Prop. 1 is not the right solution
October 16, 2008 · Updated 11:59 AM
For over a decade, I’ve supported transit and worked professionally to improve bus service, carpooling and reduce congestion.
We desperately need more options and more solutions. Unfortunately, the latest Sound Transit (ST) proposal does little to solve our transportation problems.
After the defeat last year of the transit package, ST had a chance to offer a truly good proposal.
Instead they created a worse policy hoping that people will support it only because the need is so great.
Simply put, Proposition 1 is worse compared to proven transit services, diverts funding from more effective alternatives, and doubles the tax burden. A vote against Proposition 1 is not a vote against transit; it is a vote in favor of more rational and effective transit service.
For example, ST promises 100,000 more bus hours over three counties. While this sounds like a lot, it amounts to only 3 cents of benefit for every added dollar of taxes.
The “Bus Rapid Transit” proposal is simply current Express service run in the HOV lanes that the state will build as part of the SR 520 bridge project. These benefits can be provided without Proposition 1.
While we know about the high costs of light rail, the primary concern is that the system is unproven. The current project between Seattle and Sea-Tac is years behind schedule and billions over budget. Will it reduce congestion on I-5 and along the rail line? More importantly, will the benefits be worth the extraordinary costs?
Sound Transit rejected waiting until 2010 when the Seattle light rail system has a track record. They prefer that you vote on conjecture and promises rather than actual performance.
Most in Redmond will receive no benefits from rail service; it will be miles from their home. For those going to the University of Washington or the north end of downtown Seattle, it will still be quicker and less expensive to take the bus compared to light rail though Bellevue and across I-90. Only a portion of Redmond residents will see benefit, but every resident pays.
We need better transit service. It will allow increased population density and provide transportation options. As tempting as getting on with something (anything) may be, a bad plan today is far worse than a good plan tomorrow.
With all of the transportation tax increases we have had in the last few years, now is not the time to hope for the best and go on promises alone. Vote No again on Proposition 1.
Hank Myers is a Redmond City Council member. Professionally he is a transportation economist and regulatory consultant. He has been a member and served as spokesman for Metro Transit Eastside Sounding Boards since 1997, and served two terms on the citizen Transit Advisory Committee for Metropolitan King County.