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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 26, 2008 at 5:22 PM

The wheels on the bus

Doing the best they can

I know the frustration of getting to class late due to my bus’ lack of punctuality. I also get frustrated when watching bus drivers sit at a bus stop drinking coffee, instead of working [“Bumper to Bumper,” News, Nov. 24].

In defense of the Metro system, however, I find it unreasonable to ask for such timeliness from the buses with the inconsistent city streets they have to work with. Unlike systems in other countries that are said to “rarely even be one second late,” the Metro-bus system has to put up with day-to-day inconsistencies of Seattle streets such as stop lights, traffic, wheelchair passengers and much more.

I am frustrated with the current system, but do not see a long-term fix coming from more buses crowding the streets, or fewer coffee breaks for drivers. Making “bus-only” lanes or creating a new transportations system altogether would be fixes. I believe Metro deserves nothing but applause and gratitude for the system they have put together with the money and resources available.

— Martin Merz, Seattle

Road construction won’t be enough

As the Highway 520 tolling-implementation committee plans to slap a huge toll on 520 and Interstate 90, I have to ask, what happened to the days when highways were funded 90 percent by the federal government [“520 bridge / 6-lane bridge’s cost no easy sell,” News, Nov. 21]?

The federal contribution for the 520 bridge is a measly $114 million on a project that will cost at least $4.5 billion, or about 2.5 percent. How did we get here? We pay a federal gas tax of $0.184 cents/per gallon, which goes into the Highway Trust Fund, which was enough to build almost all of the freeways you see.

Now we’re told that there is nearly nothing available for big interstate transportation projects like 520 and the Alaskan Way Viaduct. I know a dollar doesn’t go as far, but if the Highway Trust Fund isn’t being used to fund projects like 520, then what is it good for?

The federal government needs to get its act together and do its part to fund major freeway projects. Mega-construction projects simply cannot be handled on the local level. Tolls are not going to be enough to close the funding gap.

— Franklin Hu, Seattle

The end begins here

How many levels of government does it take to raze a city?

Decline starts here: Shut down WaMu [Washington Mutual] headquarters and mothball the building. Trash law enforcement and the legal system. Gun owners with legal concealed-carry permits need to stay out.

Transit riders hurting for cash in a recession should pay more. Or, drive in and pay a toll to use the bridges or more to park. Debate the Alaskan Way Viaduct and select the worst, most expensive option and take five to seven years before traffic is normalized. But who will want to go to Seattle, if there is one?

— William Hofmann, Burien

Comments | More in Politics, Transportation, Washington Legislature

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