ELECTION 2019: Wondering what I-976 might mean for Metro, Sound Transit?

Statewide Initiative 976 – rolling back taxes on car licenses – is passing by a double-digit margin. What might that mean to transit? Two statements are out today – first one, with a map, from King County Executive Dow Constantine‘s office:

King County Executive Dow Constantine outlined possible consequences of I-976, the $30 car-tab initiative that failed in King County but passed statewide in the Nov. 5 election.

King County does not collect vehicle license fees or motor vehicle excise taxes, which would be repealed under I-976. However, the state of Washington, Sound Transit and 13 King County cities including Seattle use these sources to fund mobility projects, impacting Metro operations.

The Washington Office of Financial Management estimates that the State would lose approximately $1.9 billion in revenues over the next six years (2020-2025). This includes $1.5 billion from the Multimodal Account, nearly half of which is programed for transit across the state.

If the state Legislature decided to make across-the-board reductions in the Multimodal Account due to I-976 passage, it could result in over $100 million in cuts to Metro services between 2020 and 2025. These cuts could include:

$22.8 million in cuts to the Regional Mobility Grant Program awards for nine Metro projects, including RapidRide expansion, speed and reliability projects, access to transit, transit integration, and reduction in service on the Route 101 in Renton.

Burien, Kent, Tukwila, and Seattle would see cuts of $29.2 million in grants for RapidRide investments, access, to transit, and speed and reliability improvements.

$12.2 million in cuts to the Access paratransit program.

Other cuts to programs that provide bus passes to high school students, and incentives to small businesses and non-profits to provide ORCA Passes to employees would also be included.

The City of Seattle Transportation Benefit District approved by voters in 2014 implemented a 0.1 percent sales tax increase and an $60 annual vehicle license fee, generating more than $45 million annually for transit service expansion and low-income transportation equity.

I-976 would cut TBD funding by approximately $36 million, resulting in the loss of 175,000 Metro bus service hours on 74 routes in Seattle, Burien, Shoreline, Skyway, Tukwila, and White Center. The cuts would go into effect at the bi-annual Metro service change in March.

Executive Constantine has asked the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to prepare a lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of I-976.

“The passage of I-976 underscores the ongoing need for comprehensive state tax reform, but for in the short term we must clean up another mess that Tim Eyman has created for our state, our region, and our economy. There will be many discussions in the weeks and months ahead to determine how to overcome the loss of safety and mobility caused by this irresponsible initiative, but the impact of I-976 to transportation is – in a word – devastating,” said Executive Constantine.

“We and the City of Seattle share a set a principles with which we will approach mobility reductions. These principles include: minimizing impacts to vulnerable populations, especially those with low-incomes and people of color; maintaining the 10- and 15-minute service frequency whenever possible; and minimizing overcrowding.

There are also on-going conversations about the possible use of one-time funding as a bridge until the Legislature acts or a replacement revenue package is presented to voters. To be clear, using capital funds for operations – funds that should go to buying buses and building bases – is not good policy. If we spend it on operations, it is gone for good.

Our state’s tax system is inefficient, unfair, volatile, inadequate, and bad for business. Local governments have few tools at their disposal to provide all of the infrastructure and services on which successful communities and a thriving economy depend. Today, our economy is generating unprecedented prosperity, while at the same time governments are forced to cobble together a transit and road systems from antiquated, inadequate and unpopular funding sources. We can and must do better.

We in King County – where Sound Transit 3 was overwhelmingly approved and I-976 was overwhelmingly defeated – we are going to keep pushing ahead, building a transportation system and economy that gives every person access to a better future.”

With a light-rail extension to West Seattle planned as a result of voter-approved ST3, this statement from Sound Transit Board chair John Marchione might be of interest:

“At the next meeting of the full Sound Transit Board on Nov. 21 we will begin the process of responding to I-976. The Board will hear presentations from the agency’s finance staff as well as our general counsel. The Board will consider Sound Transit’s obligations to taxpayers who want their motor vehicle excise taxes reduced, as well as how to realize voters’ earlier direction to dramatically expand high capacity transit throughout the Puget Sound region.”

The board meetings are always open to the public and start with a comment period – this one will be at 1:30 pm November 21st at the ST boardroom, 401 S. Jackson.

4:41 PM: The city is also working on a court challenge to I-976; Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes plan an announcement tomorrow. From the media advisory:

If fully implemented, I-976 would force the City of Seattle to cut more than 100,000 bus hours. In addition, the City of Seattle would lose funding for ORCA Opportunity, Mayor Durkan’s program to provide free bus access for 15,000 Seattle High School students and 1,500 low-income residents. I-976 also would cut funding for most of City of Seattle’s pothole repair, neighborhood safety measures like stairways and traffic circles and significantly impact street repaving, crosswalks and street cleaning budgets.

74 Replies to "ELECTION 2019: Wondering what I-976 might mean for Metro, Sound Transit?"

  • Frank D November 6, 2019 (1:16 pm)

    Dow, it’s all about scaring people to get your damn almighty tax dollar.  “No buses, limited this, limited that, close the fire stations, lay off police…”.  How about pay all you public servants earning more than $100k less and using that money saved to benefit us common folk???  Do you not understand we’re tired of being taxed into oblivion?

    • BusMan November 6, 2019 (1:57 pm)

      Frank D,Do YOU not understand that for some of these jobs you actually NEED to pay people more than $100K so that you can get someone more qualified than Joe the Plumber to do the job? Or perhaps you think Joe the Plumber would do a fine job planning transportation for 4 million people separated by multiple bodies of water? Or that perhaps it’s fair that someone driving a Maserati pay more in taxes than someone driving a beat-up Subaru?

    • wscommuter November 6, 2019 (3:00 pm)

      Frank D – you aren’t being “taxed into oblivion” … especially if you’re making less than $100K.   In fact – if we had a progressive tax system (ie state income tax) that hit higher earners (like me) fairly, your taxes would be even lower if you make less than $100K.  You have every right to disagree with Dow Constantine … but its simple math.  Less money means less services and less construction.   Not complicated.  And if you are under the deluded belief that the reason that taxes are “high” in order to pay a bunch of government salaries you’ve never worked for the government.  Yes, there are a few folks who make more than a $100K, but not that many.  Their salaries aren’t – remotely – the reason why stuff is expensive to build and maintain.   I marvel at how middle income folks making $50K-$100K get suckered into thinking that it’s in their best interests to vote against taxes that pay for infrastructure.  But then again, that demographic is why Trump is president and Fox News is highly rated.  Go figure.  

    • westside November 7, 2019 (12:39 pm)

      Frank, I would LOVE to see your budget proposal for cutting all the government waste while keeping essential services and a balanced budget!  Send it over and I’ll run it up the flagpole.  Let’s do this!

  • Jort November 6, 2019 (1:17 pm)

    There’s been a lot of West Seattle anti-tax citizens crowing and taking victory laps because of I-976. They’re entitled to that, but they should be sure to include thanks to the citizens of the rest of Washington State for their victory, because their neighbors in King County are rejecting I-976 56-44 percent. King County residents wanted to keep the higher car tabs, but we will be paying the price in reduced transit benefits because people in Asotin County vetoed our duly-elected ability to tax ourselves. I hope King County and Seattle work with the state legislature to begin finding alternative taxation methods rapidly. They’ll have the support of the vast majority of King County residents if they do. Just another reminder that the citizens of West Seattle aren’t “anti-tax” or “anti-transit.” We — the people of Seattle — voted against this initiative.

    • Um, No! November 6, 2019 (1:53 pm)

      @JortNot sure “We” translates to all the people of Seattle.  And I guess “Some” of the people in Seattle are now feeling the frustrations that others in the state feel when they don’t constitute the majority when voting on various issues.    This after all was a State wide vote and “Some” of the people in Seattle don’t always their way.  Live with it. 

    • ttt November 6, 2019 (4:54 pm)

      This is passing because of people who live outside of Seattle. There are more people that live in those areas that have had to pay hundreds for their car tabs but do not use the public transit system.    It was a bad way to raise money for public transportation. I like where our public transportation was moving to, and I voted to keep my $500/year car tabs, but this outcome is not surprising in the least bit if you  talk to anyone that lives outside of seattle that paid the higher car tab fee.

      • CAM November 6, 2019 (10:36 pm)

        ST intentionally prioritized transit improvements to hit Snohomish and Pierce Counties first before many areas of Seattle will see light rail in order to get them on board. Bet you they still get light rail before we do despite the fact that they don’t want to pay for it. 

      • westside November 7, 2019 (12:45 pm)

        “There are more people that live in those areas that have had to pay hundreds for their car tabs but do not use the public transit system.” – This is incorrect.

  • Plf November 6, 2019 (1:30 pm)

    I don’t agree and not how I voted for the reduction to $30 tags, can someone educated me on the law suit Dow is considering?  If the citizens voted for it( unfortunately) what would be the foundation of contesting the will of the people.i can understand why citizens outside of the region feel like they are supporting infrastructure outside their communities, but I have concern about trying to over turn the vote of the people, can someone educate me on why the decision is illegal 

    • Jort November 6, 2019 (1:59 pm)

      There is a possibility that they may find it unconstitutional for voters in Stevens County to overturn a local tax in King County. I’m sure you can imagine that if King County wanted to overturn a legal, voter-approved revenue stream for the Pullman City Council, it might get fought also. I imagine we’re not done, yet. 

      • Sixbuck November 6, 2019 (2:49 pm)

        Yet King County government does not directly receive any money from car tabs.  So your argument just bit itself in its own tail. 

        • rpo November 6, 2019 (4:04 pm)

          ST3 does, and that is almost certainly what jort’s argument was based upon.

    • Matt P November 6, 2019 (2:06 pm)

      Part of it is, we in this region voted to tax ourselves more to pay for transit.  No one outside the region pays for it, but now the whole state has voted and told us we’re not allowed to tax ourselves more.  Pretty sure that’s against the state constitution that allows localities to tax themselves.

    • Jon Wright November 6, 2019 (2:14 pm)

      Eyman’s initiatives have a history of being poorly written and non-compliant with the state constitution.

      • Olafur November 6, 2019 (2:32 pm)

        Yes, and the person who benefits the most from Timmy’s messes is…Timmy!  #StopTimmy

    • craig peterson November 6, 2019 (3:21 pm)

      Most of Eyman initiatives  that passed , were later ruled unconstitutional.   Why does Tim continue to submit unconstitutional initiatives?  Because he gets paid either way.  

    • Will S. November 6, 2019 (6:00 pm)

      Some of Eyman’s prior initiatives have unconstitutionally impaired the obligation of contract. For example, Sound Transit is obligated to pay its bondholders from the sources pledged to payment of the bonds, including revenues from MVET (car tabs) imposed at a certain rate. A voter-approved initiative that revokes Sound Transit’s authority to impose MVET probably impairs a contract.But with respect to 976, I’m not sure how this issue will be resolved. I read the text of 976 a few months ago, and it attempts to avoid the constitutional problem by requiring Sound Transit to pay off its outstanding bonds before revoking the legal authority to impose car tabs. (To do that, it seems Sound Transit would have to issue new bonds, likely at higher interest rates, and escrow the new bond proceeds for years until the old bonds are callable—but the old bonds would be deemed to be paid as soon as the escrow is funded.) This is expensive, so our tax money would be wasted on financing costs instead of invested on transportation improvements, and therefore this is also unwise. But the legal question is whether it’s unconstitutional, and like I said I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not. 

      • Canton November 6, 2019 (9:08 pm)

        My question is, if Sound Transit got its measure to pass initially for the $ they wanted, why are they then immediately, contracting bonds of credit beyond what they initially asked for? It’s passing the buck further down the road, when alot of these politicians won’t be around to face this debt. It’s like getting a credit card in the mail, and calling the next day, to ask to raise the limit. Then I  go out, and buy a bunch of toys I don’t really need. Then I pass on, and my kid gets my bill.

        • rpo November 6, 2019 (9:28 pm)

          That’s because part of the funding came from our car tabs and some came from public bonds. That was disclosed and expected. 

          • Canton November 6, 2019 (10:12 pm)

            Why are future bonds necessary on a initial amount agreed upon by voters? We needed X amount of dollars, now we’re gonna create an exceptional debt on those dollars. Keep in mind the politicians involved, most likely, won’t be around when the bill is due.

        • JS November 6, 2019 (10:04 pm)

          Because bonding against the revenue let’s you do more now. Same concept as credit card – buy big expensive item now, pay off with interest over some future period of time. 

          • Canton November 6, 2019 (11:02 pm)

            That would assume the one creating the debt, will be around to pay off the obligation. With a govt entity, the buck gets passed to the next official in charge. So it would seem, no long term, skin in the game.

          • CAM November 7, 2019 (12:42 am)

            Governments borrow money for the same reasons that people borrow money. They need to make a large investment immediately but their funding source will only be paying them on a gradual basis. And the government employees or elected officials are not personally responsible for paying back the loans the government takes out. The government is acting on the citizens’ behalf. The citizens (or more technically the state as a representative of the citizens) are responsible for repaying the loans. This is why in most normal states the government has the ability to impose taxes on a progressive basis to fund itself, because the citizenry is responsible for paying for what the government has undertaken. 

    • AMD November 6, 2019 (9:30 pm)

      There’s a “logrolling” rule.  One item per initiative.  That’s what got Eyman’s last car tab initiative thrown out in court.  This initiative ABSOLUTELY violates the rule.  It doesn’t just limit the car tabs.  It also removes local taxing authority.  It limits what taxes voters are allowed to approve in the future.  It contains a trigger to automatically cancel car-rental taxes in the near future.  There’s a lot of crap in there that had nothing to do with car tabs.  That voters probably wouldn’t be in favor of if they weren’t bundled with the thing they wanted (which is why the rule exists).  

  • WSEA November 6, 2019 (2:03 pm)

    Will there be any cuts to the Vanpool program?  Not sure if any car tab dollars make this program functional outside of the individual users Orca card deduction. 

  • Lola November 6, 2019 (2:06 pm)

    Every time the people vote something down the Council and other elected officials cry fowl and try to make it sound like the sky is falling and we will not be able to serve the people.  I like how they somehow finished the Aurora Bridge project on the day the Votes were counted,  did they just put the cones out there and pretend to fix the bridge during that time that they were bombarding us with messages to Vote no on I-976?  I am tired of them trying to fix it so that we the People are Taxed to death on everything that we own or where we live.  Learn to deal with what money you have and spend wisely. 

  • Yma November 6, 2019 (2:15 pm)

    Well – we all voted.im not sure how this helps. 

  • Ice November 6, 2019 (2:16 pm)

    Since this further incentivizes driving, and will likely negatively effect bus services, my bet that is that traffic is only going to get worse. Whoopsies

    • Bradley November 6, 2019 (2:33 pm)

      Sound Transit and Metro taking away car lanes for buses and eliminating general purpose lanes on 405 for “Lexus lanes” has done more to ruin traffic flow than ANYTHING else.

      • Ice November 6, 2019 (6:15 pm)

        Those lanes move more people per hour than a regular lane does and they incentivize people to not drive by themselves in their giant wheeled couch that was designed to carry 5 or 8 people so I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that one.

        • Mto November 6, 2019 (7:04 pm)

          Totally wrong mr ice.Look at the numbers

        • KM November 6, 2019 (7:13 pm)

          “Giant wheeled couch” I am stealing that phrase, thank you. 

        • Bradley November 6, 2019 (7:43 pm)

          Those new Lexus lanes on 405 north of Bellevue to I-5 have created an instant, twice-daily traffic jam from the day they were activated. WSDOT also increased the minimum number of passengers to use the carpool lane from driver and passenger to driver and two passengers. That’s insane as few drivers have even one passenger at any given time. A majority of Eastside drivers can afford to simply pay the fee and drive alone, which they do.

  • Chuck November 6, 2019 (2:55 pm)

    Once again Eastern WA voters block funding for improvements in King County.  In truth, three counties (King, Pierce, Snohomish) generate the VAST amount of revenue sent to Olympia.  Those funds are used to supplement the other counties; paying for their roads, schools, fire protection, etc.   Investments in King County infrastructure (roads, transportation, Port, etc) are just that, INVESTMENTS.  They are  the fuel that keep the revenue engines running…and supplying funds for the entire state  This is an old article but I’m sure the numbers still hold true.  https://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/King-Co-pays-for-the-rest-of-the-state-is-that-969099.php

    • Marty2 November 6, 2019 (4:31 pm)

      Latest results show Snohomish County voted 62% Yes and Pierce County 68% Yes on I-976; King County voted 57% No.

  • Saber rattling... November 6, 2019 (3:09 pm)

    Constantine is doing nothing but posturing here. A lawsuit is baseless. The measure passed with an overwhelming mandate. Spending more government money to fight an unwinnable lawsuit isn’t going to resonate. 

    • craig peterson November 6, 2019 (3:22 pm)

      History is not on yours or Timmy side    He’s the master of unconstitutional initiatives 

    • KBear November 6, 2019 (3:26 pm)

      Just because a majority of people voted for it doesn’t make it legal. If it’s unconstitutional, it’ll be thrown out. 

    • Mk November 6, 2019 (3:41 pm)

      Didn’t Dow or someone threaten transportation cuts a few years ago if something didn’t pass and it turned out it was just posturing?

    • Jon Wright November 6, 2019 (4:23 pm)

      Saber Rattling, per chance are you new to Washington state? A legal challenge against an Eyman initiative is almost never baseless: https://www.permanentdefense.org/research/failurechart.

    • Ivan Weiss November 6, 2019 (4:40 pm)

      You must have a pretty short memory. I remember when I-695, Eyman’s first $30 car tab initiative, passed. The State Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional, because it violated the constitutional provision that limits initiatives to a single subject.
      .
      Have you read I-976? I bet you haven’t. It does exactly the same thing, and chances are it will be thrown out, too, for exactly the same reasons. The difference then was that we had a gutless Governor, named Gary Locke, and a gutless legislature, that rushed to enact 695 anyway.
      .
      Will we get that this time? It’s doubtful, for several reasons. Eyman isn’t as strong as he was then. Neither are the Republicans, or the anti-tax forces. Moreover, the threat of climate change is a hell of a lot more real to a hell of a lot more people now than it was 20 years ago.
      .
      So I remain hopeful that this piece of dreck will be overturned, and will stay overturned. My car tabs have gone up just like everyone else’s have. But I recognize that we need as much mass transit as we can get, wherever we can get it, as soon as we can get it, and I’m not a selfish, greedy, short-sighted a—–e, like some others are.

      • B.W. November 7, 2019 (10:47 am)

        That’s why I use a legal loophole to pay lower car tabs than the ridiculous prices of King County 😉

        • westside November 7, 2019 (12:59 pm)

          That’s awesome that you benefit from the money that the rest of us pay into the system.

  • Wondering November 6, 2019 (3:32 pm)

    Didn’t we vote to give Metro a LOT of money a few years ago? What happened to all that money? If Olympia had fixed ST’s rigged value even Eyeman said this innitiative wouldn’t have been passed. The states map of all those “bad” bridges got me asking this: where’s their maintenance budget??

  • Albert November 6, 2019 (3:34 pm)

    God bless the 550,000+ people who voted for this.  The true will of the people.

    • chicagoway November 6, 2019 (10:05 pm)

      no it’s not. the will of the people voted to elect representatives that enacted the car tab system. if people don’t like it then they vote for a different representative that’s the point of the damn democracy. this is the will of one rich dude who doesn’t want to pay a few extra bucks on his douchewagon.

      most people don’t have the time or money to sponsor a ballot initiative. if i did maybe i would propose that the state sponsor better taquerias in west seattle and that would probably pass too, doesn’t mean it’s good policy.

  • rpo November 6, 2019 (3:51 pm)

    For those stating there is no basis for a lawsuit, initiatives do not stand simply because the people voted for them. Based on that logic, the people could technically pass an initiative that says the state and local governments cannot tax them in any form and we’d never have to pay taxes ever again. The example of King County voting to tax a neighboring county is a great example. Just because it passed does not mean it will stand up in the courts.This repeal would remove one of the few progressive taxes in a state ranked worst for regressive taxes. I voted no, and that no meant continuing to pay over $1,400 for my tab. Having funding to fix potholes, extend mass transit, etc benefit everyone. Those who use mass transit get better services, and those that don’t have less traffic on the roads, and those roads would be better maintained.

    • Mike November 6, 2019 (5:34 pm)

      Having funding to fix potholes, extend mass transit, etc benefit everyone.”  You actually believe they fix potholes and have done well with mass transit?  Honestly, we can hire private companies to do better for less than half the cost.  Hell, I’d pay $1400 year for Amazon Prime if they provided mass transit and fixed potholes, at least then it would actually happen.

      • rpo November 6, 2019 (9:08 pm)

        I think there’s room for improvement, but practically eliminating the budget to pay for those repairs will make the issues significantly worse. That’s common sense. 

      • Kathy November 7, 2019 (4:26 pm)

        Right now, if you see a pothole and report it through Find It Fix It, it’s fixed in three days. Might take a lot longer or not happen at all if people don’t want to pay the car tax but continue to drive around creating potholes.

  • Quora November 6, 2019 (3:53 pm)

    The bloated funds have been that way for a long time, and traffic isn’t improving, its getting worse. So tell me (or us): is the answer to throw more money at the problem? Can we be assured that improvements are being made, our money is being spent wisely, and government is running efficiently and effectively to solve the region’s transportation problems? Unless we can be ASSURED of that; are people really surprised by the result here? I’m still waiting for the police to issue citations to illegally parked RVs with expired tabs (something tells me I will continue waiting).

    • CatLady November 6, 2019 (7:56 pm)

      I’m not sure how you think cutting hundreds of thousands of bus hours is going to make traffic better? Because, spoiler alert: it won’t. 

  • frank November 6, 2019 (4:21 pm)

    yeah, because all the streets and roads in washington are TOO GOOD. why even pave them? everyone can just buy Hummers to get around

  • flimflam November 6, 2019 (4:27 pm)

    the inflated valuation system is largely to blame here – i’m not even sure how it was legal to over-value the cars to begin with. even if it was legal, it was incredibly sleazy and very easy to vote against continuing that system.

  • JAM November 6, 2019 (5:11 pm)

    How is this going to affect the planning, design money for ST in West Seattle?

    • WSB November 6, 2019 (5:47 pm)

      As noted above, the Sound Transit Board will start talking about it on November 21st.

  • Mj November 6, 2019 (5:44 pm)

    The arrogance of the politicians and their failure to learn from history, 20 years ago the inflated valuation of vehicles resulted in the passage of the first $30 tabs initiative.  Constituents were complaining to them about this yet they ignored them.  This is what happens!  

    • Jon Wright November 6, 2019 (6:14 pm)

      In the absence of a state income tax, cockamamie taxation schemes like car tabs are just about all that is left to raise money for a big project like Sound Transit. Wouldn’t it be more arrogant for politicians to ram an income tax through without a mandate from the public? And since the public voted on and passed the ST3 initiative it isn’t clear to me how that makes politicians arrogant.

      • WW Resident November 6, 2019 (6:54 pm)

        And I lost count of the people who complained to me  who did vote for it after it passed about the cost of their tabs.  Well… dumb de dumb dumb duuuummmmbbb

  • John November 6, 2019 (7:18 pm)

    Wow. Now what? Ok….let’s try it.

  • Daniel November 6, 2019 (7:49 pm)

    Starve the beast! Let’s launch recall petitions vDow Jenny and Pete and BobFerg too if necessary. These guys do not understand Democracy at all.They are similar to the Deep Staters in Wash DC who are trying to overturn an election w a coup (aka impeachment). 

    • K. Davis November 7, 2019 (8:30 am)

      Careful Daniel … your tin foil hat is askew (might be the MAGA lettering …)

  • Dan November 6, 2019 (9:02 pm)

    If only we actually collected money from bus riders our bus service may even be able to pay for itself! Crazy concept, I know. Constantly have bus drivers tell me to stop feeding money in after the first dollar bill goes in, and I finally started asking the drivers why. They all said “nobody else on here is paying.”

    • brian November 7, 2019 (10:25 am)

      I’ll take “crap that never happened” for 1000, Alex.    Why would you lie about something this stupendously stupid?

    • dave November 7, 2019 (11:28 am)

      A few times a year I utilize the 574 express from SeaTac. I was surprised when I got on yesterday and tried to shove a 5 dollar bill in the slot. The toll taker wouldn’t accept money. Pretty poor way to run a transit service…

  • Mj November 6, 2019 (10:34 pm)

    Dan – fairbox recovery is a legitimate discussion.  Raising the fare 50 cents at a 100,000,000 rides a year is $50,000,000.

    • CAM November 7, 2019 (9:07 am)

      So bus riders (who I repeatedly hear are dangerous, violent, drug addicted, homeless people) can afford to pay at least $1 more per day but my neighbor driving a newish SUV with 2 roof racks and a bike rack on the back can’t? If your yearly registration costs went up $365 you certainly aren’t hurting for money. We should really have a conversation about what “luxury” items actually are and what is actually a “necessity” if we are going to start saying we can’t pay for needed infrastructure improvements and upkeep. 

    • Nolan November 7, 2019 (10:04 am)

      As long as tolling is less than bus fare, there’s a perverse incentive to drive rather than take the bus. We can solve two problems at once by bumping up every toll in the area to a $5 minimum (roughly 2x a one-way trip) and using that to subsidize the people who aren’t strangling our city’s infrastructure to death.

      Bus riders are reducing traffic on the people who choose to drive themselves; if ridership reduced by even 25% (~100,000 people) and those people switched to cars, we’d see ~30% more traffic through the city and all the catastrophic jamming that comes with it. Drivers need to financially support the systems that make their lifestyle possible, rather than punishing others for doing it.

  • BWD November 7, 2019 (11:51 am)

    Dan:I’ve ridden the bus at least twice a day for 30 years.   I know numerous bus drivers on a professional and personal basis.  With occasional exceptions most people pay their fares.  Most people who don’t are usually people who can well afford it but are too important.  This frustrates both passengers and drivers.  No bus driver has ever told me to not pay my fare since it is “useless”.  Where can I catch the bus you ride?  

  • Mj November 7, 2019 (3:13 pm)

    Nolan – your math fails to account for fuel cost, vehicle cost et al.  Taking a bus would still be far less expensive!

    • Nolan November 7, 2019 (10:49 pm)

      Oh, for sure. I’ve just happened to notice that car drivers tend to ignore every cost associated with car ownership right up until government is involved. They don’t think about the amortized cost of a daily commute on the order of $10 for car purchase, $3 for maintenance, $2 for insurance, and $2 for gas (on the conservative side); much less do they think about the externalized costs of lost productivity due to their role in creating traffic, or their role in causing road wear. They only see a $1.50 toll and see that it’s cheaper than $2.75.

  • 1994 November 7, 2019 (9:09 pm)

    I see so many cars with expired license tabs, so many like I have never seen before…. I saw tabs today that expired in Jan 2019. People don’t get tickets from the police for driving with expired tabs? Why pay hundreds of dollars if the chance of getting a ticket is so low. 

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