About this blog

My name is Bill Hirt and I'm a candidate to be a Representative from the 48th district in the Washington State legislature. My candidacy stems from concern the legislature is not properly overseeing the WSDOT and Sound Transit East Link light rail program. I believe East Link will be a disaster for the entire eastside. ST will spend 5-6 billion on a transportation project that will increase, not decrease cross-lake congestion, violates federal environmental laws, devastates a beautiful part of residential Bellevue, creates havoc in Bellevue's central business district, and does absolutely nothing to alleviate congestion on 1-90 and 405. The only winners with East Link are the Associated Builders and Contractors of Western Washington and their labor unions.

This blog is an attempt to get more public awareness of these concerns. Many of the articles are from 3 years of failed efforts to persuade the Bellevue City Council, King County Council, east side legislators, media, and other organizations to stop this debacle. I have no illusions about being elected. My hope is voters from throughout the east side will read of my candidacy and visit this Web site. If they don't find them persuasive I know at least I tried.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Paying for Transit Without ST3

The only way to reduce the area's congestion is to provide commuters the option of using transit.  They can either live within walking distance of transit, be dropped off near transit, or use parking near transit.   All of the existing parking spaces used by commuters in the area are essentially full.  Since most will have to use parking, significantly reducing congestion requires adding parking.

The problem is the $40,000 or more cost of providing parking for a single rider dwarfs any potential rider fare revenue. Sound Transit’s ST3 budget simply ignores the need for added parking.  They apparently intend to route existing buses to light rail stations rather than add transit capacity, minimizing any congestion benefits.  Even if they added the parking, the limited capacity means the vast majority of commuters would still have to drive to work.

Sound Transit needs to be “persuaded” to spend the Prop 1 taxes to add thousands of parking spaces throughout the area rather than on light rail extensions.  Commuters would pay for parking rather than for transit.  Each commuter would pay a monthly or yearly fee for an assigned parking space for his car and ride free.  Those who didn’t need the parking space could also ride free since the loss in fare box revenue pales in comparison to the cost of providing the parking. 

After all, buses are not that expensive to operate.  It costs Sound Transit about $10 per mile to operate a bus. (vs $25 for light rail cars) Thus a 40 mile round trip would cost $400.  If 80 of the riders from P&R lots paid $10 a day for parking (and ride), the revenue would match the operating costs for the morning and afternoon commutes, far exceeding Sound Transits 2016 budgeted 28.4 % fare-box recovery.  Obviously shorter round trips make the "pay to park" rather than "pay to ride" benefits even more favorable.

Sound Transit could add 100,000 parking spaces and added buses over the next 5 years without ST3 for far less than what they will spend on light rail extensions.   Commuters have to park their car someplace.  Allowing them to pay for parking near where they live rather than where they work reduces congestion for everyone.  It can all be done without ST3 funding.  All it takes is to "persuade" Sound Transit to add parking rather than light rail extensions.  Rejecting ST3 "may" convince them to do so.

No comments:

Post a Comment