Seattle is surrounded by a ring of voters who appear to hate the idea of funding buses. But in 2008, voters in that same suburban ring voted in favor of funding light rail. (Take the suburban city of Kent, for example. Only 27.2 percent of its voters wanted to save Metro bus service this year. But in 2008, returns showed 50.8 percent of Kent voters in favor of funding light rail.)
These were different measures, of course, but that’s very much the point. There was something in this year’s proposal — whether it be car tabs [to fix roads and fund bus service], the focus on bus transit, or Metro Transit itself — that alienated suburban voters. The result was a marked decline of support that cannot simply be attributed to anti-transit sentiments.
So what was it? The influence of the Prop-1-bashing Seattle Times on suburban voters? The weirdness of an April election? Something about the winsomeness of trains that buses just can't match? Theories?