The Sound Transit board released Thursday a $50 billion draft plan for new projects and services over the coming decades. The plan would expand light-rail service, including routes to Ballard, Everett, Tacoma and Redmond. If approved by voters in November, Sound Transit 3 would boost an average household’s taxes by $400 per year.
We asked readers what they thought about the plan. These are selected responses.
Self-driving cars make transit obsolete
Spending $400 per household a year in taxes for a public-transit project that won’t be completed until nearly 2040 makes no sense. By that point, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers estimates that 75 percent of the cars on the road will be self-driving, which will have almost certainly made traditional public transit obsolete.
Consider this: The current cost per mile driven in a small sedan is a bit under 50 cents. Even assuming that the price per mile does not continue to decline with efficiency and perhaps widespread adoption of electric vehicles, and absent labor costs for a driver and given a generous 50-percent profit margin, a self-driving Uber costs you 75 cents a mile. Is anyone really going to pay $2.50 for a bus or train ride, which is likely to be slower, more expensive, less direct and generally a less pleasant overall experience? I’m sure not.
Jorgen Nelson, Seattle
I like it, but speed up delivery
The Seattle region desperately needs this. And I speak as a retired mid-70s-year-old owner of a single family home and two cars — and I drive a lot. The estimated $400 or more a year in taxes is cheap compared to the benefits. The biggest problem: its time schedule — it should be delivered twice as quickly.
Lee Bruch, Seattle
What about Kirkland?
I’m very disappointed in the shortsightedness of the Kirkland City Council. Now we get nothing from Sound Transit 3. I bet they hope that will mean more votes against ST3, but I’ll be voting yes for ST3 and voting no to the re-election of the council members who stood in the way of it serving Kirkland.
Ben Ouellette, Kirkland
It’s time we catch up with what Portland area has enjoyed for a lot of years.
Roger Tanquist, Bonney Lake
South King County overlooked
There is zero development for Covington, Maple Valley and Black Diamond areas. We are growing by 10,000 homes in the next five years. There is no access to any major transportation hubs to take advantage of these projects. Why would we pay for something when we are excluded?
Chris Langford, Maple Valley
Terrible design. It has a time-wasting Paine Field detour instead of a more direct route down Evergreen Way in Everett. It has extremely circuitous routes from Lynnwood to Everett to Redmond and from Ballard to anywhere north. Unfortunately this is exactly the kind of result I expect to see as a result of the Seattle Process.
Tim Ellis, Everett
Can’t wait any longer
It’s necessary and overdue. The region’s population has exploded and will continue to do so. With its geographic limitations, rail is the only practical way to move large numbers of people reliably, safely and with minimal environmental impact. I’ve lived in three cities with rail systems and am baffled Seattle went this long without a comparable system.
Heather Ring, Seattle
Looped rail lines would service more areas
I like that they are expanding service, but not that Renton seems to be totally left out (especially given how horrible congregation gets on Interstate 405). I live in Renton and will not support the plan unless they decide to revise and include Renton (and Newcastle) in the overall improvements.
I believe there is no reason East Link and Central Link can’t be interconnected on the South end as well as across Interstate 90. It would appear the planners are being a bit shortsighted, with spurs instead of loops, which would provide more complete options for everyone instead of a limited number of people.
Lee Bruch, Seattle