Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Two Types of Approval

There's a dustup in Seattle over a voter approved streetcar on First Hill. Candidate Mallahan thinks it's not so smart and would oppose it on the grounds of its expense. Of course he's showing his true colors faster than anyone expected but his even bigger mistake in my eyes is stating that the tunnel deal between the city, state, and county is more of a done deal because of the years it has taken to come to agreement. As if voter approval was just something for the plebes. While its nice that they came to agreement, it's not what voters even wanted and shows a disconnect between what voter approved means and what politician approved means.
"Secondly, when voters vote for something and fund it, as they have with the First Hill Street Car, we should build it. And Mr. Mallahan doesn't seemto think that's the case. But he also seems to think we should build a tunnel that 70 percent of Seattle voters oppose."
Mallahan's campaign shrugged off the attack and accused McGinn of inconsistency and hypocrisy because he wants to thwart the $4.3 billion Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel project that took years for the state, City and King County to agree on.
I don't quite understand the inconstancy, but this is coming from someone who believes unfunded backroom highway deals are more important than voter approved funded transit deals.


EvergreenRailfan said...

Don't know how Mallahan was on ST2 last year, but I guess he is acting like a State Rep from Mercer Island and a State Senator from Camano and Whidbey Islands who are on the key Transportation Committees in Olympia reacted to ST2. Saying to the voters, you approved ST2, but we are not going to fund necessary improvements to the I-90 Floating Bridge to make East LINK possible, because in the case of the Senator, the state portion of the money was needed elsewhere in the state(possibly as far away from Seattle as possible), and the Mercer Island Rep(both Democrats, if anybody wants to know party affiliation) was afraid of some of her constitutents(the Mercer Islanders, the 41st District also includes Bellevue) would lose access to the HOV lanes, or more importantly, there special access to these special lanes, they can drive solo in them as far as the Island. The 41st also voted pretty good for ST2 last year. With ST1, any delay put the project behind schedule.(Still waiting on SOUNDER to Lakewood), and we have people now openly scheming to repeat the same mistakes. In my opinion, the First Hill Streetcar is a two-fer. It is a key component for University LINK, put in to ST2 after FTA rules eliminated the First Hill LINK Station from University LINK. The Streetcar would connect LINK. I am sure there are plenty of politicians that want to see LINK fail, and are trying to avoid saying it publicly, but there actions show. Eliminating connections from the system is one way to show it. I work for a temp agency and had a job on Capitol Hill the last couple weekends, the density for the streetcar is coming, possibly stirred up by University LINK, partially by the First Hill Streetcar.

We also got fallout from the Initiative King of Mukilteo's Performance Audit initiative. He is so concerned about the government giving the taxpayers the biggest bang for the buck, that he feels what makes Seattle Seattle should go. One hallmark of our pre-LINK transit was the Electric Trolleybus, the network that survived attempts by GMC and Flixible to fully dieselize it was a shadow of it's former self when Metro took over. These buses, powered by clean electricity from a grid that is mostly Hydro, have come in handy when diesel prices on the spot market have approached $4 and $5 per gallon. The auditor said get rid of the trolleys instead of replacing them, but only after 2014. They feel being 15 years old by then, the latest ones will be worn out. One problem, the buses they replaced were 25 when retired. The ones those replaced were nearly 40. If anything, an electric trolleybus lasts longer than a Diesel, and a Diesel or a Diesel-Electric Hybrid should not be considered as a replacement for these particular types of buses. It's 1963 all over again, and possibly for the streetcars, 1941 all over again.

Anonymous said...

Mallahan is a wealthy executive who has often shown very little knowledge in how city government works. He'll be a wonderful Mayor. Not.

Still, he's better than Greg Nickels!

Robert Cruickshank said...

Let's also keep in mind Seattle voters rejected the tunnel in a 2007 advisory vote (the last ballot I cast as a Seattle resident).

Mallahan has given McGinn his opening, and he's cramming it down Mallahan's throat exactly as he should. Seattle voters despise the Alaskan Way tunnel project, don't want it, and that's the reason McGinn made it to the second round.

Those same voters really like passenger rail, and for Mallahan to dis the First Hill line is only going to help him dig his own grave even more quickly.

EvergreenRailfan said...

For the past 13 years, I have seen how politicians, in City Government, County Government, and State and Federal seem to ignore the will of the voters here when they say yes. Does not surprise me that Mallahan would fight the First Hill Streetcar. City Councilmember Licata was never a fan of LINK Light Rail, but it got built. My only complaint with LINK is that a few temp jobs I have had this week, I board the train because I am in a hurry don't look to see if it is one being taken out of service at the next stop and end up waiting a few extra minutes at the next station for the next train. The First Hill Streetcar will connect King Street Station and the LINK Station at the International District with First Hill and Capitol Hill. I would like to see it go further than Aloha St.

On July 18th, we entered a new era of Intermodal Transportation when LINK started. Right now, one mode is not connected to LINK at the ID, and that is Washington State Ferries. Before it was replaced by a Free Bus that does not seem to get good rideership, there was a connection, it was the Waterfront Streetcar.