then you have the problem of delivery- i.e. gentle approaches and exits from the station.
And the fear of earthquakes? I believe Gregoire when she said the Viaduct would fall down during the next shaker and I don't want to be on it when it does. How can you, Ben, protect us from that catastrophe on your belowground scheme? I am claustrophobic when in an underground train; what will happen if there is a shaker?
So, in summary, the density (oops, did I say density again) does not justify the underground rail you like. And the topography makes it next to impossible to make an ug system work.
Don't take my money, anymore, please and thank you.
31. Hey I ride the bus every day. I tell everyone who wants to switch from cars to the bus not to do it. First I think buses are better than light-rail and the Sounder. Second I know that buses are essential to the county. I know all this. But, Metro is so porly run that Taking the bus is a miserable experience many times. For example I usuially take one of two routs the 194, which is good most of the time, and the 174 which is always a pain. If Metro wants more people to ride they need to make a few changes. First get rid of that stupid ride free zone, make everyone pay when they get on. That will bring in more money and make those of us who use the product pay for the product, What a thought. Second enforce the Metro Code of Conduct. This is a simple one the rules are posted on almost every bus. Third make the schedule a schedule, stay on time. Finially when a driver does not do what he is supposed to do get rid of them. I once had a driver stop to talk to hookers and go grocery shopping while on duty during the middle of the route, after starting 20 minutes late. He was late because he he just did not want to leave yet. Last I checked he is still working and never got in trouble. When I tell liberals this I get accused of being stupid or heartless. What do i know I just ride the bus.
support mass transit - it's the way of the future.
Claire, try this one. Go ride the rail in LA, but before you jump into this great idea. First get a strong strap for your purse and don't wear any rings at all or the nice gang bangers will show you what rail systems are really good at. Being robbed. I rode that nightmare for 3 months and gave up. Don't tell us what greed is about, just ask Sims instead.
Yeah future alright!
Adult Population of Washington State: 4.5 Million (Approx)
# of People in Washington State who think they are traffic engineers: 4.4 Million
Adult Population of Washington State: 4.5 Million (Approx)
Amount of people who are tired of higher taxes.
4.5 Million Yeah even the Libs hate it, they just won't say it.
35. Ben, is that "RTID package" you mention the one where in order to get road improvements (I-405, SR 99, SR 520 bridge) we ALSO would be forced to pay decades of higher sales taxes to Sound Transit?
"Rail systems like Chicago and New York and DC work well primarily because the cities either grew up around them (rail transit was added to Chicago within about a decade of the Chicago fire when the city was doubling or tripling every decade, and thus the city could adapt to the mass transit system) or cities that grew up before the advent of mass transit."
Wrong Marc. Seattle did have mass transit systems until the 1950's. Our city had a electric trolley within the city and a commuter rail system going from Everett to Seattle. Both systems were privately owned.
What changed? Well it starts back in the early part of the 20th century. GM and Standard oil
wanted to increase their profits so the lobbied and bribed the goverment to build roads. Then
in the 1950's we had the creation of the interstate freeway system. The commuter rail and
trolley system could not compete with the massive government subsidies for roads. They went out of business. The trolley system was torn up and replaced by roads.
37. 1 We need a management team at Sound Transit that knows what they are doing.
2 Have the light rail go from the International District straight to SeaTac along the original route and consider reclaiming the Interurban from Tacoma to Everett.
3 Scrub the Martin Luther King route and use buses
4 Mr Sims has never met a tax he did not like
5 Instead of pulling up the BNSF rails along I-405 run Sounder cars and freight
6 There are already enough rail trails in King County that need maintenance
7 Mr Ferguson this would be a good use of your time
38. GM and Standard oil
wanted to increase their profits so the lobbied and bribed the goverment to build roads. Then
in the 1950's we had the creation of the interstate freeway system. The commuter rail and
trolley system could not compete with the massive government subsidies for roads. They went out of business. The trolley system was torn up and replaced by roads.
M&M.... Got some proof on that? How about a link to something? Saying it doesn't mean it's for real.
Oh, yes, I'm going to take a van from my area to a transfer point, then I'm going to take a bus into Seattle, where I can transfer again to rapid transit to the airport! Pardon me! I'll drive thank you & willing spend the money to do it.
Next point: I used to meet my husband in downtown Seattle, so that we could go to dinner then to a play, symphony, or other program. I had to carry my evening attire in a shopping bag when I got on the bus, so that I wasn't assulted by the denizens of the bus system who were there with their loud music, their smells, their inebriation, their loud vocal ramblings, etc.
More than once I was afraid of what would happen before I reached downtown Seattle, only to have to face the street people, the druggies, & others with their hands out near the Main P.O. We finally gave up on going to Seattle for anything.
Next point: We don't use the bus system, so why should we pay any more than we currently do to support it? It's all a Seattle problem & Seattle can tax their own citizens to pay for it. I pay enough in property taxes, gasoline taxes, sales taxes, etc. I'll be da*ned if I'm going to pay any more to this state or this county. Next stop! A different state where the taxes and the cost of living are lower. Anybody for Texas, Florida or Nevada?
Good point. The whole notion that the bus system should be subsidized by all for the sake of the few who use it is unamerican. I could see paying for a wider transit system that was actually of some benefit to the whole region, but the current transit systems are used by relatively few of the total Sound Residents. Take a look at buses in most of the region. Most buses are empty. I just watched a bus go by in downtown Tacoma. It had about 10 people on board, and that's during the commute hour. If bus riders actually had to pay the full cost of the buses they ride as do drivers, we'd probably see even less ridership. Then we could lower the costs of the system and pay for only the most used bus routes that are actually turning a profit.
41. If it's fair to tax gasoline (and hence, automobile drivers) so more money can be had for roads, then it's fair to tax metro riders so they can have more buses. I refuse to pay for more empty buses, when I have zero interest in being part of a group of cattle being shuffled around on them and at the mercy of bureaucrats and KCE's who run them!
Gee, as I said before, I hadn't realized that we are already paying 1.2% sales tax to subsidize transit in King County. 0.8% for King County Metro and 0.4% for Sound Transit. Plus another 0.3% MVET for Sound Transit.
That is a lot of money. Ron Sims says a 0.1% sales tax increase will generate $50 million a year. So the existing 1.2% sales tax already generates $600 million a year.
That is far more than enough money to subsidize health insurance for every adult in King County who is presently not covered by their employer or an existing government program and needs a subsidy to be able to afford their own policy. (Children in lower income families are already covered by Children's Medicaid, whereas an adult has to have almost no income and no assets to qualify for the regular Medicaid program.)
I believe that the universal health care program that Republican Governor Mitt Romney just got enacted in Massachusetts costs far less in additional per capita spending, than the money we presently pay to subsidize transit in King County.
Why do Democrats keep advocating universal health care in their platforms, but instead spend the money on other things that can't possibly be as important?
43. "Ron Sims proposes yet another unnecessary tax hike,"
The man's lost his mind and the people (even the liberal supporters) have lost their patience!
I noticed Ron wasn't invited to the President Hu dinner at Gate's house....
Ron Sims is going down.
The tax hike is 0.1 % - for buses. Is there any way to take Sound Transit of the tracks ? Buses are actually better for rapid transit than light rail, because they have mobility. His description of buses every 10 minutes was bogus/ludicrous or just simply lame news reporting by the dum#a** local news media.
I'd hate to give Sims much credit for anything he comes up with - so I'll go with incrementalism at play here 0.1% here, 0.2% there... It's too bad the Conservatives can't reverse the liberal socialists incrementalism for reducing big government little by little. The scary fact of the matter is that incrementalism is a rather effective approach - when will the Repubs pick up on that ? Congress abandoned that conservative principle back when Clinton was in office -enough said.
Who said, "Never have so many given so much for so few"? Winston Churchill? Ron Sims? Greg Nickles?
Who's head of ST? maybe it was that person, but I think their version is actually, "Always should so many give so much for so few...."
I read lots of belly-aching about a tax increase but no real solutions. North Bend Boy says move your own hiney to where it needs to go, I'm with him there. The first place to save money on transportation is North Bend and other towns that are good for nothing but sucking up disproportionate amounts of tax dollars. I say let them pay for all their roads themselves. Small towns with no economic base should be allowed to waste away without King County's subsidy.
Singapore spent $1B and built a mag-lev train, the Port of Seattle spent $1B on dirt for a 3rd runway (make that a 2nd 2nd runway). Seattle subsidizes multimillion dollar sport brats. No doubt there are some very poor tax decisions made in Seattle and the state. But King County needs to do something about transportation. If you've got solution for gridlock and can do it on the cheap, throw it out there. Otherwise, grin and bear it.
"Then in the 1950's we had the creation of the interstate freeway system. The commuter rail and
trolley system could not compete with the massive government subsidies for roads."
Ironically, the Interurban train (from Everett to Tacoma) provided almost the exact same travel time as we experience now in six hours of rush hour traffic each day.
Conservatives have always seemed to be fine with huge highway subsidies, since the car was always perceived to be an extension of "personal freedom" and the train was always supposed to be some kind of "social engineering" plot.
The fact of the matter is, that rich white conservative people don't like sitting next to poor brown or black people - and that hasn't changed in over a century.
"Have the light rail go from the International District straight to SeaTac along the original route and consider reclaiming the Interurban from Tacoma to Everett."
Sorry, Green Lake Mark. Reclaiming the Interurban would mean a massive taking of private property, which (something tells me) wouldn't be popular with anybody in this city. Let alone the fact that there are literally hundreds of grade crossings (roads filled with cars) along that route, where previously there was nothing but trees and cleared land.
"Scrub the Martin Luther King route and use buses"
It's as if some of you aren't living in reality. Presto, reality: http://www.soundtransit.org/newsroom/photo/ph_20060113_20060120.asp
"Instead of pulling up the BNSF rails along I-405 run Sounder cars and freight"
There is no ridership potential along this route, Green Lake Mark - and, in case you didn't notice, BNSF didn't abandon this corridor for no reason.
"Claire, try this one. Go ride the rail in LA, but before you jump into this great idea. First get a strong strap for your purse and don't wear any rings at all or the nice gang bangers will show you what rail systems are really good at. Being robbed. "
Army Medic/Vet: since your email indicates you live in Mukilteo, I would encourage you to try the commuter train some day. In fact, I would wager that you won't find any "gang-bangers" (read: non-white upper middle class people) on the train.
In fact, I took several trains on the LA subway a couple months ago, and didn't see a single one of these dangerous punks you seem to have encountered. I did see full trains on a Saturday, though. And it was a heckuva lot better than the bus system.
50. "The fact of the matter is, that rich white conservative people don't like sitting next to poor brown or black people - and that hasn't changed in over a century."
Times have INDEED changed - and YOU are obviously a racist! How dare you concentrate solely on the color of one's skin and not on the content of their character! How dare you imply that brown and black people are poor and stupid and white people are all rich and conniving! What a friggin stereotype!
You racist! Get off this blog!
"I noticed Ron wasn't invited to the President Hu dinner at Gate's house...."
Deborah - if you're a conservative, and you're supposed to be AGAINST communist dictatorships, isn't that supposed to be a GOOD THING? What ever happened to the real conservatives in this country?
I know Sims has pretty strong ties to the local Taiwanese community. Maybe this is why he skipped out on Hu Jintao's whirlwind Boeing/Microsoft/WalMart tour.
Times have changed? You mean how right wingers have figured out they can't use 'un-PC' racist language any more? I know that's frustrating for you, but I think you'll get used to it.
Take a chill pill.
And if you can't stand reading opinions that you disagree with, I would suggest moving to another country.
"How dare you imply that brown and black people are poor and stupid and white people are all rich and conniving! What a friggin stereotype!"
Who said brown and black people are poor and stupid? And how did that notion even pop into your head?
Since I am white and relatively rich, how in the world did you perceive I think all rich white people are conniving? In fact, where did you even come up with the notion I called anybody "conniving?" Are you reading a different thread, or what?
Are you the Dear Leader's pit bull who guards this forum against outside opinions?
54. UNBELIEVABLE!...Hey Ron Baby!...take a run out to Kirkland sometime and watch the evening buses that go all the way to downtown Seattle from Kings Gate with two or three people on them. Sounds like the taxpayers are subsidizing bus driver jobs...RON BABY!
I hate it.
I hate it.
I hate it.
But I have to give the devil its due.
Ron Sims should be commended for having the integrity to not meet with the Chinese leader.
There. I said it.
But then again, this doesn't make up for stealing peoples' land, promoting corrupt elections, and all the other evil things he has done over the years.
But I did give credit where credit is due. Any other person would have been hailed as a hero for what he did by me. But with Sims, it just doesn't make up for a political career that has more in common with Robert Mugabe than it does American leaders.
And then after hearing on the same day of his tax scheme, well then I realized that Tax to the Max was back.
So, ok, good job Robert, I mean Ron for your brief display of ethical behavior but I see that you aren't going to make it a habit.
"The fact of the matter is, that rich white conservative people don't like sitting next to poor brown or black people - and that hasn't changed in over a century."
Oh boy, another leftist who can read minds and knows what's in other people's hearts. No wonder they think they're wiser and more compassionate than everybody else--and therefor entitled to dictate how the rest of us should live.
Stefan, your position is irrational. If you think it's worth spending more money on buses, you should support the tax. The fact that we are spending money on other, unworthy, projects -- light rail, the Iraq war, whatever -- is unrelated to the incremental decision of whether to support the bus proposal. You can look at the broad picture for purposes of deciding which candidate to vote for, but pragmatically, you need to support individual bills that make sense without waiting for the the rest of the world to be perfect.
Or maybe you're just physically incapable of supporting anything proposed by a Democrat that involves government doing something good?
58. Bruce, reread what you wrote. Are you still serious? I am hoping for an edit.
Marc-- Very thoughtful analysis, and I mostly agree -- with one major caveat: Cities grow and evolve; Seattle and its suburbs are becoming denser, with more residential/commercial mix in places like downtown Seattle and downtown Bellevue. You can deride this as a "19th century city" but it seems like the natural evolution of most growing regions in the 21st century as well. If a lot of people want to live in a place, mass transit becomes relatively more cost-effective and roads become relatively less cost-effective. And if you build a rail system, it will encourage development along those lines.
I'm still not sure light rail makes sense given Seattle's other priorities, but there is a strong case for better mass transit here, whether bus or rail.
A Watchdog writes: people should have known that a vote for Ron Sim$ would have resulted in this. David Irons would have never done something this incredibly stupid.
Of course people knew that. That's why we resoundingly re-elected Sims.
"That's why we resoundingly re-elected Sims."
And with that bruce soundly identifies himself as incredibly stupid. Way to go bruce!
62. Bruce, you are a conundrum (I can't spell it but I know one when I see one). You made complete sense on your reply after mine, but then blew it right away with your comment to the Bulldog Watchdog.
63. Swatter, what about my comment did you disagree with?
I'll take you as serious.
You said you agreed with Watchdog about Irons wouldn't do anything so stupid, but then you went you on about that is why Sims was so resoundingly re-selected.
65. I just got the metro proposed change flyer today. There are currently 3 bus routes serving Duvall, only one of those serving my neighborhood. Now they want to eliminate the only route serving my neighborhood (929) and reduce the trips on the other two (311 and 232). Thanks Ron, for raising my taxes while cutting services. Another knife in my back as a East King County resident.
You are a racist moron!
Your posts scream of stereotypical racist beliefs!
You put the brown and black people down on the bus while elevating white people to some impossible fantasy of wealth.
You're a flaming racist and you should volunteer for diversity (and good home) training!
67. Doesn't Kirby Wilbur live in or near Duvall? I rest my case.
-You put the brown and black people down on the bus while elevating white people to some impossible fantasy of wealth. -
Deborah: I asked you two simple questions related to how you came up with these raving lunatic exasperations. You were unable to answer either. The fact you think that the elite actually do wish to mix with the rest of us (see: gated communities and private clubs) proves your really are out of touch with reality. Oh well.
69. And where in the Bible does it command you to personally insult people who disagree with you, Deborah?