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Seattle Streetcar Projects A Big Drain

It appears Seattle continues to look at ways to blow our tax money.  The City Council is going to spend $10 million dollars to just review adding streetcars in Seattle.  The $10 million will be spent on just reviewing the roads, locations, areas, tracks, population etc.  In the event, the City decides to move forward on a streetcar, it will cost $50 million dollars.  How could anyone actually be considering this?  It’s just way out of our budget and simply doesn’t make any sense.  We would be better off buying a new bus, painting it (thus branding it) and naming it the Emerald City Shuttle.  It’s dedicated to just this mile and goes back and fourth all day.  The costs are maybe 100K for the bus and another 30K per year for the driver.  Do you know how many years it would take with my plan and budget compared to your $50 million+ plan?  It would take 50 years on my plan to even reach you’re $50 million initial construction work easily.  You’re plan doesn’t even include millions per year for maintenance of your plan.  It’s just a no brainer.

Lets talk about the extra revenue.  My plan and your plan does create revenue except my plan can start in a few weeks and yours will take years.  My plan can be extended to other areas in a matter of weeks.  It can be tested in different areas to find the “$$$ Sweet Spots” yours is not possible.  Your plan gives the city the ability to create more taxes to support the streetcars and another excuse to whine about it each year not making money.  This means higher taxes, fees, and car tabs for everyone.

How about the $10 million we are going to spend on just research the streetcars?  Do you know how much transportation could be provided for $10 million dollars?  We could revamp our entire bus system, routes, and promote it better.  That is the biggest problem with our transportation.  With all the bus routes being cut it seems we continue to have money to blow on this silly “research” which at best gives us an “OK” to move forward on spend $50 million on a measly 1 mile track.  Who knows if that even includes the cost of the streetcar itself.

In my opinion the busing system is good in theory.  The problem with it is with management, promotion, and the lack of attention.  The City needs to promote and justify riding them.  If people can actually get around at an affordable monthly price then Seattle residents will use it 100%.  There is a bad stereotype with buses also.  People view them as being poor, old, and smelly.  The feeling of poverty and an uncomfortable ride.  It’s complicated to even find out where they are going and when.  They need to be re-branded and promoted to a more luxurious ride.  Once this is in place you’ll have them filled to capacity with good revenue that can be automatically billed to riders.  It’s a great business model (with residual recurring income) and the City continues to be poor managing this old and out dated transportation system.  It’s never going to be improved at this rate of speed.  The riders will continue to go down also.

With that being said the streetcars model make no sense.  We have everything we need in the City of Seattle now except the right people knowing how to improve them.  We live in an age where we must adapt and continue to improve not only with a better and more enjoyable ride but also with prices, routes, and education with the public.  I assure you I could talk to anyone on the street and ask them how do I get to Ballard from here and they wouldn’t have a clue and nor would I honestly unless I was at home and search the Internet for about an hour.  98% would be lost and that shouldn’t be happening.  Most can’t even turn on their own computers let alone figure out what Google is.  It really needs to be dumbed down even more.  Getting online and figuring it out isn’t a viable solution.  It seems our leaders don’t want to invest or improve anything.  That would require actual work.  They just want to buy and try something new out no matter the costs involved.  Then when that newness burns out in a few years they will be looking at something else shinny and new.  FIX THE THINGS WE HAVE IN SEATTLE REGARDING TRANSPORTATION.

Having lived in the Pacific Northwest his entire life, Jeff understands and delivers a different perspective about politics. Even though many may disagree with his language and writing style, you can't debate his passion for the Seattle area and his committment to a better society.

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