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Last day to register to vote online! Regional transit needs you

Yes! Image from the Mass Transit Now campaign.
Yes! Image from the Mass Transit Now campaign.

Don’t be one of those people who thinks their vote doesn’t matter because they are not in a Presidential swing state.

Today is the last day to register to vote online in WA if you want your ballot mailed to your home. Due to Indigenous People’s Day, you should also be able to mail in your registration form (PDF) so long as it is postmarked tomorrow (October 11). There are ways to vote if you miss this deadline, but they are all more of a hassle.

While I can’t imagine a vote that feels more satisfying than adding my lowly vote to what will hopefully be a mountain of WA votes against Donald Trump, there are so many other issues on the ballot this year that need your support, including a very rare chance to revolutionize public transportation across the region for generations to come.

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Unlike with last year’s Move Seattle vote, Sound Transit 3 (Proposition 1) is a regional package with voters across King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties weighing in. It will only pass if Seattle and other transit-supporting cities and neighborhoods go very hard in favor of it.

Every vote will matter to overcome resistance from people like the GOP candidate for Governor Bill Bryant, who recently filmed a commercial where he is driving alone in a traffic jam while talking about how he thinks traffic sucks and that’s why you should vote for him. He doesn’t support regional Proposition 1 to expand transit and give people options around those traffic jams. He also doesn’t seem to see the irony in demonstrating the exact behavior that causes traffic jams: People driving alone.

His solution to traffic? More roads and wider highways, of course! And getting rid of toll lanes. Nevermind that trying this strategy for a generation has only made the problem worse. Clearly I-405 is just one more lane away from flowing freely.

Did I mention that if you register today, you can also vote against Bryant?

While on the subject, highway widening seems like an odd choice for attacking Governor Jay Inslee, who this very blog criticized for passing a huge highway expansion package in 2015. But at least Inslee isn’t going around saying, “I know we just passed billions for expanding highways, but now we need even wider highways!”

There are many more issues on the ballot, and we will dive into them in the weeks to come. But in the meantime, register to vote. And spread the word among your friends.

UPDATE: If you want to do more than just vote for Prop 1, my wonderful spouse Kelli at Cascade Bicycle Club is helping to organize phone banks to get out the vote:

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8 responses to “Last day to register to vote online! Regional transit needs you”

  1. Erik

    Vote no on ST3 which will cost almost a billion dollars a mile and not happen until most of us are retired or dead. Sound Transit has not shown it can be on time or within budget so expect delays and even higher costs.

    1. Gary

      Are the people who put in the NYC subway alive? Boston’s subway? Some things you do because they are the right thing to do for the future. I’ve got descendants, I vote for them as well.

      1. William

        @Gary, no they are not alive but they built a system that was driven by the needs for transportation within their cities at the time while we are voting on one that replicates technology from the 1880’s with a design that is driven by the need to pacify multiple different constituencies. For $54M and a 20 year wait, we will have a public transportation system that can get citizens from Tacoma to Everett in ~2.5 hours. By any metric that is pathetic and while probably better than the status quo, we really need Sound Transit to be run more competently than Pronto.

      2. Mark

        By your definition, the automobile and bicycle are both 19th century technologies and therefore we shouldn’t do anything to accommodate them. And walking, being an even older technology, is even worse.

      3. William

        True but self driving vehicles aren’t and our government can either sleep through this and let the private market make them the domain of the rich who do not care if they are sitting in traffic in their mobile office or it can build dedicated busways instead of fix rail and provide many more people with fast no-change transportation from their home to work than this plan will ever provide which by the time ST3 gets completed in 25 years can be all driverless.

  2. Mike

    Actually, all of Sound Transit’s projects since 2001 have come in on time and on (or under) budget.

    Yes, this system takes a long time and costs a lot, but voting no is not going to make it come any faster, nor cost any less. If it fails, the agency will simply reduce its ambitions and send this back to voters in four years. It’s likely that the updated version would have fewer stations, fewer miles — and less chance of winning.

    This is not a perfect proposal — nothing ever is — but voting no resigns the region to terrible and worsening traffic in perpetuity. Expanding transit won’t solve traffic overnight, but it at least gives you a way to opt out of it.

    The arguments people are making against this package are the same that Seattleites made in 1970, when we had a chance to build almost this exact same system. People then said it cost too much and took too long. By voting it down then, they contributed to creating the traffic problems we have now.

    This package is a great opportunity for the region. I wish it came faster and cost less, too. But voting it down will only make it take longer and cost more. Let’s (finally) get some reliable public transit in this city.

    1. William

      “Actually, all of Sound Transit’s projects since 2001 have come in on time and on (or under) budget.”

      This is a little bit disingenuous. They have only built one significant project (light rail from Seatac to the U District) and all of that came way after the initially projected timeline (10 years late to the UW). ST now plans for very long timelines and a generous budget and so I am sure they will continue to do stuff on time and at/below budget but that doesn’t really help a region that needs affordable and scaleable public transportation sooner rather than later.

      1. Mark

        One giant capital project, but tons of little ones. New or renovated transit centers in Bellevue, Lynnwood, Federal Way, Tacoma, Redmond, Issaquah, etc.; commuter rail stations on the Sounder lines; and Tacoma Link, the sort-of-streetcar stub for Tacoma.

        There’s also the operation of express bus service, which has expanded to an all-day frequent network that this region has never seen. And they’re popular, too.

        And since when is planning within means a bad thing? ST got burned by being too overconfident, so releasing a conservative timeline and budget that assumes less outside help from the feds gives a more realistic picture for voters. It can be done sooner, but that’s not guaranteed and by no means does ST want to continually revise timelines–in the wrong direction.

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