(In regard to a potential commuter rail line along the BNSF corridor) I would like to advocate for the “none of the above” option; not one more cent for either roads or transit until we have a comprehensive mathematical model of all the local trip destinations and origins, of all the people, freight and parcel. The model must include all factors, such as time of day, etc., and the supply/demand curve for what people are willing to pay. And, it must incorporate society’s goals for less fuel, less CO2, greater safety, less wasted time, etc.
All those things can be expressed mathematically, and the Puget Sound Regional Council and transportation industry know it. But these transportation decisions are being made on the basis of power politics instead of a fair competition between transportation choices, based on empirical data.
The power groups don’t even want to admit an algebraic equation exists. Because, when you crank the handle, the decision will come out favoring a particular design. The cost of land-use decisions among residential areas and distant downtowns, shopping malls or aircraft plants would be exposed. The waste of empty buses, empty trucks and taxis, and a postal monopoly would be exposed. The waste of time would be exposed.
This region has thousands of engineers who could design a marvelous transportation system — if it’s designed on a scientific basis instead of pressure groups like the construction industry, transit bureaucrats, auto industry and the people in Houghton (Eastside Trail Advocates), Medina, and Montlake.
The higher-order policy decision is: How will the human race make its design decisions — by power politics or by principles.
~Todd Boyle, Kirkland