May 02, 2010
Why Are We Spending So Much On Mass Transit?

The Onion explained, way back in 2000.

A study released Monday by the American Public Transportation Association reveals that 98 percent of Americans support the use of mass transit by others.

It really is that simple.

Cross posted at Jim Miller on Politics.

(By way of Carl, who is one of the Chicago Boyz.)

Posted by Jim Miller at May 02, 2010 03:59 PM | Email This
Comments
1. Jim,
What was the price of a gallon of gasoline in 2000?

How many of the dollars we sent to the oil producing states of OPEC were used to fund the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11th, 2001?

I guess it is all pretty funny in 2010.
Drill, Baby, Drill!

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on May 2, 2010 05:02 PM
2. This is probably true in the rest of the country, but there are many in Seattle (like #1 up there I suspect) who think that cars are evil and nobody should be driving them.

Posted by: jvon on May 2, 2010 06:19 PM
3. For the sake of our regional economy, I hope that Kemper Freeman wins his case against Sound Transit. The spending of ST is like the oil spill off of the LA coast - it will spread out of control, as the bonds that have to be paid back will skyrocket in cost. Expansion of light rail is unsustainable. That will get the liberal progressive's panties in a wad, but the liberal elite (who think they know what is best for us) have no concept about spending money that is not their own.

The price of gasoline in 2000 (just before the election) was in the range of $1.60 - $1.80/gallon. There was uptick in the price beginning in the summer.

Posted by: KDS on May 2, 2010 06:27 PM
4. KDS,

Which means, adjusted for inflation, that $1.80 would now be $2.30. Would be nice to pay that!

MikeBS,

You do realize we have 260+ years of oil within the Continental US, and can retrieve it at about 1/4 the price of oil today.

A bigger question would be if it's cost-effective to spend billions of dollars to transport a small fraction of all riders. I remember when the Sound Transit Sounder train came out, the calculations showed that you could pay twice the number of estimated riders $40,000 per year to not ride the trains, and come out money ahead. Meaning you could remove twice as many people off the roads AND lower total money spent.

With dwindling dollars, we need to look at cost-effectiveness of any activities, and mass transit often comes up quite poor.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on May 2, 2010 07:07 PM
5. @4: Estimates of shale oil reserves are shaky and uncertain, and you're essentially proposing that we strip-mine three states completely bare. Brilliant strategy!

So, since I-90 only carries about 1.6 percent of trips, I guess we should shut that down, right?

Posted by: demo kid on May 2, 2010 07:44 PM
6. @2 jvon on May 2, 2010 06:19 PM,

No, not evil. Expensive and inefficient. FYI, I gave up driving for commutes to work, store, etc in 2004. Its proven to have been a wise decision in terms of economics and health.

@4 Shanghai Dan on May 2, 2010 07:07 PM,

Like everything else, transit could be better planned and executed. That's not the mass transit critics' argument. They don't argue make it better. They claim it is bad and should be eliminated.

And Dan, you may want to rethink factoring out inflation in the cost of gasoline. Hard to find a product or service where petroleum is not an input.

@3 KDS on May 2, 2010 06:27 PM,
The spending of ST is like the oil spill off of the LA coast may be the most asinine thing ever uttered in a comment at (un)SP.

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on May 2, 2010 07:44 PM
7. Don't like cars? Don't drive one.

At some point, MikeBS and dumbo notwithstanding, that oil WILL be drilled. Now, when in the increased prices the fringe leftists so crave in the midst of this horrific Obama-driven recession would be a dandy time to do it.

Mass transit is a horrific waste of money as it is currently organized and implemented. That fringers don't get that or like it is, of course, neither here nor there; adults have no problem grasping the obvious.

There dogged fixation on the system is to get union slime more jobs that we have to pay usurious salaries and wages for... and all the rest is smoke and mirrors.

Posted by: Hinton on May 2, 2010 08:01 PM
8. Don't like cars? Don't drive one.

At some point, MikeBS and dumbo notwithstanding, that oil WILL be drilled. Now, when in the increased prices the fringe leftists so crave in the midst of this horrific Obama-driven recession would be a dandy time to do it.

Mass transit is a horrific waste of money as it is currently organized and implemented. That fringers don't get that or like it is, of course, neither here nor there; adults have no problem grasping the obvious.

There dogged fixation on the system is to get union slime more jobs that we have to pay usurious salaries and wages for... and all the rest is smoke and mirrors.

Posted by: Hinton on May 2, 2010 08:01 PM
9. The spending of ST is like the oil spill off of the LA coast may be the most asinine thing ever uttered in a comment at (un)SP.
Posted by MikeBoyScout at May 2, 2010 07:44 PM

@6 OK, then prove it to the contrary with facts and costs Put up or shut your piehole.

@4: Estimates of shale oil reserves are shaky and uncertain, and you're essentially proposing that we strip-mine three states completely bare. Brilliant strategy!

WTF are you talking about ? Making stuff up again - if you had a brain, you'd be dangerous.

Troll feeding time is over...

Posted by: KDS on May 2, 2010 08:10 PM
10. SPFA,

The estimates come from the DOE and the US Geological Service, and are quite solid. And you don't have to strip-mine; apparently you're not aware of the massive strides made in in-situ recovery of oil. Your loss.

As far as I-90, you do realize that Federal highways are ~70% funded by user fees (such as the gasoline tax). Would you advocate taking public transit to the same level of user-fee financing?

MikeBS,

In general most fixed transit - such as rail (heavy or light) should be eliminated especially in Seattle. It is HIGHLY wasteful of dollars, and does not match most of our geography (cannot climb many of our hills) or climate (witness the multiple annual closures of the Sounder because of mudslides). For the money we spent on rail we could have tripled bus service AND made it 100% free for everyone.

As far as gasoline being part of inflation, you're completely correct. Which means making a direct comparison is about the worst thing you can do, as it over-represents the actual increase in fuel (as it is multiply-counted in the overall inflation rate). We're paying a LOT more for fuel now in 2000 than in 2010, and a good chunk of that is the ~$0.10 per gallon in extra taxes added since 2005.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on May 2, 2010 08:11 PM
11. @10: And you don't have to strip-mine; apparently you're not aware of the massive strides made in in-situ recovery of oil. Your loss.

Sorry, but in-situ recovery probably won't be the only strategy for getting the oil out of the ground, and even in-situ development has some serious environmental impacts. Again, you're proposing that we environmentally devastate three states. Don't try to avoid that fact.

With respect to the cost of transit versus driving, why don't we put all those folks on transit into cars? (Well, aside from kids, the poor, the elderly, the disabled, etc., who would be completely immobile.) Increases in traffic, less available parking, higher levels of air pollution and GHG emissions, greater numbers of auto accidents, the need for more transportation infrastructure... large cities simply need transit service.

As far as the form that takes? Sure... talking about the benefits of light rail, commuter rail, streetcars, etc. are fine. I think new streetcar lines are a big waste of time, for example. Light rail, to me, takes far longer of a time horizon to become viable, and is much more of a long-term solution.

If you were actually proposing that bus service should be expanded and improved, I'd be more sympathetic to your argument. However, you're pretty much proposing to do away with transit. How precisely is that a rational decision?

Posted by: demo kid on May 2, 2010 09:24 PM
12. @9 KDS on May 2, 2010 08:10 PM

"OK, then prove it to the contrary with facts and costs Put up or shut your piehole."

No hope that after I'm done you will shut your piehole is there? :-D

You said The spending of ST is like the oil spill off of the LA coast.

Page 4: The Adopted 2010 Budget will spend $188.5 million. This is a 23.5% increase over the service operations budget of 2009.

What about the cost of the unstoppable oil spill catastrophe which started 10 days ago?

Gulf of Mexico oil spill could cost BP $3 billion or more

Clean up costs are currently running about $6 million a day, according to BP. ... BP can expect to spend at least double what it's shelling out now once the spill hits shore. ... The clean up and the lawsuits together might run might run the company $3 billion, according to a research note Friday from Bank of America/Merrill Lynch.

$6 Million per day for dead birds, a complete shut down of the seafood industry, tar balls on the beach
compared to $520,000 to move 68,000 commuters daily.

Yes, ST spending is just like the British Petroleum Deep Horizon Oil spill disaster gushing 25,000 barrels of oil per day in to the Gulf of Mexico covering an area the size of Puerto Rico.

ASININE!

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on May 2, 2010 09:26 PM
13. Hi all,

Highways are a locked-in technology, that is they are now benefitting from past sunk capital investment. Therefore they shouldn't be getting any subsidy at all.

At least rail has financing in place. The DoT so froths-at-the-mouth to build highways that it's building 520, a $5 billion project, with no financing in place.

And part of the financing comes from tolls, which conservatives should be against as they involve the creation of an entire new bureucracy-within-a-bureuacracy just to collect them, and it reduces people's lives in new ways and creates another class of miscreants.

But I guess you all at SP are clinging to Drill Baby Drill, and your deep love for big government tax and spend projects like 520, the Viaduct tunnel, the Wars on Drugs, Iraq and Afghanistan.

New Left Conservatism is open for recruits

Best all
new left conservative

Posted by: new left conservative on May 2, 2010 09:53 PM
14. Mike Bulls**t - That is one year's budget - which doesn't say didley squat. I am talking about at least a 10 year projection which is where the spending expands significantly (especially beyond 25 years). Don't flash me Sound Transit's budget. A non-partisan report like from the Evergreen Freedom Foundation or another non-partisan agency would be a start.

Also, stop trying to change the subject to the oil spill - you're mixing apples and oranges, commonly known as obfuscation.

Posted by: KDS on May 2, 2010 09:55 PM
15. Point of clarification - The only similarity between ST Light Rail and the Gulf Oil Disaster, was the analogy between the money to be spent by ST over the next 50 years and the dispersion of the oil slick along the offshore waters - nothing to do with costs for removal, which may cost BP over one billion $ to resolve. Nothing I said in this post was about Drill Baby Drill.

Posted by: KDS on May 2, 2010 10:11 PM
16. SPFA,

Don't try to avoid that fact.

There are no facts to avoid, just your paranoid delusions.

With respect to the cost of transit versus driving, why don't we put all those folks on transit into cars?

Sure, no problem for me... We'll add, what, 3% more cars to the road? And think of the billions we'll save, so we can expand a few freeways.

If you were actually proposing that bus service should be expanded and improved, I'd be more sympathetic to your argument. However, you're pretty much proposing to do away with transit. How precisely is that a rational decision?

Please re-read post 10. How you got that I was proposing was to do away with transit is mystifying. Glad you agree with me that fixed rail is insanity, and buses are suitable for our region.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on May 2, 2010 10:16 PM
17. Seattle could be a transit leader. Wise stewardship of our tax dollars would produce a different transit picture. Our geography demands common sense with respect to transit. We can only afford to build so many bridges over vast water and tunnels through the basalt left uncarvex by retreating glaciers.

If we simply relied on bus rapid transit, more corporate van pools, hoteling, 4/10 flex schedules, VPNs, and tax incentives to individuals and companies for living close to work, we could serve a vastly larger population's transit needs at a fraction of the cost we waste on rail.

Rail also does not make efficient use of our transportation dollars as it carries almost no goods and services. Except on an incredibly dense island like Manhattan, no rail transit in the US serves more than a few percentage points of any major population. We have too much land and too many people who value their space. You would think a government would cater to the demographics of its population, rather than constantly working against a much larger tide, but no.

The truth is that we already have a massive investment in a road network and we can ill afford to squander billions during a depression with massive unfunded mandates of Social Security, Medicare and millions of Baby Boomer unfunded pensions staring us down. That freight train of economic doom is far more real than the toy light rail trains of today's Liberal Bureacrat City Planner Automatons that inhabit nearly every large city government from sea to shining sea.

Posted by: Jeff B. on May 3, 2010 03:52 AM
18. @14 KDS on May 2, 2010 09:55 PM,

"Also, stop trying to change the subject to the oil spill - you're mixing apples and oranges, commonly known as obfuscation."

In addition to making asinine comments, you don't seem to realize it was you who brought up the Oil Spill Catastrophe in the 3rd comment on this post.

Obfuscation indeed!

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on May 3, 2010 05:13 AM
19. @17 Jeff B. on May 3, 2010 03:52 AM.

"Except on an incredibly dense island like Manhattan, no rail transit in the US serves more than a few percentage points of any major population."

Well, that'd be true if Jeff were allowed to make up stuff and we were forced to believe it.

Jeff, ever heard of the "L"?

The 'L' (sometimes called "L", El, EL, or L) is the rapid transit system serving the city of Chicago and some of its surrounding suburbs. It is operated by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). It is the second largest rapid transit system in the United States, after the New York City Subway, and the third busiest rail mass transit system in the United States, after New York City and Washington, DC's Metrorail
On average 658,524 people ride the 'L' each weekday, 419,258 each Saturday, and 315,240 each Sunday.

Which cities with rail mass transit systems did you investigate before making that assertion. Never mind, it is rather obvious the answer is none.

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on May 3, 2010 05:45 AM
20. Reading all the above postings, Jeff B @ 17 makes the most sense, by far.

Posted by: Saltherring on May 3, 2010 06:23 AM
21. @17 Jeff B. on May 3, 2010 03:52 AM,

"and tax incentives to individuals and companies for living close to work"

Like WAC 458-20-261 Commute trip reduction incentives?

Wonder which side of the political spectrum wrote, passed and signed this in to law?

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on May 3, 2010 06:41 AM
22.
The biggest problem with mass transit is the bureaucracy we have building it. This dems look as every transit project as a combination jobs program and political payoff for the unions.

Posted by: johnny on May 3, 2010 07:17 AM
23. @22 johnny on May 3, 2010 07:17 AM,

Unreasonable disdain for unions is as much of a right as unreasonable disdain for businessmen, but can you show us anything from a news source (vice an opinion piece) to back up "dems look as every transit project as a ... political payoff for the unions."?

And assuming you can and shall, how do Republicans look at every transit project?

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on May 3, 2010 07:24 AM
24. Mike Bulls**t - Besides being ignorant and shifty with the truth, you have a problem with reading comprehension re: oil spill - here is my comment #3; "The spending of ST is like the oil spill off of the LA coast - it will spread out of control, as the bonds that have to be paid back will skyrocket in cost." You purposely neglected the last part which was the kernel of my comment. If you can provide a reliable and favorable cost/benefit analysis of the light rail expansion to the East side, I'll reconsider the previous comments and also be surprised as will most everyone else.

Furthermore, on top of that you were telling a half-truth as you were the one who initiated comment on the price of gasoline and drill baby drill in your comment #1.

You wrote the book on ASANINE and blowing smoke. Have a nice day..

Posted by: KDS on May 3, 2010 08:00 AM
25. MikeBS,

About the "L" - yes, it provides around 660,000 rides a day out of a population area of about 10 million. So that's a few percentage points - about 6.6 to be exact. Again, not a massive service of the population.

Look, we've ALL seen the empty buses puttering along, and even at rush hour they tend to be much more empty than rush hour in the models always held up by big transit supporters (check the buses or subways of Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul, Paris, Brussels, or even NYC at rush hour). We have capacity, it's not being used.

Consider that Metro gets about 20% of their operating costs from the fare box; that $2.00 bus ride really costs Metro $10.00 and you're only paying 20% of it. Since we're already paying $8.00 for the ride, and as operating costs per rider go down as the number of riders per bus goes up, I propose we take a 1 year trial run at free buses.

Free buses everywhere. All of King County. Whole system - free, any time, any where. See how much ridership you pick up. It's not like it's a lot more money to be spent, it's 20% more funding dollars, and it may increase ridership well beyond what anyone believed. Try an incentive to get people to use transit, and if it works then consider keeping it.

Try putting our dollars into transit systems that work for the vast majority, are flexible, and use existing infrastructure (buses) rather than going with limited-reach (no park-and-rides except for one stop?), inflexible, and infrastructure-consuming (at grade) highly expensive systems.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on May 3, 2010 08:04 AM
26. MikeBS wrote:

Wonder which side of the political spectrum wrote, passed and signed this in to law?

Well, the WAC you address is an administrative code, not a Revised Code of Washington; you linked the way a law is enacted/enforced, not the law itself.

The Commuter Trip Reduction Act of 1991 is what drove the RCWs which generated the WAC that you author. And in 1991, the Senate was under Republican control and the House under Democrat control, and Booth Gardner, a moderate Democrat from Pierce County, was the Governor.

So it seems it was bipartisan in nature. Sorry that deflates your talking point...

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on May 3, 2010 08:18 AM
27. @25 Shanghai Dan on May 3, 2010 08:04 AM,

Surely we can both agree that no where in the world is the entire population of a city commuting in a car or on a rail on a day. No?

The value in the size of the ridership is not that everybody rides it, but that a significant amount can.

I've not only seen empty buses, I've been on them. There are lots of reasons why that is.
I wonder if you would do something for me. Next time you are in Seattle during rush hour count the amount of single occupied vehicles. See how many you can count in succession before seeing a vehicle with two or more.

I'm not against you or anyone else driving your car all alone. Your choice. But unless more and more people choose to utilize and support mass transit the cost of doing so will be very great on you in terms of lost time and money for fuel.

As a person who used to drive everywhere it took a while to adjust to utilizing mass transit as the primary means of going everywhere; about a month. Yes, late buses suck. But there are far more benefits than cost.

Who knows, in the next 3 years we might finally get hotspots on all the buses and rails. :-D

Great cities have great mass transportation systems. I'm working to make Seattle a better place, for drivers and non-drivers.

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on May 3, 2010 08:35 AM
28. MikeBS,

The value in the size of the ridership is not that everybody rides it, but that a significant amount can.

No, the value is if a significant amount DO. Potential ridership is worthless; actual ridership matters. With a door-to-door on-demand limo service in Seattle we have a potential ridership of 100%! Of course, with the $50/ride costs, we'll get almost zero of them, and if those limos do not go to the airport we WILL get zero.

If you want ridership, then you have to do the following:

1. Make transit go where people want to go, when they want to go

2. Make it convenient with park-and-rides near the transit stations

3. Make it cost-competitive

Light rail - as it currently exists - is nowhere close to any of these three. And the next stages that are being bandied about will not help at all, especially with numbers 2 and 3 (the ultra-deep stations will have massive costs associated).

Additionally, the costs charged for multi-zone bus rides makes number 3 a no-go as well; for me to take the bus from my place in Edmonds to a client in Redmond (Microsoft) costs $2.75 each way and 1:15 minutes, while it takes $1.80 at today's gas prices and 30 minutes to drive. It costs more to take more time.

Make it free, and I'd be on it a lot more often (I used to ride the bus from Edmonds to downtown Seattle - CT 406 - when I worked down there and my employer subsidized the bus pass). Money incentives work.

Buses - frequent and free - with a good amount of park-and-rides at multiple shopping/destination/population centers around the area would go a LONG ways toward increasing ridership. You know, the thing that matters - real riders, not potential riders.

Great cities have great mass transportation systems.

Provided those transportation systems make sense. Rail, in the Seattle/Eastside area does not. Our geography does not support it, our budgets cannot afford it (Seattle's new light rail system is by far the most expensive in the U.S. at $179 million per mile, since it includes extensive tunneling in poor soil conditions, elevated sections, and stations as deep as 180 feet (55 m) below ground level), and our commuter patterns do not support it (most of the commute issues are suburbs to city or East-West, not intra-city).

A great city is one that is a leader, one that is responsive to its citizens and uses its resources wisely. Seattle, unfortunately, is proving to be a follower, unresponsive, and wasting our precious resources.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on May 3, 2010 08:57 AM
29. OK MBS, you are right, Chicago has a bit more too. So maybe there are one or two other cities that are above the miniscule

But here is the more significant point. Both Chicago and NYC started their systems more than a hundred years ago. When right of way, labor, components, etc. were all cheaper. Seattle started just a few years ago, and has only about 14 miles to show for it. 15 if you throw in Tacoma's free (read, entirely funded by subsidy) Tacoma Light Rail Link. That's a whole lot of money wasted on rail for not much in the way of usefulness. And if it takes Seattle 100 years, and most likely longer given the density, geography, and acquisition of right of way now vs. in the past. And Seattle reaches Chicago's giant 6 or 7%, will it have been worth it? Sensible people say no.

We could employ hundred of buses, and fix roads for those buses, and increase the tax incentives for living close to work that you noted was passed by Democrats. And we could do many other things with that money that together would have a far wider reach than a few trunk lines which will take decades to build. No one is saying don't do transit, what we are saying is don't waste money on the 19th century technology of rail, and instead think outside the box like many South American cities have done. The difference is that in South America, they acknowledge that they don't have the money to waste on rail. Whereas here, politicians like to pretend money grows on trees, even as they are bankrupting the nation.

Rail isn't going to work. Any fool can see that given the miniscule percentages it serves, even where it has been around for 100 years. And most importantly, by the time we build out rail fully in Seattle, there may be other new technologies that change the game entirely. What if there was a virtual reality so good it was like sitting next to a person. You could have in person meetings, without ever leaving home. Resources are always a function of technology. We shouldn't waste our precious resources on ancient technology, especially when we have example cities all around us that show us it's not working for them either.

Posted by: Jeff B. on May 3, 2010 09:09 AM
30. I'll ride the ridiculous mass transit system when they pry the steering wheel from my cold, dead hands.

Posted by: Rick D. on May 3, 2010 09:34 AM
31. @29 Jeff B. on May 3, 2010 09:09 AM,

"we are saying is don't waste money on the 19th century technology of rail, and instead think outside the box like many South American cities have done."

Which cities in S. America do you recommend western WA emulate?

The continent's largest city in the most prosperous nation in South America is Sao Paulo. Heard of it?

The Sao Paulo Metro new underground lines to be constructed are expected to add another million people to the system within the next five years. The project's expected to expand Sao Paulo's urban railway system from the current 322 km (200 mi) to more than 500 km (310 mi) on the next 10 years, surpassing the London Underground, and becoming the largest rail system in the world.

Finding that took typing "south american cities" in to the google and 3 clicks.

Can you identify a mass transit project in S. America that is being developed that will serve more people than this 19th century technology rail expansion project?


Posted by: MikeBoyScout on May 3, 2010 11:08 AM
32. @29 Jeff B. on May 3, 2010 09:09 AM,

Latin American cities: pioneers of Bus Rapid Transit systems - Jan 2010

Traditional Latin American mass transit systems are typically composed of slow, overcrowded, and expensive private bus lines. The system of management by private operators encourages the proliferation of buses and results in frequent traffic accidents. Chronic shortfalls of municipal resources and regulatory capture by bus operators engender lacklustre oversight. Buses themselves are often too small, poorly maintained, and highly polluting. Fares are unconscionably high and frequent transfers double or triple the cost of commuting for the overwhelmingly poor bus-riding public. Worst of all is the constant, seemingly incurable gridlock. These market failures ultimately can be attributed to the poor design and perverse incentives of traditional systems.
Regulatory failure and ill-advised bus operation schemes are the root causes of traditional Latin American bus systems' dysfunction.
All BRT systems follow the basic infrastructural model pioneered by Curitiba, Brazil in the 1970s. City officials create BRT lines by setting aside two or four lanes exclusively for BRT buses and constructing low physical barriers to separate them from normal traffic.

If our problem was over slow overcrowded under regulated old privately run buses, perhaps a BRT would be worth considering. Seems the problem is a little different her in the pacnorwest.

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on May 3, 2010 11:26 AM
33. We already largely do BRT. Some of the most successful and most ridden transit lines in the Sound are the Sounder Express buses. Like the 590 and 594 from Tacoma and Lakewood. Far more used than either the Sounder Trains or Light Rail.

But if you are a Puget Sound bureaucrat planner, why build upon what is working when you can spend $179 Million per mile and look cool amongst you peers at some bureaucrat planners convention yearly meeting.

Posted by: Jeff B. on May 3, 2010 11:45 AM
34. Mikeboyscout is about $25,000 shy of being honest. Right Mikeboyscout? Lying progressive.

Posted by: Smokie on May 3, 2010 11:54 AM
35. MikeBS - sure if we import 2 million more people and spend $50 trillion we can finally have a world-class transportation system! Do you libtards have any fiscal sense?

Posted by: Doug Smith on May 3, 2010 12:01 PM
36. @33 Jeff B. on May 3, 2010 11:45 AM,

So if not BRT, what are you talking about regarding S. America?

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on May 3, 2010 12:01 PM
37. @35 Doug Smith on May 3, 2010 12:01 PM,

Your comment shows you are sadly incapable of understanding sense.
:'-(

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on May 3, 2010 12:06 PM
38. Since nobody's mentioned it as one of the possible solutions to reducing the amount of money needed to be spent on mass transit to alleviate economy crippling congestion and dependence upon terrorist financing foreign oil and Gulf of Mexico polluting domestic oil...

The Month of May Is National Bike to Work Month

Encouraging both your customers and employees to ride to your business, especially during this once-a-year event, has obvious advantages:

* Biking is great exercise, and physical fitness means good health, fewer sick days and higher productivity for your company.

* Bicycle-friendly companies earn an environment-friendly image. Bicycling is a virtually zero-emission form of transportation.

* Bicycling reduces parking and transportation hassles and costs, leaving bicyclists with more disposable income. Bicyclists also have time to notice and visit the shops they ride past.


Posted by: MikeBoyScout on May 3, 2010 12:18 PM
39. Since you are going to save all that money biking to your "job" here on the internet. You will have no problem sending in the extra $25,000 to the Department of Revenue will you Mikeboyscout/lying liberal. You have an opinion on everything and credibility on nothing.

Posted by: Smokie on May 3, 2010 12:25 PM
40. Does smokie-wokie have anything other to say than empty envy filled barbs towards me? Or have we seen the full range of your thinking on the subject?

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on May 3, 2010 12:34 PM
41. MikeBS,

I guess partisanship is all you care about, not about a rational discussion. I see most here supporting buses and bus-rapid-transit, yet you keep trying to insinuate that everyone opposes all transit.

How about putting down your hyper-partisan blinders for once and trying to just deal in facts? Or is that too anathema to your central character? Do you need to hate and divisiveness of the politics of personal destruction that drives so much of the political left?

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on May 3, 2010 12:57 PM
42. @45 Shanghai Dan on May 3, 2010 12:57 PM,

What facts? I'm all ears & eyes.

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on May 3, 2010 01:05 PM
43. MikeBS,

Facts? Oh, how about the fact that the CTR act was bipartisan when you tried to insinuate otherwise?

How about admitting that most in this thread are NOT calling for an end to all transit, but responsibility in how it's addressed.

Acknowledging that light rail is fantastically expensive for the use you get here in Seattle?

Acknowledging that we heavily subsidize transit compared to private cars?

Start with that, and we can actually talk about what could be done rather than what is being done.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on May 3, 2010 01:39 PM
44. @43 Shanghai Dan on May 3, 2010 01:39 PM,

1) I never said there was not bipartisan support for the Commuter Trip Reduction act. I asked which side of the political spectrum got it done.

2) I can't acknowledge that light rail is fantastically expensive here in the Puget Sound. If you have facts that prove that without dispute, state them.

3) Nor will I acknowledging that mass transit is more heavily subsidized than private automobiles, because you have not made that case. If you have facts that prove that without dispute, state them.

Now you try. Give us a list of regions with a population of over 1 million people that does not include rail in its mass transportation system.

Or shall you also tell me of mythical out of the box mass transit solutions in S. America and propose we invest in a virtual reality so good it was like sitting next to a person?

I think your reducing bus fares to zero is an interesting idea, but it requires a funding mechanism you have not described, and it would run counter to the B&O incentives provided in the Commuter Trip Reduction act. Most businesses would take the tax break with no evidence it is being used.

That said, I'm probably the only person on this thread who will give your free fare proposal a listen and not blast you for being a tax loving libtard. :-)

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on May 3, 2010 02:03 PM
45. Here is a Crosscut article with more info. The title fits appropriately here, "We're still in denial about transit costs." Well, we meaning, MBS and other left commenters here.

There is also this one from 2008. Transit train wreck, wherein former State Secretary of Transit, Doug Macdonald spent a lot of time commuting by bus and learned that rail is not the way to go.

The Money Quote, regarding tiny potential ridership all the way out in 2022:
Are Sound Transit's proposals to spend billions of dollars more for a drop in the bucket of new ridership years from now for the region's transit network fairly called a "mass transit" plan at all?

The articles also notes the big increase in van pools. Van pools are a great way to make better use of our freeways. Vans can be funded by companies with associated tax benefits, or even just for employee goodwill. It's easy to find a few commuters in each area for medium to large companies that can utilize a van, even if there's not enough to justify buses. And, vans can be driven by employees, lowering the need to hire expensive union bus and train drivers.

According to the articles, Light rail has gobbled up a majority of the transit dollars even as it serves much less than the other transit modes. Further, as the article points out, this doesn't even address Metro, Pierce County Transit, etc. And these more local systems account for the majority of the transit trips. Light rail continues to be an expensive burden hurting other proven useful modes of transportation and costs way more than any sensible justification given it's very limited function.

The facts are clear. Our tax dollars are better spent on other transit modes and incentives. Anything other than rail.

Posted by: Jeff B. on May 3, 2010 02:27 PM
47. @45 & 46 - I concur with your analyses. You have shown credibility which is something the other two pro-light rail trolls (dk and mbs) have not and are incapable of.

Posted by: KDS on May 3, 2010 02:43 PM
48. @45 Jeff B. on May 3, 2010 02:27 PM,

How many times has Sound Transit with light rail been put before the voters and what have they decided?

Van Dykes' opinion may be interesting and forcefully present the difficulties of planning, building and implementing an effective light rail system, but his and MacIsaac's views are not anything new.

Is investing in light rail expensive? Sure.
Is completing a light rail project difficult? Of course.
Should we, as taxpayers & fare payers, demand improvement in execution of construction and operation? Absolutely!

But at the end of the day, that 19th century technology you bemoan has been an integral part of transportation systems for 200 years because it is a proven cost effective approach in the long run.
That's why cities like Sao Paulo in S. America are expanding their rail system.

All the other pieces of mass transit are part of a successful mix.

And Jeff, cities with expensively built rail systems like NYC, London, Bejing, Chicago, Moscow, Paris, ... started out with low ridership in the beginning too. Nobody was driving much on the first interstates at the beginning either.


Posted by: MikeBoyScout on May 3, 2010 02:51 PM
49. These articles and many others all show that it's simply untrue that fixed route, linear rail is compatible with daily trips in the 21st century. We no longer have primarily linear corridor commutes. You are simply wrong. Many others have pointed out that you are wrong, but facts never stop a dogged liberal. My case is proven and backed up better than yours.

Rail gobbles up billions of our transportation dollars today, for projected daily boardings that are entirely theoretical vs. actual daily boardings today. Rail is based on the bet that our transportation needs will be linear in future decades, even as the data I present shows that daily commute trips criss cross the region and are much higher for local transit systems and van pools than for the linear rail systems.

Further, I present evidence that shows that the routes that are expanding are the opposite of what's proposed for rail. For example, the Lynwood to Bellevue route, has expanded much more than the route across Lake Washington that would be supplanted by light rail. And so it goes, with more and more regional business parks and technology and knowledge driven businesses that can and will locate farther outside any central linear corridor. By the time Sound Transit wakes up and figures this out, their current system will be even more outmoded.

And vanpools and networking technologies are far more nimble. They don't require any authorization, funding or voter approval. Commuters will vote with their feel and use technology and more local resources to solve their own commute problems knowing that the state and local governments only have eyes for linear corridor rail, and won't listen to sensible needs. This will further discredit rail in the future when riders have long since decided and found other alternatives that they prefer. Door to door van service to one's company with a few nearby colleagues, or terrorist and gang friendly, costly and lengthened rail commutes with endpoint trips by car from home to the station. No one in their right mind would choose rail.

Give it up. You have not demonstrated that rail has any chance of actually working and taking on a cost basis justifiably large share of all daily transit in the region. Your justification for billions wasted is only to cite that other large cities have made the same mistakes.

Posted by: Jeff B. on May 3, 2010 03:16 PM
50. @49 Jeff B. on May 3, 2010 03:16 PM,

Give what up? The Link is a voter approved funded reality.

Why don't you start with your proven case and get it on the ballot? No? I didn't think so.

And will you ever provide us with the names of those cities in S. America with out of the box solutions, or is your proven case dependent upon our faith in you?

You do know virtual reality!
:-D

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on May 3, 2010 03:24 PM
51. Jeff B. will have the last laugh on 11/2. He's right, Seattle leadership has squandered critical transportation tax dollars on ineffective policy. And I don't think any lefty commenter made a better case.

Posted by: Sam on May 3, 2010 03:56 PM
52. @51 Sam on May 3, 2010 03:56 PM,

Who is we?
What do you think is going to change with the ST Link on November 2nd?
Or maybe you just like to laugh last on the first Tuesday in November.

Were you laughing on November 3rd 2009? I remember a lot of laughter and smiling faces on Capitol Hill that night at The War Room. Were you there?

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on May 3, 2010 04:07 PM
53. Mikeboyscout/lying liberal. Empty barbs? Is that all you have? Typical. You brag about sending in an additional $25,000 to DOR, but you lied didn't you? You probably don't have $25,000 to your name. You are a fountain of useless opinion with a google search engine. Thank goodness we will never see your ugly mug in a voter pamplet.

Posted by: Smokie on May 3, 2010 05:04 PM
54. Why Are We Spending So Much On Mass Transit? Well naturally, Government wants to be the all to everything as well as, control everything. However, Public Works is one of the great stables of Government. It doesn't have to be all that necessary nor cost effective for Government to push it. There is an underlying Stimulus for the pushing of any Public Works. It is the opportunity for Government people and other associates to garner an extra unreported Income. It's called Skimming. It's called Corruption. It's an excuse to have more bogus overtime, more useless meetings and various gatherings with all the extras such as travel expenses, the best of meals, accommodations and yes, now and then that little packet of money under the table. You don't think the high cost of those projects are truly legit and represents true costs do you? And if that's not bad enough, the rampant thieves within Government and their associates will also, play the pumped up game of Cost over Runs on the Taxpayers for further theft. Such a Deal!

Posted by: Daniel on May 3, 2010 05:18 PM
55. #54 You can point the fickle finger of corruption at the Sound Transit Board. They are their own corporation and were formed in 1996 thanks to the voters who did not really have the opportunity to know what they voted for.

Bottom line is that they can do whatever they want with our money!

Posted by: KDS on May 3, 2010 06:15 PM
56. MikeBS,

Seattle's light rail is by far and away the most expensive in the nation, per mile.

As far as the subsidy, King County's recovery from fare boxes is around 19%. Is your contention that gas taxes and user fees do NOT cover 80% of the costs of roads?

As far as a metropolitan area with 1 million or more that doesn't have light rail, what does that matter? Name another metropolitan area with 1 million+ people with the extreme geography we have. About the closest you'll get is San Francisco, but it is quite a bit wider, and does not have the glacial till and snow and rain fall that we receive.

But you go ahead and ignore those facts...

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on May 3, 2010 06:19 PM
57. The new train stop in SeaTac is fantastic....ohhh I dont ride the train I just park my 10mpg 1985 suburban there for free and grab a quick 2 minute cab to the airport ...woot thx

Posted by: hellpig on May 3, 2010 07:13 PM
58. Hellpig@57, it's very interesting that you "just park (your) 10mpg 1985 suburban there for free" when there's no parking at the SeaTac station (and just 24-hour parking at the Tukwila station).

Posted by: Bruce on May 3, 2010 09:35 PM
59. hellpig - you set yourself up for ridicule from leftists like Bruce with your admission. You could have omitted the part about the vehicle and the 10mpg mileage - what relevance was it ? Now, there will be comments by the trolls directed at you and they'll stretch it into saying that conservatives don't care about the environment.

Just sayin' that they can't argue with facts much of the time without distorting them, and like to use hyperbole to try and make a point.

Posted by: KDS on May 3, 2010 10:05 PM
60. I am surprised that no one has addressed the root cause. Why is there so much traffic (mass or individual) concentrated in and around the big cities? This is the 21st century. Small and rural communities are dieing, yet what gets promoted, building up the concentration of jobs and housing in denser and denser communities. If you don't like mass transit, then you need to support development of the rural communities so that businesses build plants (and jobs) there, instead of where the people currently are (or are moving). This means investment in rural education (community and vocational schools), investment in communications (broadband), investment in rail and better rural highways (transportation of goods and services). Some effort has been done, like the silicon orchard initiative east of Wenachee, but this one doesn't have that many jobs. The Tri-Cities has been somewhat successful, but how about places like Aberdeen/Hoquim, or Chehalis/Centrailia? Instead of Microsoft taking over more and more of the eastside, the state should be encouraging it to locate offices in other parts of the state. This is a prime business for expansion outside of its core. One of the past practices of IBM was a good one. Its philosophy was to spread out its plants so that in any one community, it was never more than 10-20% of the workforce.

Just a thought.

Posted by: tc on May 4, 2010 08:51 AM
61. LOL set myself up really? my comment was meant to be sarcastic...like I give a crap what the treasonous commie progressives have to say you can not debate them there is no reason to even try,take for example for the 5 years i've been reading this blog the same trolls Mike the scouter of boys and the others just spew the commie propaganda like good little workers ..they never stray from the talking points they parrot them like good little zombies..only thing left is to play by the "rules for radicals" see "we the people" have read the playbook of the left..which is why we will be sending most of the commies to the dem created unemployment line next Jan

Posted by: hellpig on May 4, 2010 09:14 AM
62. tc...It depends on the communities rural or otherwise whether, they are dying or not. Most communities outside of Cities are in a growth mode and not a dying mode. In fact, Cities like Seattle have lost a lot of momentum in growth. In the 50s, Seattle was a growing and flourishing City. Then, came the Shopping Malls and guess what? Vitality and Growth began to drain from the City. There are reasons for this and I could go into a long dissertation on the subject but, you being a Liberal, there would be no profit to do so.

Posted by: Daniel on May 4, 2010 09:36 AM