TDI -- Reporter's Blog

Jan. 8, 2010 at 12:41pm

A New Link Light Rail Station?



Tacoma's Link light rail passes along Commerce Street between South 11th and 12th Streets on Wednesday.

A note in Tacoma City Manager Eric Anderson's weekly report Dec. 31 caught my eye:

The Public Works Department reports that staff is designing a stop for the light rail system that will be located in the block between 11th and 12th. The additional rail stop is expected to cost about $135,000 and be completed by May 2010.

This week, I tracked down City Hall / Sound Transit staff familiar with the plan for a short article that appears on the Tacoma Daily Index Web site today.

City engineer and assistant public works director Jim Parvey told me engineers from the Public Works Department met with Sound Transit representatives last spring to walk the affected rail line and discuss the idea. Plans have been drawn up for the station. "It's just a simple design at this point," said Parvey. "It does not show any architectural treatment."

Sound Transit spokesperson Andrew Schmid told me, "Last year, the City asked us for some assistance to look at the feasibility of an additional city-funded Tacoma Link stop in between Convention Center and Theater District stations. If Tacoma decides to pursue the possibility of an additional stop, Sound Transit will work with the City and other affected parties to explore options and any construction and service implications."

comments [59]  |  posted under Downtown, Link, Tacoma

Comments

by NineInchNachos on 1/8/2010 @ 1:08pm
wow, be able to take the link to the Mad Hat!? One funny thing I noticed while delivering zines, I can walk from theater district stop to convention center stop faster than the link most of the time. And once I'm at the convention center stop, it takes longer to wait for the next link than it does to walk to the union station stop.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 1/8/2010 @ 1:15pm
Where is this station to be in relation to the tracks? The tracks are quite away from the sidewalk. I can't imagine them taking away a lane of the street to build out the station to the tracks. Are they thinking they will re-route the tracks for only 135k and build a station. What are these people smoking?

by drizell on 1/8/2010 @ 1:24pm
Newsflash: Tacomans are too lazy to walk three blocks. Link stations are currently located at 9th and 15th. Tacomans are becoming slaves to overzealous convenience.

by KevinFreitas on 1/8/2010 @ 1:40pm
Though I agree with the "just walk" ideal it would sure be great to lend some life to that particular span of Commerce. If a stop encourages a little more people traffic there and up to all the restaurants on Broadway I'm all for it!

by intacoma on 1/8/2010 @ 2:23pm
I'd be interested in how it will effect the current schedule, I want the lightrail to go faster through downtown

by L.S.Erhardt on 1/8/2010 @ 3:05pm
If the city can cough up $X million for a station, why can't we find the $ to send the train up the hill?

by panachronic on 1/8/2010 @ 3:42pm
There is no way in the Wide World of Sports that this can be done for $135K. No way. Not happening.

For one thing, they won't be able to buy any sufficiently horrid "art" for $1350.

by Erik on 1/8/2010 @ 4:51pm
A new station is a good idea. Plus, the Commerce stop has a lot of problems.

by L.S.Erhardt on 1/8/2010 @ 4:55pm
That's why I called it "$X million". $135K really means $1.35M

But hey, I'll gladly make some art for the low, low price of $1349 and 100 cents.

by L.S.Erhardt on 1/8/2010 @ 5:18pm
Life-size styrene Fail Whale, anyone?

by tacoma1 on 1/8/2010 @ 5:55pm
On the surface, this doesn't seem like a great idea. It'll cost 135K at least, and won't add any extra ridership, whereas extending the line will add extra ridership, plus a good reason to start collecting fares so it would help pay back for the extension. Although it will probably only add a couple of minutes to the ride, which doesn't sound like much, but it will mean the the morning light rail train leaving 9th and commerce at 7:50 will miss the 8:00 Sounder, which it now makes with a minute to sprint across the street and hop on the train.

I don't like this idea. The light rail in Seattle spaced their stops a long ways apart to keep it moving. Someone must not know the difference between a train and a bus. Personally I like to walk, and actually consider the walking aspect of taking transit as a side benefit. If people are truly unwilling to walk two blocks to get where they are going, they won't be on transit anyway.



by Nick on 1/8/2010 @ 6:05pm
Hmmm, hate to rag on new light rail construction, but it seems like a waste to me. Put that money towards extending it instead and we'll get more bang for our buck.

by NineInchNachos on 1/8/2010 @ 6:44pm
whose idea was this? the millionaire developers behind pacific plaza?

by BellCaptain on 1/9/2010 @ 11:06am
Up the Hill towards the all new entertainment /apts/etc. there at old Elks and then on to Stadium district.....they plan to party there by St. Pats 2012 I beleive !!
Folks will need a ride, trust me on that ......

by L.S.Erhardt on 1/9/2010 @ 3:53pm
By 2012, the train ought to be under construction on MLK and (hopefully) Stadium Wy/Division.

by BellCaptain on 1/9/2010 @ 7:32pm
Sounds good Thorax-save me a seat or Two !!

by jenyum on 1/9/2010 @ 10:01pm
I wish this were where the theater district stop were to begin with. This is where you would get the link if you were actually trying to connect with a bus or the train. Which, more often than not is what I'm trying to do when I catch the link.

If you think you might catch the link to get down to the Tacoma Dome Station to connect from the 16 or another bus that ends at 10th and Commerce, it can be difficult to time the connection properly if you have to walk a few blocks to get there. Not an issue of not being willing to walk, but watching sadly as you just miss the link, and realizing you're not going to make your connection at the Tacoma Dome Station. Another half hour tacked on to the commute to Seattle. It's basically a huge cluster of not fun, and from a transit perspective it just never made any sense to put the stops at 9th and 15th when the transit center is located between 10th and 11th.

Makes the name "LINK" pretty ridiculous, since it doesn't actually connect.

by fredo on 1/10/2010 @ 9:00am
This conversation clearly illustrates one thing.

Transit doesn't really solve problems it just creates a new variety of problems.

If we had solar-powered streetcars created by job-creating bond issues running down every street in Tacoma on half hour intervals and piloted by handicapped minorities there would be somebody here on feedTacoma complaining about the insufficiency of the service, the danger to pedestrians, the noise from the tracks, the gang bangers loitering around the stops, etc.

by david on 1/10/2010 @ 4:06pm
Complaining is what makes this world a better place!! =)

by L.S.Erhardt on 1/10/2010 @ 5:02pm
Let's just build our own train. I bet we could do it for 25-50% less than ST or the City ever could

by panachronic on 1/10/2010 @ 6:47pm
That's like saying "I bet I can buy a hammer for 25-50% less than the Pentagon pays." It really doesn't mean that much.

ST spent over $11K per foot on Tacoma LINK. If the city is serious about this (which it isn't), it will need to lop off a couple of zeroes from that figure... not just cut it by 25-50%.

by tacoma1 on 1/11/2010 @ 8:24am
@Jennyum
Currently, most buses drop passengers off at 10th and commerce. The Link terminus is currently at 9th and commerce, less than a full block away. Link is almost assuredly destined to head up Stadium Way to TG, maybe even points beyond. My point being, that the "link" you are referring to is no more convenient if a stop where at 11th and commerce v.s. 9th and commerce as the buses would still drop of people one block away from both Link stops. Plus, once Link goes up the hill, many people will likely board up by TG. Many of the buses may even change their routes and terminate there. No need to run as many buses through down town if Link can run through the downtown core faster, carry more people more often, and at a lower cost with no tailpipe emissions.

@fredo
If transit didn't solve any problems, the developers at Pacific Plaza wouldn't be back door dealing so hard to get the city to build them their own personal Link Station. And gangbangers aren't created by transit, and they won't be going away if transit went away.

by fredo on 1/11/2010 @ 8:39am
tacoma1@ I hadn't thought about the proximity of the proposed link station to the Pacific Plaza development. These people got the city to demo the Luzon building so getting the city to build them a handy new station shouldn't be a problem.

It should come as no surprise that the public development of transit and transit centers has spawned new categories of problems which previous generations were unacquainted with. The centers attract large numbers of loiterers, occasion frequent police calls, and are the location of frequent assaults, car prowls and break ins.

by tacoma1 on 1/11/2010 @ 8:56am
@fredo
Transit doesn't attract car prowls. Parking lots at $40K/stall filled with empty cars attract car prowls. Which is why we shouldn't build any more transit parking lots in Tacoma.

If you could magically get rid of transit, the loiterers would move to the next public space available. Transit isn't the cause of the dirtbags. Dirtbags are a law enforcement problem, and a societal problem.

by jenyum on 1/11/2010 @ 9:18am
Have you ever waited for that walk light at 9th and Commerce? It's pure evil. It can easily take 10 minutes to get a light, and you are going in the opposite direction, and you have no other transit options if you don't hit the timing right once you get there. And, you are stuck by yourself without the population of other transit riders on a creepy block with no operational retail. This, in a town where it is dark 16 hours a day in the winter. Why would anyone do that twice? I'd rather walk to 15th if I have the time to wait.

The Theater District stop might as well be a half a mile away. Trust me, it's too far when you are trying to time a bus connection. 11th is within the transit center and a piece of cake compared to 9th.

I never realized adding another stop at 11th was even an option, but my point is it should have been there to begin with. Putting it at 9th had more to do with wishful thinking than any rational transit oriented planning.

by fredo on 1/11/2010 @ 9:18am
Here's an unrelated question.

Who's paying the operating expenses of the Link? There's no fare box.

by NineInchNachos on 1/11/2010 @ 9:29am
doesn't the link operate on a grant from Boeing?

by NineInchNachos on 1/11/2010 @ 9:31am
9th & commerce walk lights suck.

People are being trained to walk when the light says 'no' but the train says 'go.'

by tacoma1 on 1/11/2010 @ 10:03am
@Jennyum
Ok, I see your point now. Crossing 9th can take forever, and I am guilty of doing exactly what NIN said, crrossing with the train, not the light.

As to who pays, I don't know exactly the mechanism, but I'm pretty sure that Tacoma (or at Pierce County) tax payers pay for it. The drivers are all PT employees, though the system was built by ST.

It is my understanding that the reasoning for no fare box is a logistic one. That it would cost more to install farebox's and collect and administer fare collection than anticipated collections received. I believe that now, with the ORCA card, fare collection is feasible. All we have to do is install the ORCA card readers at the stops, and do random fare checks. Security is already on the trains, so spot fare checks wouldn't need much additional staff, if any. I for one, would be in favor of fare collection. Also that if the line is extended up the hill, fare collection would be likely.

by fredo on 1/11/2010 @ 10:21am
tacoma1@ the collection of revenue is not the only reason fare systems exist. A fare system provides graphic evidence regarding the value or lack of value to the users. In other words, if we installed fare boxes on the Link and they collected $5000 per day that would tend to indicate that the locals really value the service. If they only bring in $50 per day that would indicate a low associated value. When there's no fare then all estimates of the systems value would have to be considered speculative.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 1/11/2010 @ 10:55am
The fare is in place, on transit, mostly to keep the service from being overwhelmed by users. It is basically a form of service rationing. Imagine how many people would be on Pierce Transit or Metro if there was no fare at all. No question, in some systems it does provide a small percentage of the revenue to run the system, something like 1/6th of the necessary revenue.

by fredo on 1/11/2010 @ 11:18am
Well said Crenshaw. This should have been obvious to me but I missed it.

by panachronic on 1/11/2010 @ 11:41am
@ Crenshaw:

If transit users had to pay the actual cost of transit service, there would be no users simply because nobody would be able to afford it. This is true of ST's entire portfolio of service offerings, which are all heavily subsidized -- mainly from gas tax revenue.

I find it ironic that those who decry the "inefficiency" of automobile transportation don't acknowledge that it yields up enough surplus revenue to fund all of their favorite alternatives.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 1/11/2010 @ 12:52pm
Public transportation is pretty expensive and the users really don't pay for much of it. Historically public transportation was a private enterprise. To take the public transportation to Olympia from Tacoma it will cost you $2.50 at the fare box. The Greyhound will cost you between $8 and 13 depending on when and how you pay for the ticket. The cost to Seattle on public transit is $3.00 and the cheapest Greyhound ticket is $7.23. The private bus and rail companies of old had to balance the cost of the service with the money people will willing to pay. I suspect they were more efficient than we are with our transit agencies today. On the other hand there were no minimum wage laws back then or any worker protections in place.

I'm not sure if a private company would be willing to do public transportation these days. I know that in some smaller cities they contract with Laidlaw (part of Greyhound) to provide public transportation. It is cheaper for the government to go this route but the service is horrible.

Public transportation, I believe, is more like a social service and government does it for the public good. It keeps a lot of beaters off the road along with people that shouldn't be driving due to DUI and a variety of other reasons. The poor can get to their minimum wage jobs and our elderly without cars or support can get to the grocery, doctor, and church. I suspect if public transportation disappeared overnight the roads would be at a stand still with broken down beaters all over the place.

by NineInchNachos on 1/11/2010 @ 1:13pm
saw a car pushing a disabled van past 9th and Commerce today. No tow cable, just ramming the rear bumper. Now that's the private entrepreneurial spirit!

by Non Sequitur on 1/11/2010 @ 5:13pm
No way I'd ever pay for the link if they charged to ride a mere 1.6 miles. I'll walk that before I pay $2 to ride.
Now, if the the train actually went somewhere, I might pay to ride. If the fare is more than $1.50 and there are not transfers that are good for PT buses, forget it.
I'll walk or bike. Both of those are a hell of a lot better for Mother Earth than a train of any kind.

by Mofo from the Hood on 1/11/2010 @ 7:49pm
Here's one potential use for a Link stop & 11th & Commerce:
Sometimes I ride the #42 McKinley Ave bus or the #41 Portland Ave bus starting from the 10th & Commerce Transit Zone. Each bus leaves the zone within a few minutes of each other all day. Both buses trace the same route to the Tacoma Dome Station. On a few occasions I have missed by moments both buses at Commerce with the effect of missing a timely transfer at the 72nd Street Transit Center. That can cause a travel delay of nearly an hour.

But, if a new Link station at 11th & Commerce was timed to go to the Dome Station after the #41 & #42 buses headed out, then one could catch the Link and pass the two buses before their Dome Station stop---Jump off the Link at UWT, or even 25th ST or Freighthouse Square and then run one block down to either Puyallup Ave bus stop to catch the #41 or #42. (The Link option adds a little suspense and would be my recommendation to treat out-of-town guests or dignitaries.)

by tacoma1 on 1/12/2010 @ 7:55am
After rethinking this issue, and reviewing all of the comments regarding this proposed station, I now see that there is actually several valid transit benefits to it.

I still think that I'd rather see all efforts towards extending the line, but tweaking the line for better access isn't a bad idea afterall.


by drizell on 1/12/2010 @ 1:46pm
Fredo and Crenshaw: ready for a dose of reality? Those cars you drive, those roads you drive on, everything is subsidized by the government. So don't give me this bullshit that public transit is a big money pit when billions upon billions of dollars are spent on roadbuilding and road maintenance every year. The true cost of gasoline is about $4 less than its market cost. The cars you buy cost several thousand dollars less than what their market value. Why is this? Well, about 60 years ago, the government decided to change its priorities from developing dense, pedestrian-friendly cities to sprawling, auto-centric wastelands. It took transit funding and applied it toward developing automobile infrastructure. Since 1950, cars and transit have never been on a level playing field. If transit was given an equal amount of funding, it would be much more successful than it is now.

by L.S.Erhardt on 1/12/2010 @ 1:58pm
There is far more $$$ to be made in the current system than in one where mass transit is the 800 lb gorilla.

'nuff said.

by L.S.Erhardt on 1/12/2010 @ 1:59pm
Actually, that sounds like a tacomic idea...

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 1/12/2010 @ 2:01pm
drizell, you are preaching to the choir as far as I'm concerned. You are right, both fuel and roads are heavily subsidized by the government and transit doesn't get a fair shake in this country. I'm for more money going into transit and pronto. Perhaps there needs to be a hefty European style surtax on fuel to support the transit we need. I can see the roads infrastructure being necessary for commerce but for transporting people around I believe that transit is the way to go.

by fredo on 1/12/2010 @ 10:46pm
Drizell, the difference between subsidized oil and roadways for private automobiles and subsidized construction and operation of transit systems is this: If the subsidies went away tomorrow people would still drive their private automobiles. Transit systems would evaporate. A family of four taking pierce transit to the mall would pay $24 each way in a non-subsidized environment.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 1/13/2010 @ 12:36am
How many cars would we have on the road with $8.00 a gallon gas? How many cars would we have on the roads if there was a surcharge for the number of miles you drove each year? The states are already looking at taxing based on the number of miles you drive. The technology is almost there. How about the ever popular toll roads like they have back east? How would our drivers respond to paying by the mile to use certain roads?

by L.S.Erhardt on 1/13/2010 @ 1:18am
FYI, I am all in favor of heavy tolling. If the Seattle money pit... err, tunnel and the new 520 don't charge at least $7.50, the WA taxpayer is going to be ill-used. Like it or not, I-5, I-90 and I-405 really do need to be toll roads.

Back on topic...

Gas can be $14/gallon and people will still drive.
Why? Because for the great majority of people, driving is the only option. There is minimal bus service to the boonies, and there is NO train/streetcar/hovercraft service out there. If the bus fare went up to, say $8, it actually becomes cheaper for a family of 5 to cram into one of those weenie British cars and drive.

Look at Europe. The price of gas there is MUCH higher than here. In Oslo, the price per gallon flirts with $10. But yet, despite the significantly smaller area and population (per country), Europeans still drive. Granted, less than here at home (price+more people in less area=less driving).

If we had Europe-level gas prices, I'm quite certain we'll see gas guzzlers by the millions abandoned. People will just go and buy the most fuel-efficient car they can.
And Detroit, Tokyo and Berlin will respond and come up with increasingly fuel-efficient designs, eventually moving towards electric-only cars.

Sounds great, no? Hundreds of millions of hyper efficient and electric cars. Less pollution, less noise, less dependence on oil from countries that hate you and me for having been born in this country.

But who sees the paradox?

If we transition, regardless of the time it takes, to electric cars, the strain on the power grid will be unimaginable.
We're lucky in WA. We have so much cheap hydro... most states (esp in the midwest) have to rely on coal or diesel plants. But even 100 Grand Coulee dams won't be able to power all the vehicles in the US. According to the Census Bureau, in 2007 there were about 247,000,000 operating vehicles in the US.

See what I mean? Even a fleet of electric trains and streetcars in every city will drain tons of juice, and the grid can't handle it without MAJOR upgrades including transmission, distribution and generation. We'll need forests of windfarms, hundreds of Solar Towers in sunnier states, geothermal from the Cascades/Aleutians and a lot more nuclear plants.

It's all about energy, and no energy source is free nor environmentally neutral. Even if we built a Dyson Sphere, there would be long-term environmental effects other than just the materials needed to build it.

Mass transit will not ever be a success in the US of A (and any country that uses the same model of development) as long as we keep building and developing like we have been for the last 70 years. As long as there are suburbs and exburbs, in their current form, mass transit cannot work.
We need to change laws, zoning and our culture before mass transit can be a truly useful tool. Will $8/gallon gas cause the paradigm shift? Hard to say. Maybe $6 or maybe $17 will do it.
Thing is, we need to get this ball rolling before gas prices start going there. And mind you, eventually they will. It's a mathematical certainty.

I know I'll have to pay the over-two-paragraph tax, but my point is thus: We need to make a serious paradigm shift to get cars off the road. The equation is a whole lot bigger and more complex than just building a streetcar.

by fredo on 1/13/2010 @ 1:55am
Thorax, you've got a lot of threads going there but when you state that in the face of high gas prices "people will still drive" I think you arrived at a correct conclusion.

You mentioned the European experience as support for your position. I haven't been in Europe but I have visited third world countries. There gasoline is very expensive relative to the low wages. People ride 8-10 on a motorcycle with a sidecar. This makes me think people here will drive small cars absolutely packed with people.

by L.S.Erhardt on 1/13/2010 @ 2:02am
My mind wanders a lot in the wee hours. My posts reflect that.

You are correct on in your conclusion about cramming people into cars.
Since we have police departments desperate for revenue, I think we'll only be able to pack so many people in the micro-cars.
But you know, the price of the 3000 mile salad and such will skyrocket, so maybe there will be a few dozen or so pounds less of each of us to squeeze into the nano car.

by tacoma1 on 1/13/2010 @ 11:21am
Tax subsidies that are provided the car driver:

1) Toll free roads almost everywhere.
2) Gas at half the true cost (actually probably alot more).
3) Free parking in most of Tacoma (it's not actually free of course, we are paying for it in our taxes).
4) Cash for clunkers (2 or 3 billion, I forget the exact $).
5) Billions in bail out cash to the car manufacturers (who can't seem to make a profit even when the govt provides free roads and half price fuel for their product).
6) Sales tax is a tax deductible item on your personal taxes.

Societal costs of a car centric culture:
1) Promotes suburbs, which require cities to build more roads at huge costs to the tax payer
2) Promotes shopping malls and big box stores, which tend to destroy downtown cores (see DT Tacoma).
2) 40,000 traffic deaths per year Nationwide.
3) Promotes a sedentary lifestyle, which causes an increase in obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and a shorter life span.
4) Directly responsible for 50% of our air pollution and smog.
5) Noise pollution.
6) Our soldiers are put in harms way (and dying) protecting the oil supply from the middle east so we can have cheap gas.

And I probably forgot a few things.

by fredo on 1/13/2010 @ 12:36pm
"...And I probably forgot a few things" tacoma1

That's OK, there's enough made-up stuff on your list to make up for it.



by panachronic on 1/13/2010 @ 1:52pm
Ah, comedy gold...

"Tax subsidies that are provided the car driver:

1) Toll free roads almost everywhere."

Golly, how many times do you think we should pay for those roads? We've paid for them once, and I think that's enough.

"2) Gas at half the true cost (actually probably alot more)."

And just where do you propose that the other half is coming from? You're talking about a non-trivial amount of money here... I would think that whoever is paying it would notice.

"3) Free parking in most of Tacoma (it's not actually free of course, we are paying for it in our taxes)."

Well, right. We paid for the parking once... now the city wants to double-charge us. And that's supposed to be some sort of "social justice"?

"4) Cash for clunkers (2 or 3 billion, I forget the exact $)."

A one-time boondogle, foisted on us by a liberal Congress, that didn't work. It's not likely to be repeated, and thus it hardly seems worth carping about in this context.

"5) Billions in bail out cash to the car manufacturers (who can't seem to make a profit even when the govt provides free roads and half price fuel for their product)."

I'm having trouble seeing how this is some sort of subsidy to drivers. Or are the newly nationalized car companies giving away cars to taxpayers, and I just didn't get the memo?

"6) Sales tax is a tax deductible item on your personal taxes."

OK, but that's ALL sales tax... not just sales tax related to automobiles, right? And again... how is this a subsidy for drivers???

Dude, it's obvious that you don't like cars and people who use them. We get that. But you've gotta do better with your talking points if you expect to get any traction.

by tacoma1 on 1/13/2010 @ 2:57pm
1) As far as the toll free roads go, everyone is forced to pay for them, even if they don't use them, or use them very much. I think people should pay for what they use. Tolls would handle that, that's all.

2) A huge portion of our National defense budget goes directly to protecting our access and supply of oil. For that protection, oil producers should reimburse our Federal Govt and the Fed's should lower my taxes. Mobil and Exxon would of course be forced to raise the price of gas. That result would be revenue neutral nationally. And the end users would pay the correct cost for the product.

3) Actually, this one should've been easy for you. Fewer cars = fewer parking spots to pay for = lower taxes. People that don't use parking spots downtown, should'nt have to pay for parking spots downtown.

4) OK, I'll give you this one. It's not that big a deal....unless it happens again and again and again.

5) No billions to the car makers would have to mean that they have to charge more for the product. Therefore it is a incentive to the car driver. That should've been pretty simple too.

6) A tax break is a tax break.

And lastly, all my friends drive cars, I like them just fine. And I drive a car occaisionly, and I like me just fine. And as to cars...........well, I like them too, I just don't like the noise, the pollution, the waste of space, the waste of money, the needless tragic accidents.

by panachronic on 1/13/2010 @ 3:47pm
Heh. I love that last comment, which was basically "I'm not anti-car. Some of my best friends drive cars." In a different context, a statement like that is the standard (albeit misguided) defense against racism... one that is usually met with scorn and derision.

On to your six-pack of whoppers...

1) The gas tax is essentially a usage-driven user fee. Drive more - pay more. For all intends and purposes it IS a toll. I don't disagree that people should pay for what they use, I just don't happen to think they should be charged more than once.

Furthermore, even people who do not drive (or ride as passengers) draw immense benefits from roads. Therefore, it is only fair that those people pay a share as well.

2) OF COURSE our national defense is partially aimed at protecting oil supplies. Google: national interests. We all benefit from a stable, reliable source of oil - for driving, heating, and manufacturing. Even bicycles -- those not riding on hemp tires, and that were not delivered to your neighborhood bicycle shop by rickshaw, and that were not welded together in a coal-fired forge, that is -- are dependent on oil.

3) You've totally lost me here. I thought most of you FT folks were big downtown boosters? Doesn't a thriving, commercially viable downtown benefit all citizens? How are you going to have that without parking? And you still haven't explained why citizens should be double-charged for anything.

4) Agreed.

5) I'm pretty sure that the bailouts were done strictly to benefit the unions. I haven't seen or heard about any price breaks to consumers funded by tax dollars. There simply is no subsidy to complain about here.

6) Fine. That same tax break applies to TVs, washing machines, and bicycles. It's not a subsidy for cars in any meaningful way, any more than the tax deduction for medical costs is a subsidy for monkey wrench salesmen. The sales tax deduction exists to level the tax burden between states with an income tax and states without an income tax. It's driven by fairness. Don't you like fairness?

by tacoma1 on 1/13/2010 @ 3:56pm
So apparently we will have to agree to disagree on five points here.

Since you didn't mention them, I guess you must agree with the societal costs of car dependancy.

by panachronic on 1/13/2010 @ 5:06pm
"I guess you must agree with the societal costs of car dependancy."

Not at all. It's just too silly to spend any time on, that's all.

by L.S.Erhardt on 1/13/2010 @ 5:38pm
A good, lively debate.

Don't forget that a good portion of oil prices are directly tied to the fact that oil is priced in the Dollar, and also good old-fashioned speculation. Don't forget that the $147/bbl in 2008 was entirely due to speculation.

by panachronic on 1/13/2010 @ 5:54pm
Excellent point, TO'T. And as the inevitable inflation (due to the current fiscal insanity, in turn driven by the current liberal lunacy) sets in, the dollar will fall, making oil more expensive for Americans. This is, arguably, a subsidy that flows FROM automobile users to the various and sundry beneficiaries of government largess.

by L.S.Erhardt on 1/13/2010 @ 5:58pm
Actually, I'm bullish on the dollar.

by NineInchNachos on 1/28/2010 @ 9:27am
chis at tacoma tomorrow has a good write up..

"This would be the sixth stop along the 2.6-km (1.6-mile) route - reducing average stop distance from 520 meters to 430 meters (Or 1/3 mile to 1/4 mile). It would provide more convenient service to the Tacoma School of the Arts, the newly restored Pacific Plaza / Washington State Attorney General's Office, Restaurants on the Broadway Plaza, the Downtown Tacoma Post Office and other businesses in the International Financial Services Area. It would also leverage improvements the City is making to the pedestrian hill climb from Pacific Avenue to Broadway Plaza at S. 12th Street. Word has it that this stop addition is a prerequisite to attract a high end grocery store to Pacific Plaza as well."


tacomatomorrow.blogspot.com/2010/01/new-...

by tacoma1 on 1/28/2010 @ 10:11pm
NIN
Thanks for the heads up on Chris blog. I do like reading his stuff.

BTW, Chris, your blog is great, but........... What do I have to do to post on your blog directly?

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