Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Other sucky stuff

Now that they have effectively raised property taxes, they are milking more money out of me on top of that. The state legislature passed some fun tax bills. First, they repealed an initiative of the people which required a 2/3 vote of approval for all tax increases. Then they passed a 9.5 cent increase in the gas tax over the next 3 years. As of July 1 of this year, we will now have the second highest gas tax in the country, thirty-one cents on the state level, just a single cent behind New York. This will be remedied on January 1, 2006 when another 3 cent increase will take effect, giving us the highest gas tax in the country. I probably wouldn’t be complaining much if we had the best roads in the country, but there are places on the freeway where it isn’t safe to go the posted speed limit because the roads are about 10 years overdue for being resurfaced. 
The officials say that they need the tax money to fund such projects as their new light rail system. I have a serious problem with their current system; it doesn’t take people from where they are, to where they want to go. The current trains can take people from Everett to Seattle (about 30 miles) in an hour, with 2 stops in between. The budget analysis was just published in the paper; they spent $393 million on this system. The worst part about it is that there are about 160 people that ride the train on a daily basis. THAT COMES OUT TO $2.46 MILLION PER RIDER! Oh and the operating cost? It costs more than $300 per passenger in daily operating expenses to keep the two trains moving. If they are so hell-bent on taking 160 cars off of the road, they should buy these people small helicopters and train them how to use them, they would be saving tens of millions of dollars.
What is the official response to the low ridership? The idiots in charge are going to add another 400 passenger train to the existing two so that it is more convenient for those riding to have a slightly more flexible departure schedule. I’m guessing that that will only increase the operating costs 50% or so, but probably won’t increase the number of riders much. Someone seriously needs to look into this and consider filing criminal charges against those responsible.
The biggest problem is that Seattle residents aren’t fans of public transportation. The current system doesn’t take people from where they live or work to where they need to go. I could take the bus to school everyday instead of the 45 minutes I spend driving there, but it would require 2 transfers, waiting for the next buses to come, and it would take a little over 2 hours each way to get from my house to school. I don’t have an extra 2.5 hours every day to travel to and from school. I took a while on this post, which I don’t usually do, but I can submit it as a rough draft for an events paper I have in English class, so I’m technically doing homework at the moment. But I’ll post more later if I feel like it, whether or not you want to read it.


The Shadow Walker said...

All I have to say is this:

"Cascade County or Death!!!"

Neemund said...

I'm not sure how Cascade County can help us with statewide problems. But I'm still moving to Florida where the average person is almost sane.

Rabenstrange said...

It's Idaho for me. Or maybe Montana or Wyoming.