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Sound Transit...Is Tacoma Getting It's Fair Share?

by fredo
on 5/19/2011 @ 5:48am
1995 RTA proposal:

Light rail During its first phase - between 1995 and 2010 - the RTA will build a l.ight-rail system linking south King County with Tacoma, Seattle, Lynnwood and East King County (via the Interstate 90 ~ridge). In south King County, light rail will generally follow Highway 99."

Read more:

OK, we've been paying the extra sales tax for 16 years so that we could have this light rail service. Now we're being told it may never even reach Federal Way, let alone Tacoma. In essence the taxpayers in Pierce County have bought a wonderful system for the people of Seattle and South Seattle.

I've tried warning people that once Seattle got all it's buildouts that there would be "discovery" that there would never be enough to connect Tacoma. Now we're learning that the route may terminate at Highline College in Des Moines.

Would it be a good time for Pierce County to withdraw from the the 3 county RTA?

Would it be better to use the current RTA sales taxes to build streetcar tracks in Tacoma?

Or would it be better to continue engaging in this parasitic relationship with the King County commuters?


by Urban E on 5/19/2011 @ 6:44am
I've been waiting for you to post something about this and in fact I tried to look through the archives yesterday to find the particular thread about ST2. I doubt you'll get much response from folks on this because 95% of the folks on here voted for ST2 and were happy about it. I personally said NO but again when you have a city council that tells it's citizens how to vote what do you expect. Of course it's time for us to pull out of the RTA but I highly doubt our electeds will stick their necks out there on this one because again they recommended it.

by Jesse on 5/19/2011 @ 7:34am
Great topic.

Sound Transit is cutting it's own throat by wildly overspending on light rail. Have you noticed it seems to be either in a tunnel or on a bridge? Why? I understand some grading issues as Seattle is hilly but over by the airport the tracks run parallel to the freeway and also on 99. Does it have to be in the air at 99 at the airport? Do you realize the cost increase for that? Why not at grade? Why in a tunnel? One reason rail transit works is that people can see the tracks, know they will always be there, the route isn't changing, it emphasizes that that particular route is an important one so businesses and new residents can feel comfortable building along the lines. Is that the case if the line is in a tunnel or on top of a bridge?

Sound Transit has completely lost their way when it comes to rail transit. Rail transit isn't only about getting a person from place A to place B. It's much more complicated than that.

Also, $179 million a mile for light rail? C'mon! Is money endless at Sound Transit or something? How the hell can Portland and EVERY OTHER CITY THAT HAS TACKLED THIS build rail for a small fraction of Seattle's cost? They don't build it in the sky or in tunnels. They build at grade.

2040 is absolutely inexcusable. It's time to completely scrap Sound Transit or fire everyone and start over.

by NineInchNachos on 5/19/2011 @ 8:02am
Sound Transit and Pierce Transit too. get some young guys/gals in there.

by fredo on 5/19/2011 @ 8:32am
The geography of King County hasn't changed since the funding was approved in 1995. The construction timeline took into account the terrain involved. Why would these same geographical features cause so much problem? The entire system was supposed to be finished 18 months ago.

I would agree that the elevated and tunneled portions of the line would tend to be more expensive than grade level construction, but wasn't this known 1995?

by cisserosmiley on 5/19/2011 @ 8:49am
every time i write on here that there is institutional bias favoring seattle and demeaning tacoma, some tacoma people criticize me. IT IS TRUE! when i used to work up there people would just overtly laugh at me for living here and would try to get me to "buy a condo in seattle" WE in tacomania are way down the list and better start taking care of ourselves. I want my RTA money back!

by fredo on 5/19/2011 @ 9:16am
right cissero, there is an institutional bias favoring seattle.

when ST was proposed 16 years ago we were told that the initial stages would be "seattle-centric" because construction would start there and fan out until phase I was completed in 2010. this seattle-centricity was supposed to be a good thing.

in hindsight the ST construction plan looks more like a ponzi scheme. For people close in to the seattle centric area they got a wonderful transit system paid for in large part by people in other counties. But now that it looks like construction will be terminated in Des Moines I guess we won't be getting our share of the plan.

Of course we will continue paying into ST forever because it's important for Tacomanians to continue to subsidize the operation of the system for the benefit of the Seattleites.

by thriceallamerican on 5/19/2011 @ 9:35am
ST's Sounder trains and express buses are an awesome service to Tacoma and Pierce County, and it would hurt a lot of people to do anything that would discontinue that service.

That said, I certainly feel like the equity across the taxing area is questionable and I commend the Fed Way city council (probably the only time you'll ever hear me say anything good about Fed Way) for making some noise about getting the shaft while somehow the Lynwood and Redmond plans are untouched.

by fredo on 5/19/2011 @ 9:57am
Yes, thrice the Sounder train is something. The buses hardly represent any fixed investment in Pierce County. Those could be ended tomorrow with no recourse for our local taxpayers. We want to see track in the ground for our dollars.

I would suggest that Pierce voters would never have approved joining the RTA had they known that all we would be getting was bus and Sounder train.

We've been screwed again by the local politicians and its time for Ladenburg/Anderson etc. to explain themselves. How did this happen?

by cisserosmiley on 5/19/2011 @ 10:02am
WE need a technical revision at the state level (laurie jinkins n jeanie darnielle) that makes lawful financial restitution to be paid by a taxation authority to a community when fraud like this has accured. i don't even want to know who has our money? overpaid bellevue construction companies? a slew of "consultants"? per diems for legislators in special session when they already get 50,000 for the 3 month session? collecting restitution will be BRAVE, but it is only fair

by Droid16 on 5/19/2011 @ 10:40am
Heck, getting it down to Tacoma is one thing. This is the arrogance that comes from up North regarding the needs of the South Sound.

"Does it make sense to take light rail beyond Highline Community College, ever?" asks Patterson, a King County councilmember. "The farther south you push it, the longer it takes to get to Seattle. If it ends up taking you one hour to get to Seattle from Federal Way, and 45 minutes to get there on an express bus, what does Federal Way really want?"

Also, good point on the difference between non-infrastructure investments such as bus enhancement as opposed to permanent changes to traffic solution. What stinks is that in the 2004 ruling the state Supreme Court concluded that Sound Transit isn't legally required to deliver its Sounder commuter train, Link light rail, ST Express bus and First Hill Streetcar projects on time or on budget.

by fredo on 5/19/2011 @ 11:43am
"Does it make sense to take light rail beyond Highline Community College, ever?" asks Patterson, a King County councilmember. "The farther south you push it, the longer it takes to get to Seattle. If it ends up taking you one hour to get to Seattle from Federal Way, and 45 minutes to get there on an express bus, what does Federal Way really want?"

Good posting droid.

This is really quite arrogant, to say that since bus service would be faster that it doesn't make sense to deliver light rail to Tacoma. Tacoman's have paid IN FULL for the light rail right to our doorstep. Even if such service is of questionable value and even if there are alternatives for the commuting pubic, the fact is that we've already paid and now we want delivery of the project per spec!

by Maria on 5/19/2011 @ 12:43pm
fredo: "in hindsight the ST construction plan looks more like a ponzi scheme."


I do appreciate the commuter buses from Tacoma, Lakewood & DuPont. The buses are packed, and all those cars crowding the lots are off the road. But we voted on the basis of a REGIONAL light rail system in addition to the buses. They need to slow down or reduce some projects in Seattle and North Seattle if that's what's needed to get more southbound projects completed.

There was a very good editorial on the News Tribune about this issue:

"This region has to rid itself of the notion that commuting is all about getting to Seattle and central King County. True congestion relief isnít just running more buses or trains to the big city. Itís also about creating new employment centers so that workers arenít all headed in the same direction.

The South Sound needs to create jobs, and that requires a way to get to them. Companies here wonít ever reach their potential without reliable connections to the region."

by Nick on 5/19/2011 @ 12:51pm
"Does it make sense to take light rail beyond Highline Community College, ever?" asks Patterson, a King County councilmember. "The farther south you push it, the longer it takes to get to Seattle. If it ends up taking you one hour to get to Seattle from Federal Way, and 45 minutes to get there on an express bus, what does Federal Way really want?"

Is it me or does this statement also imply that the only purpose of LRT is to move people in and out of Seattle? That's a great goal, but surely that can't be the only reason the South Sound needs transit. Fun fact: the farther away from Seattle you get, the less your world revolves around it. Are you an hour away? Them maybe you don't want transit for the purpose of traveling to Seattle. Could it be?!

by Nick on 5/19/2011 @ 12:54pm
Also, why do wee need LRT to "get down to Tacoma?" Why can't we have our own "node" (say by extending the bLINK) and grow it outward from Tacoma as well?

Wouldn't that be a more equitable and organic way of putting our tax dollars to good use? Then, once the money is there, connect the Tacoma network to the Seattle network and bam!

by NSHDscott on 5/19/2011 @ 1:15pm
These last few comments before mine here are interesting, and raise a major question in my mind. I tend to think of a regional light rail system as making Tacoma even more of a bedroom community for Seattle than it is now, by making it easier to own a cheaper home in Tacoma and hold a better job in Seattle (since the job market in Tacoma is poor and getting worse). It's been my position that we should be spending our money to make Tacoma a better place for companies to locate. More jobs in Tacoma means fewer cars on the road, fewer hours wasted stuck in cars, and a better tax base for the city. Spending that light-rail-to-Seattle money on streetcars within Tacoma and its immediate surroundings seems wiser to me.

Maria's post quoting the News Trib article looks at this from the opposite way, that connecting Tacoma to Seattle via light rail will help us attract jobs and become less of a bedroom community, not more, because people from all over can commute to Tacoma jobs. I'm pretty doubtful that it'll work like that, but I don't really know, and I'm curious what everyone else thinks. I do know that the News Trib has been very pro-light-rail-to-Seattle from the start, so that article doesn't surprise me in the slightest. At this point, after all the column inches they've invested in promoting the plan, I don't see them ever changing their minds no matter what the contradictory evidence.

by NineInchNachos on 5/19/2011 @ 1:25pm
Who killed the Tacoma Street Car initiative?

by Maria on 5/19/2011 @ 1:31pm
NSHDscott: "Maria's post quoting the News Trib article looks at this from the opposite way, that connecting Tacoma to Seattle via light rail will help us attract jobs and become less of a bedroom community, not more, because people from all over can commute to Tacoma jobs."

I think the News Tribune is agreeing with you: light rail and transit isn't about sending people further and faster. It's also about supporting regional hubs so there are more than one axle for the spokes. Bad urban planning is everyone shuttling into one crowded spot and then shuttling out again.

They believe the light rail in FW and Tacoma isn't to get people in and out of Seattle. It's to also get people in outlying areas to smaller urban cores, such as FW and Tacoma.

by cisserosmiley on 5/19/2011 @ 1:47pm
NSHDscott has a point about tacoma being a bedroom community. maybe WE should move toward out competing south hill puyallup and gig harbor as bedroom communities? eliminate crime (mark lindquist) and tacoma is better than either

by Nick on 5/19/2011 @ 2:57pm
"that connecting Tacoma to Seattle via light rail will help us attract jobs and become less of a bedroom community, not more"

I don't think it will do either. The current LINK route plans would simply ease congestion on existing transportation corridors (namely I-5, 99, I-90, etc.). Because it isn't creating anything new, but basically expanding the capacity of existing "pipes" I think we would simply see a continuation of past trends.

To put it another way, we've maxed out our highway capacity along most of the central link routes. We've hit a ceiling for that style of growth. Current plans for central link routes would simply lift this ceiling so that we would continue as we have been.

by Jesse on 5/19/2011 @ 4:09pm
Things I'd like to see happen:

1. The gas tax rule that it all must be spent on roads changed to include light rail and streetcar construction.
2. Each city having more control over transit within it's borders. Allotted dollars from the gas tax and other revenue streams for which a city can decide what to do with the money transit infrastructure and road wise.
3. Sound Transit eliminated. If 1 and 2 happen, there's no need for a money-wasting, over-studying middleman like ST.

How many times have they "studied" streetcar now?

Expanding freeway capacity between towns encourages urban sprawl, dead city centers, and a self-fulfilling prophecy of more traffic. Look at the San Francisco Embarcadero example. Look at Portland when they said "you better move into town if you don't like the traffic because we're not building any more freeway lanes" about 1988-ish. They didn't. People moved in toward town and downtown density skyrocketed.

by Mofo from the Hood on 5/19/2011 @ 11:52pm
For nearly 50 years the best minds in Tacoma have demolished downtown's rows of commercial and residential buildings in order to build increasing numbers of car parking lots interconnected by buses and light rail.

Tacoma positioned itself to be the ultimate park and ride perpetual loop. The best minds in Tacoma had big plans. There were big plans to build out the perpetual loop to the Emerald City. Then the talk shifted (shift happens) to big plans to build out the perpetual loop to the Emerald Queen Casino.

But eventually the best minds in Tacoma, along with the rest of the local population were taxed into subsistence farming at neighborhood community gardens. The big plans to build out the perpetual loop never happened because it required big money which is perpetually lacking in Tacoma.

Then something amazing happened. A grassroots Tacoma organization started talking about streetcars---The real solution to make Tacoma great requires the building of streetcar lines. (Everybody knows Tacoma contracted a stupidity virus circa 1938 because it became evident that people preferred driving cars more than riding streetcars; and thus local streetcar lines disappeared faster than Broadway Plaza retail shops.)

Deconstruction, parking lots, buses, light rail, streetcars, narrowing or blocking key automobile thoroughfares downtown---all funded by taxes--- are the things that the best minds in Tacoma perpetually plan.

by dolly varden on 5/20/2011 @ 9:05am
I agree with the TNT that the current approach assumes everyone is commuting to Seattle, which is why ST argues that the light rail from Tacoma to Seattle doesn't make sense, because it'd be slower than the bus or the Sounder. But as the TNT points out, if Tacoma is to be the employment center it ought to be, it needs to be easy to get here from surrounding suburbs, not just easy to get from here to Seattle. We also need a rail connection to the airport to be halfway competitive with Seattle for businesses and conventions. No one from out of town wants to navigate the bus system, but light rail is pretty self-explanatory even to those unfamiliar with the system.

Meanwhile, ST's promise to help extend our intra-city light rail is still valid and can get going more or less as soon as Tacoma decides on a route and matches the funding.

by fredo on 5/20/2011 @ 9:17am
dolly agreed.

But I would like to point out the most important reason why the light rail should continue as quickly as possible all the way to Tacoma, and that is because the people of Tacoma have already contracted for and paid for this buildout. This was promised to us in 1995 if we would agree to become part of the RTA. We agreed to join and have been paying in for 16 years. Now it's time for Pierce County to get the "benefit of the bargain" There's no need to constantly explain the rationale for mass transit of this type. We bought it and now we want it. Case closed.

by cisserosmiley on 5/20/2011 @ 9:28am
what is the empirical evidence that tacoma should or could be an "employment center"? it is OK if tacoma is a place to live, eat, raise our children, but not have a factory or a call center...the folks from the tnt give yesterdays news, written on paper, delivered in cars - please do not listen to them as they forgot time progressed. with better transportation tacoma could be ultimate bedroom community, one with "urban flair" like living in West Seattle and commuting to bellevue - people could live in tacoma and commute to dt seattle. the entire world already does this with high speed rail. thepart where tacom does not have a better commuter option from the sea-TAComa airport is just criminal.

by dolly varden on 5/20/2011 @ 9:57am
Tacoma's too far away from Seattle with too many people living here and nearby to be primarily a bedroom community to Seattle. The long commutes are necessary for some, but not fun, and not good for the city's quality of life and high civic engagement. We have a downtown with good infrastructure, lots of office space and potential for more, why not fill it and give people around here shorter, less polluting commutes, more time with their families, and a more vibrant city all around? It's like asking Baltimore to be a bedroom community of Washington, D.C. -- some people have to do the long, soul-sucking commute (I know, I've done it by train, bus, and car), but less people should have to.

by NSHDscott on 5/20/2011 @ 10:21am
cissero, I know one reason that is rarely mentioned for why Tacoma needs to be an employment center is to balance the tax base. It isn't healthy for a city to have to derive so much of its tax revenue from property and sales taxes. I'm no expert at this subject, I just know that it's one important factor that often gets overlooked.

The more commonly cited reason, which I also really agree with, is that it's ridiculous to try to funnel workers from all over into a single, overcrowded location. All sorts of problems emerge from that, the biggest of which might be the need to spend billions on roads and other infrastructure to accommodate the commuters, plus others including auto pollution and time wasted. The impact of that last one is hard to measure, but I have to think that if that chunk of Tacoma's population didn't have to spend 2 hours commuting every weekday, they would spend at least part of that time mowing their lawns, improving their homes and yards, raising better kids, volunteering, and so on.

Funny how many issues are caused, at least in part, by the current situation of a centralized, concentrated employment center in a region that is geographically challenged with bodies of water and irregular ground.

by cisserosmiley on 5/20/2011 @ 1:48pm
tacoma has a shrinking population, a shrinking employment base, and improving commuter options. our leaders would be derelict not to service tacoma as a bedroom community. it has not worked to bring industry here, to retain it, or to relocate population here. so what is left? we are essentially a bedroom community and i wish our taxes were being collected and spent with that consideration.

by panachronic on 5/20/2011 @ 7:51pm
My goodness. What a lovely bit of schadenfreude this is.

by L.S.Erhardt on 5/20/2011 @ 8:16pm
Shrinking population?
The census #s don't say that.

According to the US census bureau, "...Tacoma grew by 2.5 percent..."

Read it here

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 5/20/2011 @ 9:44pm
Once again Tacoma gets hind teat.

by cisserosmiley on 5/20/2011 @ 10:46pm
come on Thorax O' are the numbers you skewed for everyone:
Seattle +8% Spokane +6.8% vancouver +12.7% bellevue +11.7%
tacoma is +2.5%, although a raw gain, when compared to the growth mean tacoma is FAR below average population gain. in demographic terms we are "losing" population

by L.S.Erhardt on 5/20/2011 @ 10:51pm
I didn't make any of that up, talk to Uncle Sam about it.

by cisserosmiley on 5/20/2011 @ 11:16pm
i didn't say you made anything up...i just pointed out that 2.5% compared with the region is so low that public works planners and investors have to give resources to places growing at multiple times the rate (8, 6.8, 12.7, 11.7). tacoma grew at nearly 20% in the 80-90 period; nearly 10% in the 90-00 period; 2.5% 00-10. it is ok to accept that tacoma is not a growing metropolis. i like the "town" feel of it all.

by Jesse on 5/21/2011 @ 9:26am
Tacoma itself may have only grown 2.5% because it is a bit full within it's technical borders considering it's suburban growth is much more popular of a thing than downtown growth when compared to the other cities mentioned. Start counting West Tacoma (aka University Place), the neighborhood of Ruston, and Fircrest. What number does that bring us up to when weighted?

Vancouver is a suburban town too but it's growth may be related to the fact it annexed the Vancouver Mall area and east Vancouver down hwy 14 -- which has a significant population.

I think what Tacoma needs to grow is an industry cluster that's willing to essentially take over downtown with their like cluster of businesses. That being, if big pharma decided to move five large to medium headquarters from New Jersey (super high taxes and cost of living BTW) into downtown Tacoma to make it the bio-tech capital of the west, we'd have a shift in that condos would finally sell in this town increasing population density.

The west coast is notoriously very hostile to drug and medical device companies and their reps. Perhaps having a few more HQ here would turn that around. But this is just an example.

by fredo on 5/21/2011 @ 10:09am
With all due respect it doesn't make any difference what the population of Tacoma is, what it was, or what it's going to be. It doesn't matter what industries locate here or fail to locate here. It also doesn't matter if people prefer to work close in to Tacoma or commute to Seattle.IMO

Tacomans have already paid to have light rail built. That decision was made 16 years ago. We've paid for it and now we want it. I opposed ST and voted against it on both occasions. But now that we're in up to our necks there's no turning around.

What we haven't heard is the response from Julie Anderson or John Ladenburg or other Pierce County ST representatives on the apparent decision to terminate light rail at Highline College.

Where is the outrage?

by fredo on 5/21/2011 @ 10:43am
You've decided to purchase an expensive Ipad for a christmas present and so you've put the item on layaway at Kmart. You've made the regular payments and now on christmas eve you've returned to Kmart to take possession of your Ipad. the clerk at Kmart tells you the Ipad has already been given away but they will give you a Hasbro Lite-Brite instead.

Would this be Ok with anybody?

by cisserosmiley on 5/21/2011 @ 10:54am
not OK fredo...but if i had 6 kids and i could only afford 5 swimsuits for summer camp, and one of my kids didn't swim...well that's who doesn't get a swimsuit. tacoma doesn't swim(swimming here is needing pt). beyond that i would invite everyone to go back and look at candidtates from 08, 09, 10, and start making a list of folks who talked about this thing happeneing years ago and a need to be more aggressive towards KING COUNTY TAX PILFERING

by fredo on 5/21/2011 @ 11:15am
if you only have money for 5 suits and there are 6 children is it more important to stick with the swimsuit plan or would it be more fair to come up with a new plan that makes sure that all 6 children were treated fairly? what if all 6 kids worked to earn the money for the suits?

when the US built the transcontinental railroad they worked from both ends. I think one segment started in KC and built to the west and another segment was started on the West Coast and built east. There was a competition to see which segment could be completed fastest. They met in Utah and drove in a golden spike. This arrangement paid huge dividends.

The current ST planners would have us build a transcontinental railroad from KC to the West only and then say "screw It, when we reach Denver, we're out of here."

by cisserosmiley on 5/21/2011 @ 12:08pm
jesse, the numbers for u.p., ruston, and fircrest are similar to tacoma(low single digits). lets be honest we are all one "place" and the demographic illustrates that. we are all one place that people refuse to move to(insert reasons here blogosphere).

fredo, i agree with you fully, but tacoma is NOT in any way going to get fair treatment no matter what plan gets cooked up. WE have been sold out by seattle-centric "leaders" Please join me is time to revolt, do not waste time making plans for equitable revenue sharing or mitigation from surrounding communities-WE are the hinterland they prey upon to have richer lives themselves. Without RICH, CLEAN, SUPPORTED seattle there would be no POOR, DIRTY, UNSUPPORTED tacoma - without a ying there would be no way to define a yang...WE are kept like this as a community by other communities so they will have a measure of OK=better than tacoma not OK=less than tacoma. stop helping these animals and make tacoma BRAVE!

by Droid16 on 5/22/2011 @ 8:42am
There have been many things that the people and city of Tacoma have done to make this a great place to work and live. As someone who feared for my safety when traveling in the downtown area in the early 80's, I can attest to an amazing transformation over the last decade plus. One milestone I refer to time and again was the city's decision to invest huge sums of money in broadband infrastructure. Anyone who mocks the "America's Most Wired City" slogan doesn't recognize the impact that came when Tacoma stood up against a cable monopoly and said it was too important to let the city accept somebody elses timetable for improvements to our infrastructure.

Slated for receiving cable after it was completed for Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond and Spokane, Tacoma said forget that and took the initiative and now provides a public utility that runs in the black and provides competition where many cities have none. Argue what you want for today's digital services but for its time, the decision made a huge statement and for a while provided the city a slogan that spoke of pride and the future as opposed to a smell.

Tacoma was able to do this because it controlled where the money was spent. If we had not been tied into a multi-regional decision making authority we could have said, "no thanks on the waiting until 2055". We will build to Sea-Tac ourselves. Not to Seattle but to the giant transportation hub that is part of our logistical infrastructure. Others would be building and have built to Sea-Tac as well.

We have paid for this. If we could have had greater control over the decision making process of how and went it was spent, that would have been better for an often subjugated city.

All roads do not lead to Seattle.

I am Spartacus!

by fredo on 5/22/2011 @ 9:23am
Yes droid. As I suggested in a previous comment some of the RTA light rail funds should have been dedicated to building track starting from Tacoma toward Seatac. But our local ST "representation" was OK apparently to commit all funds to building a Seattle centric plan. This meant that if ST ever failed that Tacoma would be left with nothing.

This is an issue that Julie Anderson and John Ladenburg should be addressing right now.

by cisserosmiley on 5/22/2011 @ 10:25am
droid16 is cool. imagine Tacoma with a rail connection to sea-TAComa airport...don't forget to contact this guy:
Jake Fey
City of Tacoma
747 Market St Ste 1200
Tacoma, WA 98402-3766
he's on the sound transit board - in fact you could say he's the dude that screwed you all.
I am Spartacus!

by Droid16 on 5/23/2011 @ 5:25pm
Is it possible to get information telling us how much Pierce County has paid in and a break down of what we have received from the distribution of funds by Sound Transit? In particular under the categories of infrastructure investment versus items that can be taken away when funds are short .

by tacoma1 on 5/24/2011 @ 8:02am
If you pay your taxes in Pierce County, your tax contribution towards Seattle's light rail is............................wait for it..................................I'm still it comes.................................................................a grand total of zero.

I don't live in South King County, I don't work in South King County, and I don't buy anything in South King County. So I don't pay anything towards light rail getting from Seatac to Federal Way.

BTW, none of the voter approved ST initiatives promised light rail from Seatac to Tacoma.

by NineInchNachos on 5/24/2011 @ 8:40am
Tacoma 1, what's with the elevated lines? Is it because the ground is too bumpy or they want to keep the trains clean?

by tacoma1 on 5/24/2011 @ 8:43am
elevated line? Do you mean why is Central Link elevated, v.s. at grade?

I really dunnoh. I can only speculate. I imagine that the ground can be made un-bumpy easy enough. Perhaps it means that ST just has to buy air rights and a little land, not all the land along all the route. Plus it probably is safer all in all, cuz elevated track tends to avoid collisions with people texting while driving.

by dolly varden on 5/24/2011 @ 9:21am
I'd love to see light rail to the airport, but we were never promised it. We voted to have the Sounder, ST Express, and the Tacoma Link, with the non-binding goal of hooking into the Central Link at some point. The 2006 Roads and Transit proposition included a commitment to build light rail to the Port of Tacoma, but it lost. The 2007 version of ST2 (which dropped the "roads" part of Roads and Transit) won, and included a commitment (now being broken/significantly delayed) to build the Central Link to S. 272nd in Federal Way. But it did include significant funding -- if met by a local match -- for extending the Tacoma Link. Given what's going on with the Central Link, I tend to think we should be talking about how to extend intra-city rail, extend the Sounder route and make it more frequent, and improve late night and airport ST bus service. It would be great to see Tacoma tied in to the Central Link, but it's not gonna happen unless a whole bunch of funding for it is explicitly approved by voters.

by cisserosmiley on 5/24/2011 @ 9:28am
maybe we should create a new rta with thurston county and focus tacoma towards olympia for a regional partner?

by dolly varden on 5/24/2011 @ 9:35am
I think that's a good idea -- or add Thurston to Sound Transit to balance out the geographic interests. We'd no longer be the end of the line.

by tacoma1 on 5/24/2011 @ 9:57am
As a tacoma resident. Finding a way to fund PT and restore/improve intercity transit is what's important to me. It takes me just as long to wait for then take my local bus the 5 miles from DT Tacoma to my home, as it does to take the sounder all the way from DT Seattle to DT Tacoma.

by Droid16 on 5/25/2011 @ 2:09pm
From the TNT

"The city is reviewing legal options to enforce" the 2008 ballot measure, the resolution said. That's when voters approved a $17.9 billion mass transit measure that included bringing light rail to South 272nd Street.

City Attorney Pat Richardson said today she doesn't know yet what the city's legal alternatives are, but added filing a lawsuit is always a legal option.

The delay to Federal Way would put off and potentially jeopardize construction of light rail to Tacoma.

Tacoma City Council member Jake Fey said last week that Sound Transit should reconsider the goal of connecting light rail from Sea-Tac Airport to Tacoma. Fey is also a Sound Transit board member."

Read more:

by NineInchNachos on 5/25/2011 @ 2:35pm

by cisserosmiley on 5/25/2011 @ 2:44pm
bullet train!

by jenyum on 5/25/2011 @ 2:50pm
What does that mean, Sound Transit should reconsider the goal of light rail to Tacoma? Does he mean reconsider whether or not it's meeting that goal, or reconsider the idea that it should even be a goal? Confused.

by NineInchNachos on 5/25/2011 @ 3:36pm
Are you Tacoma Mama confused or is Jake Fey confused? I too am confused. When are we going to expand the link?

by NineInchNachos on 5/25/2011 @ 3:44pm
is Jake Fey OK with not connecting Sea TAC and Tacoma light rail?

by NineInchNachos on 5/25/2011 @ 3:46pm
I look forward to the day Pierce Transit recovers from the filling-station explosion schedule

by tacoma1 on 5/25/2011 @ 3:53pm

I really don't know, but I saw this:

"Fey, who is a Sound Transit board member as well as a Tacoma council member, said Sound Transit funds dedicated to Pierce County should now be considered for other local transit projects."

Read more:

Maybe he's thinking of using the limited funds that we have for T-Link, something that we can use daily. I don't know about you, but I don't go to the airport very often. Federal Way can pay for their own Light Rail as far as I'm concerned. I expect that Federak Way politicians may be raising a stink, just to see if we want to give them a hand out.

by NineInchNachos on 5/25/2011 @ 4:14pm
good point Tacoma1. I would like Link extended down 6th ave

by tacoma1 on 5/25/2011 @ 4:19pm
I knew I saw it, if you live in Pierce county, and want to support Federal Way's push for Light Rail.............. Federal Way politicians do want us to support them.

"The Federal Way leaders recommend borrowing money between the South King and Pierce County subareas to make light rail to South 272nd Street more feasible."

I didn't know we had extra dollars to lend. If we give Fed Way our ST dollars, we'll never be able to extend T-Link.

It's a stick up. An old fashioned money grab from our strip mall lovin neighbors to the north. I for one would like them to keep their hands off of my ST $.

Read more:

by NineInchNachos on 5/25/2011 @ 4:47pm
gad zooks! Don't give Federal Way any of our money! Why do we need light rail to SeaTac anyway? I for one don't want anyone other than Ms. Darcy touching my junk!

by tacoma1 on 5/25/2011 @ 4:48pm
Better her than me.

by cisserosmiley on 5/25/2011 @ 6:59pm
there should be rail along the "one" bus route

by cisserosmiley on 5/25/2011 @ 7:05pm
rail to sea-tac is an economic development tool, it is not for current residents to use. it is so we can steal jobs from other communities by marketing our rail to the airport.

by Jesse on 5/25/2011 @ 7:54pm
End Sound Transit.

by tacoma1 on 5/26/2011 @ 7:38am
Don't get me wrong. I do want light rail to Seatac. I voted for the defeated Roads and Transit initiative which would have provided it.

Until our community can get another transit funding package figured out, Pierce County taxpayers need to decide where should we put our limited rail funds? Should we give it to Federal Way (King County) so they can hook up to Seattle? Or should we use it on extending T Link within T-Town?

by Nick on 5/27/2011 @ 10:11am
Or perhaps we should be asking to borrow money from Federal Way/South King County to help us fund extending the T-LINK up north from downtown?

Also, maybe it's time to consider borrowing money from the insane WSDOT project budgets instead of ST money from other subareas? Imagine the kickass LRT system we could have with the cross-base highway and the 167/I-5 interchange budgets alone.

by cisserosmiley on 5/27/2011 @ 10:17am
i think the 167/I-5 and cross base might be important to cargo movement out of the port(our main economic driver) where as new rail is people only.

by thriceallamerican on 5/27/2011 @ 10:59am
Cross Base Hwy isn't important for anyone that didn't buy a house in Spanaway or Graham despite the shitty traffic.

by Nick on 5/27/2011 @ 1:20pm
Certainly arguments could be made for the validity of 167, but I would love to see the conversation framed around that rather than categorically exempting highway budgets from the conversation of transportation in Tacoma and the South Sound.

by Nick on 5/27/2011 @ 1:26pm
Also, perhaps we should look into trying to sell the port on subsidizing LINK infrastructure. Check out this Volkswagen factory in Dresden that uses the city's streetcar lines to transport cargo (go to 1:44):

Maybe it's not practical on its own, but when you have an overlap in those that would benefit, it might become easier to fund.

by NineInchNachos on 5/27/2011 @ 2:58pm
that is the coolest thing ever

by Jesse on 5/27/2011 @ 4:38pm
@Nick: Can we build a factory like that on the Tide Flats by the MM Bridge? That'd be cool!