MassTransit Now! YES! Regional Prop 1In the late 1960s, Seattle and the Puget Sound region had the chance to build a modern, grade-separated transit system. The warning signs, that millions of people would be moving into the region were summarily ignored, leading to the traffic congestion and transportation problems we face each and every day.

Now, in 2016, the region once again has the chance to fix the mistakes of previous generations by voting for Regional Proposition 1 (aka ST3). This multi-decade plan will build 116 miles of Sound Transit light rail, Bus Rapid Transit, express bus, commuter rail, and more–creating high-paying, high-quality employment, connecting the region, and providing an alternative to the daily commuting slog.

Please remember to vote YES for Regional Proposition 1 this November. We can’t afford the alternative.

For more information about what this plan will build, please visit: For volunteering opportunities in support of Regional Proposition 1, please visit:

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Gordon is a native New Yorker who wisely chose to leave the Northeast in the early 1990s. A past resident of Belltown, and Queen Anne, he currently calls First Hill home. He is a board member of the First Hill Improvement Association (FHIA) as well as the FHIA Transportation Committee Chair and is constantly looking for ways to improve transportation up the hill.

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I’m not wrong. This is what Smarter Transit used to be:

Here’s there campaign against ST2:

Your example of a single person who isn’t even listed on the smarter transit website isn’t evidence. Smarter Transit is the same organization that’s always opposed rail and will never support it. They support buses as a way to trick people into thinking there is an alternative. Clearly their astro-turfing works since you seem to believe they’d actually support better alignments. If you’re so sure why don’t you ask John Niles how he feels about raising taxes to support Ballard-UW and Metro 8.

“Nor does voting no preclude voting yes for something that is a much better value.”

^^Nor does voting yes preclude the plans you desire.

“Keep in mind, Sound Transit has had two failed vote. Twice they have failed, yet it hasn’t killed the appetite for transit in the region. Hell, only months after King County voted against more bus funding, Seattle managed to pass two (count them two) measures to increase transit funding.”

^^Nice talking point but this example actually illustrates my point. The failed ST2 was a roads and transit vote that was opposed by many in the transit and environmental community, including the Sierra Club. Sound Transit came back with a package that the transit and environmental communities supported but anti-tax community opposed (CETA aka Smarter Transit) and it passed. The entire environmental and transit communities support ST3. If it fails the lesson won’t be “Ross B was right.” The lesson will be “People have levy fatigue” or “additional transit is a losing vote, let’s add highways”


Wow, once in a generation. So that suggests that if we build this, we don’t get anything for maybe 25 years. If so, that is just another reason to vote no. There is no way any sensible person can say that this is what we should build next, or what we need most. It is reasonable, I suppose, to say it doesn’t matter. Build silly projects (even very expensive ones) because eventually (with ST4 or maybe ST5) we get it right, and build the things that will really make a difference in transit mobility for the region. But if this is it for 25 years, then we are doomed.

No, sorry, I think that is a really misguided approach. It does make a difference where you put the light rail. It makes a difference where you put the stations. You can’t just focus on mileage and assume that it will all work out. You just can’t ignore basic functionality as well as every example of good transit out there and just say it is “good enough”, even though it costs billions and billions (enough to scare legislatures from the very districts that will benefit!). I will vote no, and work hard to get the city (and other regions) to build things that make sense.

That basically means going back to the drawing board. No more silly Sound Transit assumptions. No more “spine”, or arbitrary neighborhood beneficiaries. Time to look at the city as a whole, and figure out how best to improve the transit system. By all means consider the projects within ST3. But compare them to the WSTT, a Ballard to UW subway or a Metro 8 subway. In the eastern suburbs you can compare Issaquah light rail with bus based alternatives (like BRISK — To the south and north you can look for similar bus improvements.

Who knows, maybe Issaquah light rail bubbles to the top. Maybe building a light rail bridge right next to a freeway in West Seattle serving only one neighborhood in West Seattle (and not the most densely populated one) makes the most sense financially. And maybe the Sonics will come back this year, and win another championship. It could happen, but I really doubt it. Chances are the projects that everyone says offer more value do offer more value. Density matters; proximity matters; time saved matters; added mobility matters.

Doug T

Ah yes the RossB talking points we had not forgotten them. We can pretend political constraints don’t exist but I’m not convinced going back to the drawing board delivers more transit upgrades to Seattle than ST3 in its current iteration. Subarea equity is not going to go away in the current funding scheme. The suburbs are not going to forget about early Tacoma to Everett promises. A new funding scheme would have to gain legislative approval putting any alternative funding structure in limbo. And as Martin Duke pointed out on Seattle Transit Blog this morning, the scaled back “Peanut Butter plan” isn’t necessarily cheaper. For it to be significantly cheaper it’d have to ignore subarea equity and thus likely cause revolt from the suburbs.

So until we hear how we throw out subarea equity but maintain the funding structure where we draw from three counties, these are just pipe dreams. And there are good stations in the plan, and a second downtown tunnel. Getting to Lower Queen Anne, Denny Triangle, and Ballard is going to be huge. And we get a chunk of change for Madison BRT. Admittedly the suburban stations in ST3 are more car-focused but building them to be pedestrian-focused would only drive up the cost more by necessitating more elevated or tunneled sections. I still think think the Federal Way stations are going to be pretty good. The Tacoma street car extension is also a really solid project. So yeah I say build it.


Nothing in my post, or any of my proposals suggest getting rid of subarea equity. Nice straw man argument, though. To be clear, If I had a magic want I would get rid of subarea equity, but that isn’t the biggest problem.

There are plenty of reasonable projects that can be built within each area that are much more effective than ST3. I believe I mentioned them. Yep, I did (BRISK for the east side, similar bus improvements for north and south). All of these would fit in just fine with subarea equity.

Martin and I disagree about the cost of plans for Seattle (I’ll deal with that issue on that blog — hint: we already have a West Seattle bridge) but we both agree that (to use his words) it would undoubtedly serve more areas of Seattle than the existing ST3 proposal. I agree, but the wording is not quite right. The key difference is that the project would connect more areas of Seattle than the ST3 proposal.

That, in a nutshell, is why Sound Transit has failed repeatedly to deliver on their potential. You don’t “serve” areas, you connect them. These aren’t public pools or community centers. There is no reason for someone in the Central Area, for example, to use the Capitol Hill station, even if that is the station closest to them. It doesn’t serve them, because the whole point is to use to get somewhere else. By the time you take the long and convoluted bus route to the station (no fault of Metro, by the way, there simply isn’t a closer station) you are better off going directly to your destination (e. g. downtown or the U-District). This despite a billion dollar investment that occurred only about a mile or so away. This might sound like a subtle difference, perhaps, but one that is enormous when it comes to transit functionality. It is the difference between Vancouver BC and Sound Transit. One has trains that connect seamlessly to buses traveling quickly and frequently, connecting every neighborhood to every other neighborhood. The other seems like a system patterned after our bus system of forty years ago — serve a handful of the more popular (but not most popular) areas and connect them to downtown. Ignore bus service (existing or potential) and don’t worry about trips around town. It is a commuter rail based mentality, but with subway cost.

Thus the difference between Ballard to UW light rail and Ballard to West Seattle light rail. To be clear, Ballard to downtown definitely has its merits, but the difference won’t be huge, because it will only work for a subset of the trips. You have light rail to Ballard, but no one north of the ship canal will use it (even folks who are right by light rail). That is a colossal geographic and geometric failure. Northgate to Ballard won’t be any easier, despite stations in both places. What is true of Northgate is true for every spot along that line (that some think needs to be extended). Roosevelt, Northgate, Lake City, Shoreline, Lynnwood, Edmonds and yes, Everett, get nothing out of the deal. Imagine someone taking an express bus from their Everett neighborhood to a train in Lynnwood, then transferring at the UW to another train in Ballard. The train to Ballard makes a huge difference. They probably save 15 minutes on their commute (each way). Now imagine we build ST3, all the way out to Everett. They get nothing. It is faster to take the bus to Lynnwood, and again, the Ballard line is meaningless. You are better off slogging on the 44 (although the 44 will, at least, be made a bit faster in a few years).

But, of course, it gets worse. Fremont lies adjacent to Ballard. What does Fremont get out of the deal? You would assume, like Lake City with North Link, they would be able to leverage nearby rail service. That is the way it works all over the world (again, it sure works that way in Vancouver). Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way here. Backtracking north and then transferring back south just doesn’t pay for itself. You are better off taking Aurora or slogging over the Fremont Bridge. What is true of Fremont is true of Phinney Ridge. Phinney Ridge, which sits perpendicular and only about a mile gets nothing out of this deal! That is crazy, but Sound Transit simply ignored the geography, with their simplistic focus on “serving” areas.

I could go on, but you get the idea. It is obvious when you break it down, and look it all the trips, that ST3 is simply not a very cost efficient plan.

But prove me wrong. Prove to me, Sound Transit, that this is the most cost effective plan possible. Show me that you considered alternatives for every neighborhood, and if you didn’t consider a neighborhood, explain why. Seriously, ST, why didn’t you consider a Metro 8 subway? The Central Area is more densely populated and suffers from average bus speeds much slower than West Seattle, so why did you propose something that is obviously more expensive instead? The simple fact is they never considered anything for the Central Area, just as they never even considered a new bus tunnel. They just picked arbitrary places (both here and in the suburbs) and said “let’s build rail — more, more rail”. The result is something that will only work for a handful of trips, and make little difference in the lives of most of the people in this city (or the surrounding suburbs). Billions spent, with very little to show for it, while we put off (indefinitely) projects that would make a huge difference.

No thank you. Time to vote it down and demand honest, open, impartial planning.

Doug T

Subarea equity is not a straw man. It’s a serious obstacle in any scheme to milk more Seattle projects out of Sound Transit’s taxing authority. I’ve heard you propose tens of billions in projects for Seattle but what about outside of Seattle? The BRISK plan was fitting East King’s budget into the earlier $15 billion total budget thus spending about $3 to 4 billion. That means North King would also have a smaller budget and things like a Metro 8 Subway, Ballard to UW subway and second downtown tunnel are not all happening. You’d get one, maybe two of those if you really stretched. You could conceivably pay for all three of your high priority projects in a smaller total package only by convincing the suburbs that subarea doesn’t matter or mean what they think it does so please pay for Seattle subways while you take BRT. And please please don’t sue us.

A train in the hand is worth two in the bush.


I don’t think you know what a straw man argument is. A quick search leads to this:

A straw man is a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not advanced by that opponent.

Again, there is nothing my original post that requires a change to subarea equity. NOTHING! Absolute nothing. ZERO! Zilch. Everything I proposed — EVERY SINGLE THING, is possible without changing subarea equity.

You are aware that BRISK is an outline right? If it actually comes in cheaper, that is a good thing. There are plenty of bus improvements that the East Side (and north and south end) could spend money on. You really have this subarea equity thing backwards. Maybe the problem is that you understand what a straw man argument is, but don’t understand subarea equity. Just because a particular project doesn’t exceed a budget doesn’t mean that every other region has to downscale their proposal. It means that the project is either enhanced (in the case of BRISK, more service) or additional projects are added.

Doug T

You’re failing to see that by proposing just as much spending for North King County (with the Ballard-to-UW, Metro 8 Subway and second downtown tunnel) as the $54 billion ST3 does the other subareas would need commensurate amounts of spending. Thus, if you’re still following subarea equity, that would necessarily mean your plan isn’t less expensive. At least by a significant factor. Perhaps you’re suggesting the whole taxing authority should pay for the second tunnel as Sound Transit staff has suggested. OK great. I support that. But that’s a harder to case to make for the Metro 8 or Ballard Spur at least as far as actually convincing suburban Sound Transit board members to go along. And even splitting the second downtown tunnel, the Metro 8 and Ballard-to-UW would cost a lot, not to mention Seattle’s BRT improvements.

My point about BRISK was you can’t assume savings from other subareas if you’re still going to spend ballpark $10 billion in North King like ST3 does. If we renegotiate the package reducing suburban light rail and increasing BRT, we could likely save some money in Snohomish county. But East King is already squeezed for a low percentage of expenditures and Pierce County has a case it deserves a bigger share. A ST3 plan to spend $10 billion in Seattle can’t be significantly cheaper than what Sound Transit has proposed. So you might have different priorities, but it would appear your plan would end up costing a similar amount if you really think we can build all those Seattle projects. As you likely remember, the tax shares are something like this: comment image


I don’t know how to say this any better than I said before. One more time:

My plan is neither more, nor less expensive than ST3 in any subarea.

Really, let me break it down for you, subarea by subarea:

North King — WSTT, Ballard to UW light rail (same cost)
East King — Redmond light rail + bus improvements (same cost)
South King — Bus improvements (same cost)
Pierce — Bus improvements (same cost)
Snohomish — Bus improvements (same cost)

Doug T

Thanks for clarifying. This led me to believe you thought it would cost too much–>”…even though it costs billions and billions (enough to scare legislatures from the very districts that will benefit!” Also this–> “ST3 is simply not a very cost efficient plan.” Also you’re bringing up Metro 8 Subway a few times led me to believe you thought it should be in ST3.

I’m struggling to see how spending $3 billion on BRT in Snohomish is more prudent than spending the same and getting LRT. Same for the $3 billion in Pierce County/South King that gets you LRT to Tacoma. I know you could get to more places with multi-billion-dollar BRT, but you’d have higher operational costs and have to deal with congestion issues in HOV lanes and at interchanges. A $54 billion plan that gets us about 7 or 8 miles of additional light rail and mostly BRT… I’m not sure that’d go over well with the electorate.


>> I’m struggling to see how spending $3 billion on BRT in Snohomish is more prudent than spending the same and getting LRT.

Because Snohomish County is a very suburban place, with very low population density. They will soon have a light rail line which ends at one of the more densely populated pockets within the county (such as it is) and serves as a fine terminus. Building light rail beyond places like that never works. You end up with trains running very infrequently because running a train with twenty people in it is a lot more expensive than running a bus with twenty.

The reason demand isn’t high enough to generate sufficient frequency is because it is largely a commute based rider pattern along that corridor. There are no destinations beyond Lynnwood. An express bus (or simply driving) is much faster. Imagine this: You are ready to drop off your sweetie at the Everett Station. You drive from your house to downtown Everett, but miss the train by thirty seconds. You will actually be able to catch up to the train in Lynnwood, since you can get there faster than the train (which will make a lot more stops). The same is true if you caught the bus there (and the bus kept going to Lynnwood). Express buses are faster. Of course this is true for parts of Seattle as well. I’m sure there are folks who will miss the old 41, since the express to downtown was so fast. But the big difference is that the stops on the way are popular. This is the way it works in any big city. At every stop there are people getting on and off. UW and Capitol Hill are popular stops. That just isn’t the case with Ash Way. The number of people who travel from Everett to Ash Way is very tiny (the bus actually stops there right now).

It is simply a different dynamic. Building light rail is extremely expensive. It only makes sense when you have the density, proximity and demand to justify it.

Meanwhile, don’t worry about BRT. Just consider bus improvements. Bus improvements leverage the existing roadway. This means that they are a lot cheaper. Sometimes the work is expensive, but it is nothing compared to extending rail along a corridor which already runs at speeds faster than the train will all day long. With Link to Lynnwood, you really have solved that corridor’s problems. Time to move on, and that means making other roads faster, along with adding more service. Right now Swift runs at 12 minutes, and Swift 2 will run at the same frequency. Now imagine it running every 6 minutes, or every 4 minutes. It completely changes the dynamic. Now imagine areas of the city (areas just as densely populated as the stops that ST3 would add) that have buses running every 30 minutes. Now you run them every 15 minutes. You add service to areas that didn’t have it before. This is what makes sense for suburban (or simply low density) areas.

Tacoma isn’t quite as low density, but it is still surprisingly low (go ahead, check it out). The problem with Tacoma light rail is that it suffers from the proximity problem. It will take 75 minutes from the Tacoma Dome station to downtown Seattle. Now imagine you live in a typical Tacoma neighborhood, 20 minutes away. Now imagine you are offered a job at Harborview, which is about 15 minutes away from downtown. Guess what, you are looking at a commute of almost two hours! You either drive (if the job is on off hours), move, or turn them down. There just aren’t that many people who will commute that long.

I think I’ve ready explained why BRISK is better than Issaquah to Bellevue rail. I’m sorry that you got the idea that BRISK was all about the savings. It wasn’t. It was just another example of how bus improvements are often more appropriate than rail based ones, for a low density area. You simply make more wide spread improvements that benefit more people. Ask someone in Totem Lake how long it takes to take a bus from one of the better served areas in the suburbs to Seattle in the evening. It isn’t pretty. They don’t need a rail line to Issaquah, they just need better bus service.


Suggestions that a no vote will increase the likelihood of getting better transit is missing the actual debate. Dow Constantine, Ed Murray and the rest of the electeds aren’t fighting against Tim Eyman’s anti-tax coalition. A failed measure won’t have people reflecting on how smart those online comments were about stations and alignment. A no vote will kill convince electeds that tax increases for transit are not a winning proposition.

However, a yes vote could convince electeds that transit is a good political strategy, increasing the likelihood we’ll get Ballard-UW or the Metro 8. A yes vote makes those more likely. Just like a yes vote on ST2 made West Seattle and Ballard possible.

Your comments suggest that a ‘no’ vote is a vote for Ballard-UW or Metro 8. This is flatly wrong. A ‘no’ vote is a ‘no’ on ST3 and will be interpreted as a ‘no’ on transit. This vote has nothing to do with Ballard-UW or Metro 8.

Your welcome to start organizing transit advocates for Ballard-UW and Metro 8 whenever you’d like. Good luck doing that though if you lead with ‘no on ST3.’


The organized opposition to ST3 is largely made up of pro-transit folks (including someone who sat on the board of Sound Transit and was instrumental in the first passage). It is reasonable to assume that a post-ST3 failure (which, frankly, I believe is inevitable) will start with an interview of those who headed the ‘No” campaign. You can bet that one of the first things they say is that this is not a vote against transit, but a vote for smarter transit (coincidentally their group’s motto). While I disagree very strongly with their “buses are always the answer” approach (as much as I disagree with ST’s “just run trains everywhere” approach) their biggest talking point is that the ST planning process is broken. Yes, Down Constantine proposed this. But guess what? He knows nothing about transit, and didn’t have the guts to ask people who did. Rather than start from scratch, and figure out what the region needs next, he simply put lines on the map, and went from there. Here is an excellent summary of the process:

Sorry, but that is no way to build a railroad. It worked out OK (more or less) for ST1 and ST2, because (for the most part) everything was obvious. Of course you run a line up to UW (you would have to be an idiot not to). There should be more stations (Forward Thrust had three where ST has one) but it will still succeed. It is the most urban area in the state. Extending to Northgate makes sense, for similar reasons. But Northgate is a terrible terminus, so you have to go farther. Lynnwood is way overkill, but not the end of the world (a little extra money, but not that terrible). Side note: How did they build that, but not even consider a station at NE 130th? Anyone who looks at a map and understands transit would demand a station there, but instead ST had to be dragged kicking and screaming after the fact to build it (and it won’t be done years after the initial line is built). But anyway, building to the East Side is another no-brainer. Like the rest of the line, it has problems, but not enough to kill the obvious benefits. All of that make for a very worthwhile set of projects, so much so that no one really notices that it has already gone to far to the south, and that extra bus service makes more sense there. (Except, of course, for the people who live to the south, who voted against ST2).

But the easy fruit has been picked. Now it is time to do your homework, and figure out what makes sense, and what doesn’t. Well, light rail to West Seattle doesn’t make sense. Ballard to UW light rail makes more sense than Ballard to downtown light rail (since you can get from Ballard to downtown via UW just about as fast). BRISK (along with extending the rail to Redmond — why not?) makes more sense than Issaquah to Bellevue rail. Heck, just about anything makes more sense than that. Tacoma and Everett rail are still stupid ideas, years after voters rejected it the first time (and even more stupid, given how far rail will go without it).

Which is why I think it will fail. As misplaced as the urban priorities are, they are nothing compared to the really stupid plans for the suburbs. I think it will get destroyed, and yes, a lot of people will wonder whether rail to Tacoma or Everett really makes sense. But we should be prepared to say that what Sound Transit proposed for the city doesn’t make sense either, because the process is obviously broken.


Smarter Transit isn’t a transportation advocacy organization. They’re an astro-turf organization specifically designed to sow doubt about tax increases for transit. John Niles is their technical co-chair. They’ve opposed every light rail vote. They also don’t care about any other type of transport that doesn’t involve cars, as they were silent on our most recent transportation levies. Why don’t you ask them if they’d support a Metro 8 or Ballard-UW? Or I can save you time. They wouldn’t.

On every post about ST3 you keep pushing alternative alignments that aren’t being voted on. We get it. We hear you. We’ve moved on. We’re talking about ST3. That’s what we’re voting on. A vote against ST3 definitely isn’t a vote for those other projects. Instead it’s likely a vote to kill any appetite to vote on transit for a long time. However a vote for ST3 doesn’t preclude voting on those other projects in the future and proves to electeds that the public is hungry for transit.


Where can I get a yard sign for this? It seems like this campaign is mostly on a bunch of blogs right now


Nope. Not going to happen with my vote.

Brad Wilson

What is your disagreement with the proposal?


Alright. I’m going to try to be objective instead of emotional. Here are my reasons, and I caution you some (all?) of them are selfish. I’m not trying to cause a fight or ill will. I’m just telling it like I see it. Fair?

My issues with ST3
1. It doesn’t do nearly enough in each subarea. My area, for instance, is SE King County but its north enough to be ‘governed’ by the Bellevue, Kirkland, and Issaquah triad (for want of a better word–look at the ST board) yet originations and destinations south of i90 are getting almost no relief or additional options other than a conditional plan for BRT that may or may not happen (again see the ST3 docs). It depends upon WSDOT fulfilling their already-paid-for plan for i405 (which still hasn’t happened) but only if the remaining eastside projects come in on budget. If there are [historically: will be] overruns on light rail, ST will divert or cancel the S i405 project–just like they did for Federal Way in ST2.

2. The plan is simply too long. We need relief now and for $54B or whatever the real cost is, it is on the leadership to figure it out so the paying public can actually get a benefit of it before they all die. If they can’t figure out how to do it in 10-15 years (or less) they are not doing their jobs. Anyone in the private sector would get fired for coming up with this kind of plan.

3. The plan does not take the region’s needs as a whole, but biases almost strictly in favor of the Seattle / i5 corridor or the ‘triad’. It would seem someone didn’t look a traffic flow very well. If they had asked the simple question ‘why do you take x route?’ the plan would have been significantly different.

4. Because of #1 and #2, a large percentage of the commuting potential [taxpayers] will still have to drive a significant portion of their commute to get onto the new/improved system. The problem is that there’s no place for us to go. It has been a fundamental part of the plan to avoid park and rides altogether. Vehicles are a reality for the significant part of the foreseeable future, yet no real plans have been made to help us adopt different options.

5. Finally, I’ve already been paying into Sound Move, and ST2 for many years and have seen no tangible results that show me the value for the money I’ve invested. I still can’t get where I want to go, when I want to go without driving almost all the way to my destination. I have literally put tens of thousand into this, and will be putting tens of thousands more. Just when do I say enough is enough?

My plan is far simpler and cost effective.
Short term (5y)- promote positive behavior. charge for behavior you want to change.
1. Convert 1 lane on each highway to bus only. The only exception is emergency vehicles.
2. Convert the other HOT lane back into a general purpose lane.
3. Run buses up and down each highway every 10 min with stops at each city and transfers at each major highway intersection. Build stations as needed for this.
4. Enact a per-mile MVET across the region’s vehicles (so folks don’t just go to surface roads) and make sure to include all commercial and private vehicles (except transit/emergency/school)

Long term (10y)
1. Leverage heavy rail exclusively from the deep suburbs towards the core. Heavy rail should fan outward from a couple of cores – Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Bellevue.
2. Leverage light rail for inner city and across-the-lake (sorry, geography makes this happen).

Brad Wilson

I see. I live in Denver, so I don’t have a horse in this race, but was curious for an inside opinion. Thanks for the thoughtful response.

Fuc Lo

If you are referring to Renton in #1, you must understand that ST reached out to the car-centric elected officials of Renton for their input in the planning process and the Renton people blew them off.

The light rail should extent to Renton. But it is the Renton elected officials who are to blame for its absence.

#4 is a doosey. I feel you. But its a doosey. “Vehicles are a reality for the significant part of the foreseeable future, yet no real plans have been made to help us adopt different options.”

The areas you describe are suburban. The whole point of suburbanization was to have streets designed to deter “different options.” A sort of car culture moat protecting the “good” people from the “bad” people going on foot from the cities.

Now that traffic has gotten out of hand, car transportation is far less effective and attractive. That car culture moat has now turned on the suburbs in high traffic areas.

As I said above, I feel you. Why should communities that are car-centric support a plan that is not at least partially car-centric? I dont have the answer.

But, may I suggest you allow this conundrum to color your opinion of future density proposals so that future generations are not stuck in the same car-centric traffic nightmare in which our suburbanites sometimes find themselves.


I don’t see how you can say both #1 & #2 in the same breath. The length of the plan is the direct function of the magnitude to the projects. If you want more & faster, you’ll need higher taxes.

As for your short term ideas, 1 & 2 would be WSDOT projects and have nothing to do with Sound Transit. We can have more bus lanes with or without ST3. #4 would require legislative action and, again, has nothing to do with ST3.
Thankfully, #3 IS happening. You are describing the 522 and 405 BRT projects exactly.

Your long term plans are also already happening. North & South Sounder are heavy rail and connect Everett-Seattle-Tacoma. Light rail is being built for inner city travel within Seattle, etc. The only difference is no heavy rail between Seattle & Bellevue, but given East Link is going to open in a few years, I don’t know why you would want to replace that with heavy rail?


I can say #1 and #2 in the same breath very easily. I have already paid into the ‘system’ for years and the results are staggeringly poor value for dollars. Now ST wants a geometrically larger amount of money for additional poor results over an even longer timeframe.

Ultimately the plan’s poor quality (coverage, cost, timeline) is a reflection of the lack of true representation by the ST leadership to the areas they control (not govern–they are not elected to ST) and said leaderships’ inability to overcome issues which block efficient, cost effective use of the money they are asking everyone to hand over.

As for your comment ‘#3 IS happening…’ referring to i405 BRT. Actually the plan doesn’t commit at all to BRT on the south i405 corridor–read the plan carefully. It is a conditional line item only since it depends on WSDOT providing a place to put the BRT first. Sure, the central and north part of i405 BRT could happen tomorrow–they already got improvements (though WSDOT botched there too). S. i405 got nothing even though its been funded for years. WSDOT says they have a plan, but given this group is even worse than ST for delivering on-time and on-budget I’ll not hold my breath. Moreover, 80% of all budget in the sub area is going to light rail in Bellevue, Kirkland, and Issaquah. Historically many similar projects for light rail ST has done have overrun on cost and time significantly–what makes you think it won’t happen again? When overruns happen, guess where the money is going to come from–the other 20%. So, at the end of the day Bellevue, Kirkland, Issaquah will get their expensive toys and leave the rest waiting for ST4, another 25 years, and an additional $nn billion dollars.


ST2 is under budget and ahead of schedule. That’s hardly poor quality for dollars. Please provide evidence for your assertions.

If you want rail in places ST3 isn’t building, a no vote will make that less likely. Rail is being built in the highest priority areas first.

Many residents of Ballard and West Seattle made the exact same complaints you are making today regarding ST2. Proponents said that if ST2 passed Ballard and West Seattle would be next. Turns out proponents were right. Not only will those areas get rail, they’ll get rail that connects to many other places which were already built. If ST2 had failed, those places wouldn’t even be thinking about rail today.

A no vote may save some people a little bit of taxes but it’s completely wrong to suggest it will help transportation. A yes vote is the only option we have to improve transportation in the region.


Really? See items S28 Link LRT and S29A at Both got cut and pushed out. In fact its only very recently that projects have been on time and on budget (angle lake for example)


You’re really reaching now. ST made projections based on revenue prior to a recession. Those projections showed more revenue than what ST2 was able to generate because of the recession. In total the recession reduced the revenue for ST2 by almost 25%. Your original complaints were about Sound Transit building cost effective projects. The projects they’ve completed have been under budget and ahead of schedule. The projects that haven’t been completed are for lack revenue. Not being able to generate enough revenue isn’t a failure of Sound Transit.

Even though ST2 generated less revenue, they still completed most projects ahead of schedule and under budget. ST3 guarantees the projects you’re complaining about will get built and they’ll probably be completed for less money and ahead of schedule from the original projections, even though we went through the worst economic collapse since the great depression.

Those projects haven’t been ‘cut.’ They need funding. Funding they won’t get if people vote no. If you care about those projects you would vote yes.


Not true. We’re still paying on ST2 including the cut projects. I don’t recall the tax rates magically going back down.. So even during the recovery and boom afterwards the projects remain cut. And as you say they will remain cut if we vote no…Even though we’re still being taxed for undelivered projects? How does that make sense? A no vote will simply send a message to ST to figure out their problems and deliver what they promised in the first 2 packages before we’ll trust you with any more money.

After all, its not really their money is it?


This is one of the favorite talking points for the opposition to spread misinformation simply because they don’t like taxes or hate trains.

If we have a tax of 1% tax on $100 we’ll collect a $1. If we have the same tax rate but we tax a smaller amount of money, 1% on $50, we’ll get less revenue, $.50 and have less money to spend on projects. In other words, yes you are still paying for ST2 but ST2 collected less money than predicted, 25% less or almost $4 billion less. How would you propose Sound Transit do all the same projects but with 25% less money than what they thought they’d need?

Regardless of all those points, Sound Transit’s estimates on how much it would cost to do projects and when those projects would be done were not only accurate, they were under budget and ahead of schedule.

Voting no doesn’t send a message to Sound Transit to change anything when they’ve done everything right. Instead it sends a message that people don’t want taxes or don’t want transit. That’s why after Forward Thrust’s failure it was decades before we got another vote. If you hate transit or you hate taxes then voting no might make sense.

If you care about transportation, transit or the economic future of the region a no vote doesn’t make any sense.


I attended the 405 south HOT open house last week. My takeaway from the meeting was WSDOT’s HOT project is fully funded and will be complete by 2024, at which time the BRT line will start operation.


Yes, I’m aware of that–I was there too. Its been funded for years and no results. It does not make me confident at all given WSDOT’s previous record of build outs.

For example, the traffic situation after the changes on the north end actually slowed traffic. Apparently that’s what the design was going for–what great value for the money. The solution? More money. Instead, we should be getting a refund.

Another example WSDOT completely botched the HOV ramps in Kirkland which delayed the section for 6 months and cost $3 million more. (

And then there’s the tunnel for the replacement of Alaska Way. WSDOT didn’t do their homework, bertha got broken–resulting in 2 years delay.

Thus, at the end of the day and using historical results of the two organizations (ST + WSDOT), I can only conclude S i405 improvements will never actually happen. But will Bellevue, Kirkland, and Issaquah get their solutions? You bet they will because that’s who the board actually represents.