Why Are Democrats in Olympia Helping Republicans Undermine Sound Transit?


Well, I know Tim Sheldon is Thuggie Ericksen's flip-flopping sellout, bouncing back and forth like a ping pong ball, but other than that, I'd estimate that any Democrats voting to kill Sound Transit have Repig guns pointed at their heads.
Just to be clear, its D's in King/Sno/Pierce counties, plus Tim Sheldon, going after Sound Transit, not Ds in Olympia.
"In Olympia" is generally accepted shorthand for "in state government."

It's odd because these people passed the authorizing legislation for ST3, and had the power to include changed provisions about valuation calculations for car-tabs in the legislation. It would be one thing if a new wave of right-wingers had just been elected to state government, but we saw pretty much no change in the partisan composition, and modest change in the personnel, in the last election.
My guess is a lot of people never looked at the calculator before voting, or before not voting, or didn't put 1 and 1 together. Nice things cost money, and we often have to fund things we don't agree with or that don't seem to help us in sufficiently direct a manner.

I mean, I have no children, but I keep paying taxes to send everyone else's kids to schools because I don't want to population around me to grow up even more ignorant than now. Ditto on roads I may never drive on or trains I may never take--it ripples out.
An income tax would fix all these fees that we Band-Aid over each time we need nice things. Democrats on a national level need a spinal transplant. They always seem to acquiesce
Why is the state legislature deciding the fate of a regional transit board?
@6: Don't assume that a problem remains constant year after year, and that thus increasing the money spent on it will show an improvement--things may be getting worse, and more money is required to just maintain.

With something like education (or transportation or housing), there's a lot of factors in motion from year to year--demographic shifts, state and federal funding quirks, etc.
So, we need another board of people funded by the taxpayers because we're voting for Sound Transit to tax us too much?
Yay another fucked up tax that we have so we can give the richest people huge tax breaks. How much would a 1-5% income tax bring in? Until we get one we're just gonna have more and more of this.
@7 because republicans really don't believe in self determination. They fucked up control freaks.
@6 "More money does not mean the problem will be solved."

Have you ridden the light rail from UW to Downtown? It... is... glorious!

Imagine it throughout the city. Seattle Subway is making an effort to push ST and the City into sticking with high quality, grade separated transit (unlike the street-level section in SE Seattle). It will cost more, but it will still be the only thing running on schedule when the next 18 wheeler flips over on I-5. Another 100,000 citizens in the next 10 years can help pay for it, too. (And that's just Seattle; ST district is much larger.) I hope we do it right.
@12 -- I don't know about glorious. To me it is just a subway, doing what subways do best -- move people within an urban environment fairly quickly. Unfortunately, most of what ST3 will build is not that. It is what light rail does worse -- serving distant suburban locations in a symbolic, rather than cost effective manner. There is some good stuff of course, and if we keep spending billions and billions, sooner or later we will get something good out of it. But so far, much of the money has been wasted on stupid projects, while much more important pieces (like a subway stop at First Hill, a subway line to the Central Area or a subway connecting Ballard to the UW) will likely never be built. Look to Vancouver BC for a cost effective (much cheaper, much smaller, much more useful) system.

In other words, even after 53 billion dollars -- an enormous sum for a region this size -- the problem won't be solved. Not even close.
ST Board should be elected by voters.
The state really needs a value calculator that is in line with actual value of the vehicle being taxed. People wouldn't be so frusturated if the value was realistic. This is the reason people voted for $30 car tabs before.
One problem with ST is that it was never hatched as a statewide project. Most WA state Republican legislators represent places where ST does not go. Since their constituents derive exactly zero benefit from ST, it costs them nothing to kill ST. Further, they can gain with their constituents by playing up Eastern WA's ongoing resentment of Seattle, which is based in WA's inability to launch a development project that serves anything other than the GSA.

So, to survive, this has to turn into a statewide project.

It wasn't hatched as a statewide project, because it wouldn't make any sense to run light rail to Spokane or Kennewick or Vancouver or whatever. Light rail is most effective connecting major population centers, where the volume of ridership would be high enough to justify the cost. Also, I don't think there's any LR line anywhere that runs even close to intra-state distances; that's what heavy rail is designed for, because, because, for one thing the infrastructure already exists - inefficient as it may be, given the competition on HR between passenger and freight transport. But, if we're talking $52B to get between Tacoma and Everett, imagine multiplying that by several orders of magnitude to reach even Portland or Vancouver B.C., let alone Spokane or any other destination in Eastern WA.
Ross is just mad people prefer rail over busses.
Meanwhile Heidi, in the real world, it seems quite likely that the legislature will vote to have the RTA tax assessed on a much more accurate depreciation schedule.

As many Democrats will tell you, fairness in the state's revenue scheme is important. When $10,000 vehicles are assessed at $20,000, that's the kind of crap that leads to the next Tim Eyman-fueled tax revolt.

Then open local light rail systems that service each individual urban center. Spokane is the second largest city in the state. It deserves a light rail system that services the greater Spokane area. Our governor ran on a proposal to implement a local system to service Vancouver- the Columbia River Crossing, which would have connected the city to Portland's Maxx, allowing people who live in Vantucky and work in Portland to commute easily to and from work.

People often root their eyes at voters in the red parts of the state, wondering why they vote against their class interests. That argument might hold water if the Democrats offered them anything that was in the class interests of people who don't live in Seattle and hold low-wage jobs. But we don't. We only offer development projects to build Seattle into a megacity either at the expense of, or completely ignoring the rest of the state. Then we wonder why they're not going along with our plan.

Well, here's a clue: include them in the plan! Launch development projects to grow the rest of the state, too. Centralia/Chehalis needs development. Bellingham needs it too. So does Ellensburg and Yakima. If the Democratic Party in these places could come up with an idea that directly benefits people who live and work in these places, we might actually win enough seats in the state legislature to get something done.

Don't get me wrong, Seattle is a beautiful city. I adore the place, and am in firmer agreement with it's politics than I am with anyone else, anywhere. That doesn't mean I think we can afford to be completely deaf to the concerns of people who live elsewhere. You just don't build winning coalitions by listening to nobody else talk but yourself. And some of these folks have some legitimate gripes. Why is all the development money pouring into King County? Don't you think some of that could go elsewhere, too?
Seems that with the actual working class leaving in droves leaving the tax base to pay for all these projects on those who are left (those forcing housing prices up) so if you can afford your expensive home and condo or car, get ready to pay more property taxes for transportation while leaving police and fire out of the picture. Of course, we could cut salaries for the geniuses running the West Point Waste Water plant. (Two thumbs up for liberal competency)
I wrote to Bob Hasegawa asking him why he voted for this. I have followed him a long time and know he isn't some kind of Republican lackey. He is progressive and wants things like good public transit. In case anyone is interested, here is his response.

"Thank you for your message. I respect how important this matter is to you. I voted for SB 5001, because every community deserves representation on the Sound Transit board. Currently, most parts of my district are not represented. Much of the 11th LD has no direct representation (i.e. no one from South Seattle or Renton is on the board—link here).

I am in favor of progressive transit options, reducing traffic issues and reducing traffic pollution. However, certain communities have benefitted from Sound Transit’s decisions while others, like South Seattle, have suffered many negative impacts.

South Seattle has the most ethnically diverse communities in our state, and it has been divided and inconvenienced by the light rail.
Businesses were forced to close during construction.
The at-grade tracks pose a serious risk to public safety. There have been about 51 Link-involved crashes in the Sodo and Rainier Valley surface trackways since service began in mid-2009. Eight people have died. (Story here)
Parking fees were implemented so working families have to pay to park in their own neighborhoods.
Areas like the Kent Valley have been completely left out of these new transit options.

The people of Seattle voted to implement a more democratic and district-based City Council election process for the purpose of fair representation. This bill achieves a similar result for the Sound Transit board, which will oversee tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer money as ST3 is implemented.

Thank you again for your message. I hope this information helps. Please feel free to contact my office if you have any further questions.


Because they're Republicans.