Roads and Transit

Roads and Transit

Roads and Transit [http://roadsandtransit.org/about.htm] is a ballot measure in the U.S. State of Washington concerning transportation, that was sent to voters in Snohomish, King, and Pierce counties for approval on November 6, 2007 and defeated by a margin of 56% to 44%. [http://vote.wa.gov/elections/WEI/Results_Prop1.aspx]

In 2006, the Washington State Legislature required Sound Transit and the Regional Transportation Investment District or RTID [http://www.rtid.org/] planning committee to jointly submit to voters a transportation financing plan in the 2007 general election. RTID and Sound Transit began working together on the Roads & Transit plan in June 2006. Along with regional planning and transportation agencies, they conducted years of engineering and design work. They also informed the public and collected public comments through open houses, surveys, letters, meetings and hearings. [http://roadsandtransit.org/about.htm]

Content of the Proposal

Roads and Transit proposes to expand mass transit and improve roads in the most heavily traveled corridors in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. It is a unified program of investments in highways, light- and commuter-rail, HOV lanes, park-and-ride lots, and express and local bus service. [http://roadsandtransit.org/index.htm]

Working together, Sound Transit and RTID combined two plans in order to create a comprehensive and balanced Roads and Transit package.

Sound Transit's portion of the Roads and Transit package is called ST2. [http://www.soundtransit.org/x1768.xml] ST2 will extend the Puget Sound region’s light-rail system to 70 miles, create thousands of new Park and Ride slots, and expand bus and commuter-rail service. [http://www.soundtransit.org/x3951.xml] The 20-year cost of the package in year-of-expenditure dollars is approximately $24 billion. Financing this cost entails indefinitely extending the present Sound Transit regional sales tax of 4/10th of one percent, and adding another 1/2 of one percent sales tax.

RTID's portion of the Roads and Transit package is called "Blueprint for Progress". [http://www.rtid.org/] "Blueprint for Progress" will invest in Washington State highways, bridges and local roads in Snohomish, King, and Pierce counties. The proposed projects seek to ease choke-points and improve safety. The 20-year cost of the package in year-of-expenditure dollars is approximately $14 billion dollars. Financing this cost entails a regional sales tax addition of 1/10th of one percent, and adding $80 per $10,000 valuation on the motor vehicle excise tax, popularly known as a car tabs tax.

Counties

The Roads and Transit plan directs investments into congested, unsafe transportation areas in Snohomish, King, and Pierce counties.

nohomish County

In Snohomish County, Roads and Transit combines investments in both roads and transit. [http://216.150.141.179/roads/images/facts_sno.pdf]

Transit

* Extends light rail north from the University of Washington to Northgate, Shoreline,Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Alderwood and the 164th Street/Ash Way area.
* Funds study of future light rail to downtown Everett.
* Builds Mukilteo Sounder parking garage.
* Adds more express bus service and park and rides throughout the region.
* Makes Community Transit improvements including new bike lanes, park and rides, and bus fleet improvements.
* Funds the Edmonds Crossing Multi-modal Terminal, serving ferry, Sounder, Amtrak and bus riders.
* Invests in more buses and vanpools for Community Transit.

Roads

* Widens SR9 between Clearview and Marysville to four lanes, adds four new park-and-ride lots in the area and replaces bridge over Snohomish River.
* Improves interchanges and 6 ramps on I-5 in Everett and Marysville.
* Completes Rte 522 between Woodinville and Monroe.
* Reduces congestion and improves safety on Hewitt Ave Trestle on Hwy 2 near Everett.
* Increases transit and vehicle capacity and safety at the US 2 / I-5 interchange by improving access.
* Builds safety and congestion improvements on US 2 in Monroe.
* Invests in transit options to ease congestion during road construction.

King County

In King County, Roads and Transit combines investments in both roads and transit. The plan focuses on investments in North [http://216.150.141.179/roads/images/facts_nking.pdf] East, [http://216.150.141.179/roads/images/facts_eking.pdf] and South King County [http://216.150.141.179/roads/images/facts_sking.pdf]

Transit

* Funds light rail extension east to Bellevue and Microsoft/Overlake, south to Tacoma,and north from the University of Washington to Northgate, Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Alderwood and the 164th Street/Ash Way area.
* Funds study of light rail between the UW, Ballard, downtown Seattle, West Seattle, Renton and Burien.
* Builds First Hill Street Car in Seattle connecting Capitol Hill, First Hill and the International District.
* Builds a transit direct access ramp on I-5 to South Industrial Way.
* Adds new transit lanes on SR 99 in Shoreline.
* Adds express bus service to keep up with growth throughout the region.
* Makes transit improvements including new bike lanes, more park and ride slots.
* Builds light rail extension connecting Sea-Tac Airport through Des Moines and Federal Way to the Tacoma Dome.
* Funds an Express Bus Parking Garage in Burien.
* Builds a permanent Sounder Station in Tukwila.
* Builds an additional Sounder Parking Garage in Auburn.
* Adds more express bus service to keep up with growth throughout the region.
* Builds light rail from downtown Seattle to Redmond’s Overlake area via Mercer Island and Bellevue.
* Prioritizes extending light rail from Redmond’s Overlake area into downtown Redmond.
* Funds high capacity transit studies for South Bellevue to Issaquah, the SR 520 corridor and the Eastside’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad corridor.
* Builds express bus transit centers and parking garages in Bothell and Renton.
* Adds express bus service to keep up with growth throughout the region.
* Makes transit improvements including new bike lanes, more park and ride slots.

Roads

* Provides funding for replacement of the SR 520 Bridge with HOV and bike lanes in both directions.
* Realigns I-90 HOV lanes to operate 24 hours a day in both directions and accommodate light rail.
* Funds improvements to the Mercer Street corridor (“The Mercer Mess”) in Seattle to improve traffic flow.
* Builds a Lander Street overpass to make travel easier for cars, trains and pedestrians in the Sodo area of Seattle.
* Widens and improves safety on Spokane Street Viaduct and replaces the South Park Bridge.
* Adds two lanes in each direction on I-405 from Renton to I-90 and improves access ramps to reduce congestion.
* Adds lanes to I-5 between Kent Des Moines Road and S. 320th in Federal Way to relieve congestion.
* Provides direct access to Sea-Tac Airport at South 200th Street.
* Extends SR 509 to I-5, providing access from the south to Sea-Tac airport and improving freight mobility.
* Adds HOV lanes to SR 167 in the Green River Valley.
* Builds direct ramp connection between HOV lanes on I-405 and SR 167, reducing backups on the most congested interchange in Washington.
* Invests in transit to ease congestion during road construction.
* Adds two lanes in each direction on I-405 from Renton to I-90 and builds new access ramps to ease traffic.
* Builds direct ramp connection between HOV lanes on I-405 and SR 167, reducing backups on the most congested interchange in Washington.
* Builds a three-lane arterial to ease congestion on the Sammamish plateau.

Pierce County

In Pierce County, Roads and Transit combines investments in both roads and transit. [http://216.150.141.179/roads/images/facts_pierce.pdf]

Transit

* Funds light rail extension connecting Sea-Tac Airport through Des Moines and Federal Way to the Tacoma Dome.
* Builds a Sounder Station Parking Garage and pedestrian bridge in Sumner.
* Builds a Sounder Station Parking Garage and pedestrian bridge in Puyallup.
* Adds more express bus service throughout the region.

Roads

* Extends SR 167 from Puyallup to Tacoma.
* Builds direct ramp connection between HOV lanes on I-405 and SR 167, reducing backups on the most congested interchange in Washington.
* Provides direct access to Sea-Tac Airport at South 200th Street.
* Reconstructs the Federal Way “Triangle” by adding direct freeway to freeway connections between I-5 and SR 18.
* Adds HOV lanes to SR 167 in the Green River Valley.
* Builds southbound ramp from I-5 to Tacoma Mall Blvd.
* Improves the SR 162/SR 410 interchange in Sumner and adds lanes on SR 162 in the vicinity.
* Provides funding for the first phase of the Cross Base Highway.

People and Organizations Involved

upporters

Supporters of Roads and Transit argue that the package provides a balanced and comprehensive approach to solve the traffic problem in the Puget Sound region. [http://www.yesonroadsandtransit.org] The plan provides commuters with options for when they travel. For instance, it extends the region's light rail system to 70 miles, which helps lift commuters out of congestion and make the environment cleaner. Additionally, nearly 12,000 park and rides slot will be created. Supporters concerned with the safety of roads have also endorsed the Roads and Transit proposal because it replaces and retrofits overpasses and bridges vulnerable to earthquakes. Moreover, by reducing congestion, first responders and emergency services will be able to move more quickly on roads. By reducing congestion, Roads and Transit plans to help the Puget Sound region's economy, allowing people and goods to move more quickly and reliably. Improving freight mobility will help the region compete in an expanding global economy.

Endorsers

Organizations that have endorsed the Yes on Roads and Transit proposal include: [http://www.yesonroadsandtransit.org/about/endorsers.html]
* Washington Conservation Voters
* Transportation Choices Coalition
* Washington Environmental Council
* Washington State Labor Council
* City of Bellevue
* Futurewise
* Tahoma Audubon Society
* Environment Washington
* Bellevue Chamber of Commerce
* Bellevue Downtown Association
* American Council of Engineering Companies – Washington
* Architects and Engineers Legislative Council
* Associated General Contractors
* Bayliss Architects
* Downtown Seattle Association
* Everett Area Chamber of Commerce
* Greater Redmond Chamber of Commerce
* Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce
* Issaquah Chamber of Commerce
* National Association of Industrial Office Properties Perteet, Inc.
* Pierce County Association of Master Builders
* Puget Sound Energy
* Renton Chamber of Commerce
* Southwest King County Chamber of Commerce
* Tacoma/Pierce County Chamber of Commerce
* The Southwest King County Chamber Board of Directors
* Washington Association of Realtors
* Washington Roundtable
* Pierce County Central Labor Council
* Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council
* Aerospace Machinists 751
* City of Edmonds
* Snohomish County Democrats
* 45th District Democrats of Washington State

Opponents

King County Executive Ron Sims is the most well-known opponent of the plan. He charged in a Seattle Times op-ed on September 19, 2007 that the plan did too little to deal with the problem of global warming and relied too heavily on a single technology, rail. Prominent in the opposition against the Roads and Transit proposal is Kemper F. Freeman. Freeman is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Kemper Development Company, which owns and operates Bellevue Square. [http://stocks.us.reuters.com/stocks/OfficersDirectorsDetails.asp?rpc=66&symbol=FMSB.O&officerID=136030] Freeman is also Chairman of the First Mutual Bank, and has served as the Director of First Mutual Bancshares since 1968. Erica C. Barnett, a writer for The Stranger, wrote an online article on June 11, 2007 that covered a video produced by Freeman. [http://slog.thestranger.com/2007/06/freeman_transit_proponents_are_socialist] Barnett notes that the video contains "misrepresentations, shaky claims, inconsistencies, and just plain nuttiness." As evidence, she quotes the narrator's voice in the video as follows: "Today, many people attribute much of our success and prosperity as a nation to the automobile and the ability of people to move about freely in commerce and recreation. Others even point to former socialist nations that have failed economically and their overdependence on public transportation, which narrows and sometimes even removes choices of commerce." The Cascade Chapter of the Sierra Club has also declared its opposition to the Roads and Transit proposition because of concerns about the impact of road expansion on global warming. Another declared opponent of Roads and Transit is Phil Talmadge, a Seattle attorney who served earlier as an elected State Supreme Court Justice, and before that as a Democratic State Legislator. One of the newest opponents of Roads and Transit is Eastside Rail Now!, a grassroots movement that is attempting to stop the plan to scrap the Eastside railroad (BNSF Woodinville Subdivision) and is instead advocating its use as the core of a regional commuter rail system.

2008 Proposition 1

Proposition 1 in 2008 includes some of the transit elements of the failed 2007 plan, but no roads. You can read more about this new plan at the "yes" campaign's website, [http://www.masstransitnow.org/ Mass Transit Now!]

External links

* [http://www.masstransitnow.org/ Mass Transit Now! for the 2008 Prop. 1]
* [http://roadsandtransit.org/about.htm Background Information on the Roads and Transit Proposal]
* [http://www.rtid.org/ RTID homepage]
* [http://roadsandtransit.org/index.htm Information about Content of Roads and Transit Proposal]
* [http://www.soundtransit.org/x1768.xml ST2 homepage]
* [http://www.soundtransit.org/x3951.xml Content of ST2 plan]
* [http://216.150.141.179/roads/images/facts_sno.pdf A pdf file about Snohomish County from the Yes on Roads and Transit website]
* [http://216.150.141.179/roads/images/facts_nking.pdf A pdf file about North King County from the Yes on Roads and Transit website]
* [http://216.150.141.179/roads/images/facts_eking.pdf A pdf file about East King County from the Yes on Roads and Transit website]
* [http://216.150.141.179/roads/images/facts_sking.pdf A pdf file about South King County from the Yes on Roads and Transit website]
* [http://216.150.141.179/roads/images/facts_pierce.pdf A pdf file about Pierce County from the Yes on Roads and Transit website]
* [http://www.yesonroadsandtransit.org Yes on Roads and Transit homepage]

* [http://www.eastsiderailnow.org/proposition_1.html 20 Reasons to Vote "No" on Proposition 1]
* [http://www.yesonroadsandtransit.org/about/endorsers.html List of endosers from the Roads and Transit website]
* [http://stocks.us.reuters.com/stocks/OfficersDirectorsDetails.asp?rpc=66&symbol=FMSB.O&officerID=136030 Background on Kemper F. Freeman from Reuters online]
* [http://slog.thestranger.com/2007/06/freeman_transit_proponents_are_socialist 06.11.07, The Stranger, Barnett, "Freeman: Transit Proponents are Socialists, Terrorists]


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