Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Seattle is not Berkeley

I was happy to read this article today. After posting about the ballot initiative that is going to happen in Berkeley, which will more than likely hault AC transit's plans for BRT, Seattle instead is seizing the moment and getting $17.9 billion for transit on the fall ballot:
Sound Transit is putting a $17.9 billion rail and bus plan on the November ballot, in hopes that voters overlook this year's economic slowdown and think long-term. More than two-thirds of the money would be spent to build 34 miles of light-rail extensions, reaching the Overlake Transit Center near Microsoft in 2021, and Lynnwood and north Federal Way by 2023.

Late next year, light-rail service begins from downtown Seattle to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport; a north line to Capitol Hill and Husky Stadium is already scheduled for completion in 2016.

This is really exciting for the region, but will they make the hard decision to start investing in long term planning and financing for future transit, even though they will not see many of the results for years to come? Transportation planning is never easy because you have to plan so far into the future and ask your tax paying public to start paying for it now. In a culture that has become accustomed to immediate gratification, will these plans pass muster in November? I am optimistic that people are starting to understand some of the larger issues regions are facing and will starting making the necessary decisions at the voting booth in November.

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