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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 20, 2013 at 6:30 AM

Gas tax increase falls on Metro, not the state

Where’s the accountability?

The Times seems to blindly advocate for the proposed statewide gas tax increase. If passed, it would give our transportation departments more money “to play with,” and that’s what they’re doing [“Big issues remain, but Senate GOP open to gas-tax hike,” Online, Nov. 12].

Both the ferry system and Metro seem to have lost sight of what their primary goals are or should be: efficiently moving people and automobiles. The ferry system always seems to be trying to scale its operation to its peak load times and season. I travel the cross-Sound routes multiple times weekly, and in the vast majority of times the ferries are sailing with less than half a load, sometimes much less. You can’t build any reasonable operation when it’s sized for the absolute maximum usage when it’s for a very small percentage of the whole operation.

Metro has spent untold millions of dollars on the new RapidRide routes, building new fancy waiting stations with artfully designed shelters and electronic signage, including schedule updates and card readers. I seriously question how that is helping increase the ability to move people efficiently. Why are they “deadheading” so many empty RapidRide buses from Holman Road to Atlantic Base, bypassing dozens of people that are standing waiting for a bus along 15th Avenue NW and Elliott Avenue.

I’d wager that if just these two items were handled very differently, more than half of the 17 percent they are asking for would be available within their own budgets.

Ross Budden, Seattle

Comments | More in Economy, Transportation | Topics: metro, transportation

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