October 14, 2008
Proposition 1 on your November ballot will get you a half-cent-per-dollar increase in sales tax. That’s for sure, and immediate. Along the way, a new bus route or another bus for an existing route might come your way and hopefully will be going the way you want it to. And, someday far, far away — maybe in 20 years — you might live long enough to take a bus from here to Bellevue, where you can catch a ride on a light rail train to Seattle.
Sound Transit has sweetened the pot in just about every city in three counties to get voters to say yes. Issaquah would get additional bus runs on Sound Transit express buses from the Issaquah Transit Center and the Highlands Park & Ride to downtown Seattle. Voters must decide if that’s enough to justify a sales tax increase to raise $17.9 billion for the bus/light rail package.
We vote no. Prop. 1 will only put 20 percent of its tax collections toward more buses.
It just may be that the notion of light rail in the Puget Sound region is too late. The only traffic solution we envision is one that gives drivers the option to use their very own driveway as a personal park & ride. We need collector buses that go into neighborhoods then connect to buses to take people where they need to go when they need to get there.
Voters thought they’d gotten the message to Sound Transit when they rejected a similar proposal only a year ago. The cost is too great — King County would have one of the highest sales tax rates in the nation — and then wait too long for light rail to kick in.
Another traffic related ballot issue is Initiative 985. It seeks to open carpool and bus lanes to all traffic except during peak hours — from 6-9 a.m. and from 3-6 p.m. weekdays. While it’s a tempting notion, the change comes with a price tag. Funds would be diverted from state taxes already in place. But, most of all, there is no clear evidence that it would make much difference in drive times. Vote no.