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Old August 21st, 2007, 10:28 AM   #981
Bond James Bond
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoulderGrad View Post
Claim #1:
The light rail project is 10 years behind schedule, and 3x over budget (was supposed to cost $2.3 Billion, but has run to $6.7 billion)

Now I know the behind schedule thing is a load of crap because they simply started late after all the re-votes. As far as I know, we're right on schedule since construction actually started.

Now the budget and cost overruns I don't really know too much about. Anyone care to comment on the finances of the project? I know people like Greg_Christine have mentioned that we are paying prices normally associated with Heavy rail, but getting a light rail system. Also, I understand there has been a steep spike in construction costs recently, which is pushing prices of Everything up. Otherwise, I haven't heard much commentary on the project's spending.
Several years ago I heard a lecture from a civil engineer about the Sound Transit tunnel under Capitol Hill. There was A LOT more water there than they originally thought, and there were several other issues which dramatically increased the cost of the tunnel part. You have to remember that, when someone makes an estimate for a project's cost, it is just a guesstimate, and they don't really know how much it will cost until they start actually digging and building.

In addition, there has been a worldwide spike in the cost of steel, concrete and some other building materials over the past few years. You have all those skyscrapers in China, Dubai, Chicago and elsewhere in large part to blame for that. Sound Transit can't do a thing about that.

Quote:
Claim #2:
Light Rail will only handle 214,000 trips by 2030, while the number of passenger trips in the greater puget sound area will increase to 16.4 million. Light rail will carry less than 1% of passengers.

Okay... 214,000 sounds reasonable, but 16.4 Million trips???? so every man, woman, and child in the greater puget sound region will make a trip 4 TIMES every day....? Someone please explain to me where they're getting that number from.
That's not hard to believe at all.

Trip #1 - go to work in the morning
Trip #2 - go to lunch (if you happen to drive to lunch)
Trip #3 - go back to work from lunch
Trip #4 - go home in the afternoon
Trip #5 - go to the supermarket to pick up a suddenly-needed bottle of ketchup and some toilet paper

And so on.

And that list goes to show how stupid their complaining about the "only 1% of the trips" is. First of all, there are a gazillion nooks and crannies of the metro area which Sound Transit Link will never serve, and realistically can *never* serve. I mean, you can't get a light rail line out to all the nooks and crannies of the Kent Plateau, Frederickson in Pierce County, Snohomish, Carnation, downtown Edmonds, and so on, and so forth. You would need a hundred different light rail lines to serve all those areas, which obviously isn't going to happen. The light rail line is only supposed to serve the high-volume corridors - and that's the only places it *can* realistically serve. But outside of those corridors there are a zillion different places with people making a zillion different trips.

Quote:
Claim #3:
Instead of the $10.8 Billion in capital costs, the cost of ST2 will run up to $37.9 Billion when you include opperating costs and bonded debt obligations

Again, not too familiar with the financials of the project. Please feel free to comment on that estimate.
Dunno about this one.

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Claim #4:
Will actually cost the average household $353/year instead of the "lowball" sound transit figure of $125 per year

Just thinking on how much it costs to fill up my civic once a week (about $1800 a year), even with their estimate, that seems a pretty good incentive to drop the car and take the train. Any news on how much a commuter card would cost?
Dunno about this one either.

Quote:
Claim #5:
More than 2/3 of light rail riders will simply be former bus riders.

Website didn't even have info on these numbers, so no idea where they got them from. Even still, 30% increase in transit use is nothing to sneeze at.
That could be true, but at this point it's still speculative. But even getting a few buses off the streets and highways would be a small reduction.

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Claim #6:
Taxes for operating costs of the light rail system will remain in perpetuity

And taxes for roads dont...? Oh, thats right we don't pay a cent for WSDOT to maintain I-5 or 99, and they're both in such great shape right now.
Good point.
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Old August 26th, 2007, 09:29 AM   #982
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Awfully quiet in this forum nowadays isn't it?
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Old August 26th, 2007, 11:46 PM   #983
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Not much going on now. Things will heat up in a couple months when the November ballot initiative comes closer.
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Old August 27th, 2007, 12:20 AM   #984
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The downtown tunnel will reopen on September 24! YAY! Can't wait to check it out!
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Old August 28th, 2007, 03:00 AM   #985
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Wait the tunnel's reopening? For what? Are buses going back in again? I thought they were converting that for light rail.
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Old August 28th, 2007, 03:20 AM   #986
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Quote:
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Wait the tunnel's reopening? For what? Are buses going back in again? I thought they were converting that for light rail.
Tunnel is for both buses and light rail. This time will be for buses only until July 2009 when light rail opens.
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Old August 28th, 2007, 09:02 PM   #987
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Busses and light rail? Wow I wonder how they're going to do that...
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Old August 28th, 2007, 09:25 PM   #988
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There will be less buses in the tunnel once light rail comes in 2009, basically it will be in a timing basis to sync with King County Metro and Link light rail to work together in a tunnel. I believe they will discontinue 194 express bus route with the light rail since it goes to the airport, but will keep the 174 route that goes on a different route to the airport.

Last edited by sequoias; August 28th, 2007 at 09:53 PM.
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Old August 29th, 2007, 04:48 AM   #989
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Thanks Sequoias. I remember the bus tunnel routes were free of charge within the tunnels. I hope I'm not mistaken, but are they going to continue with the free service?
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Old August 29th, 2007, 04:53 AM   #990
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Quote:
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Thanks Sequoias. I remember the bus tunnel routes were free of charge within the tunnels. I hope I'm not mistaken, but are they going to continue with the free service?
I believe that is part of downtown Seattle free zone. Once you get out of free zone, you will have to pay the fare.
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Old August 29th, 2007, 06:49 AM   #991
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I believe that is part of downtown Seattle free zone. Once you get out of free zone, you will have to pay the fare.
Yeah that's what it was. Light Rail will not affect any of the free zones will it?
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Old August 29th, 2007, 08:39 AM   #992
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Good question, I wonder if light rail will be charged for free zone in downtown area. For example, you hop on the train in international district station and get off at westlake station and not get charged for light rail ride.
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Old August 29th, 2007, 10:18 AM   #993
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Yeah that's what it was. Light Rail will not affect any of the free zones will it?
That's good question. I doubt that light rail will be free in free zone too. Sound Transit has different system than Metro servies.
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Old August 29th, 2007, 10:27 AM   #994
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What is the fare system going to be anyways? Ticket stands? Turnstyles? what?
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Old August 29th, 2007, 11:21 AM   #995
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyAboutCities View Post
That's good question. I doubt that light rail will be free in free zone too. Sound Transit has different system than Metro servies.
Well the ST buses also honor the free zone. I think I caught a ST bus on 3rd for free. I'd be surprised if the light rail *wasn't* free in downtown.
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Old August 29th, 2007, 01:34 PM   #996
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyAboutCities View Post
That's good question. I doubt that light rail will be free in free zone too. Sound Transit has different system than Metro servies.
Well, all of the buses from Community Transit, Sound Transit and Metro Transit that enter downtown Seattle free zone are all free until you ride the bus out of the free zone. The only thing I wonder is the light rail's fare system. I don't know if they installed some fare enforcement system at the tunnel stations, we will find out on Sept 24.

One more thing to add, the old waterfront streetcar isn't a free ride and you gotta pay for the ride and it's in downtown free zone.
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Old August 29th, 2007, 03:26 PM   #997
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Originally Posted by HAWC1506 View Post
Busses and light rail? Wow I wonder how they're going to do that...
It's been done in Pittsburgh. I've seen a picture of it, but I can't find it.
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Old August 29th, 2007, 06:50 PM   #998
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It's been done in Pittsburgh. I've seen a picture of it, but I can't find it.
IIRC, they share the tunnel in Pittsburgh but they don't make any stops inside it.
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Old August 29th, 2007, 06:52 PM   #999
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Originally Posted by sequoias View Post
Well, all of the buses from Community Transit, Sound Transit and Metro Transit that enter downtown Seattle free zone are all free until you ride the bus out of the free zone. The only thing I wonder is the light rail's fare system. I don't know if they installed some fare enforcement system at the tunnel stations, we will find out on Sept 24.

One more thing to add, the old waterfront streetcar isn't a free ride and you gotta pay for the ride and it's in downtown free zone.
Portland does the same thing. You can ride MAX for free from the downtown core out to Lloyd Center and vice versa. After that, random fare inspections take place to make sure everyone on board has a valid ticket. I could see Seattle doing the same thing. People will try to get free rides but the fines of people caught doing so will make up for the fare jumpers.
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Old August 29th, 2007, 08:28 PM   #1000
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Hey all, First time I have posted here, but I have been reading these forums for a while, Anyway, I e-mailed Sound Transit about the fare structure for the light rail. The fare will be the same as metro buses ($1.25, $1.50 peak time) and they will use an honor system similar to the SkyTrain in Vancouver BC. If you walk past some of the tunnel stations during the day you can see that they are leaving big holes in the walls for ticketing kiosks.
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