Today, Pierce Transit is meeting to figure out how to reduce its service hours by 53 percent (from roughly 418,000 hours a year to 197,000—and this comes after a recent reduction from 600,000 hours). This is a catastrophe for the county. And it seems no one in power can do anything about it. Supposedly, this is how democracy works. Proposition 1, which would have generated $28 million dollars a year for bus services by raising the sales tax from 6 cents for every $10 spent to 9 cents, failed by only 704 votes (100,943 voters rejected it; 100,239 approved it). More amazing yet, according to Pierce Transit's spokesperson Lars Erickson, 18,000 people simple did not bother to vote on the issue. They just skipped it. The importance of public transportation did not occur to them. A significant part of their region's economy was totally invisible.
But here is the question: Why is transit service a matter for voters in the first place? Any major transportation issue is about democracy, not voting. The meaning of this is made clear by what has just happened in Tacoma. As you can see, the more democratic option would have been to simply impose the small tax on the citizens, raise the needed money, and keep transit running normally for all citizens. But in this case, voting proved to be the less democratic option. Voting is not democracy; it is only a part of the institution but not the institution itself. (Indeed, as minority groups well know, democracy sometimes has to protect some of its citizens from voters.) The city of Tacoma needs to get the voters out of the way and normalize this terrible situation.