Vote for I-976 | Letter

I urge you to vote for Initiative 976.

We don’t need trains everywhere — just between densely populated areas and commuting routes. Train routes cost too much to find/acquire. The tracks and stations are too costly. The trains cannot be re-routed or repaired after our earthquake. Replacement as they age will be too costly.

We already have a well-functioning bus system. Buses can be replaced individually as they age. They can be rerouted onto whatever roads are still drivable. Buses can be integrated into our school bus system.

How to pay for trains? Riders should pay a greater share. Currently, subsidy per boarding is greater than 75 percent of the ride ($4-5). For every ride, 75 percent is being paid by someone other than the rider. Would it be too much to ask users to pay what the ride costs? Instead let’s shift the cost to property owners and car owners? Let’s pretend that’s fair.

If we’re going to tax property to fund transportation — well, fair would be that property owners paid more as the ability to use the system got closer to them. Why should a Kirkland resident pay the same tax for a Seattle train as a Seattle resident? No train to Kirkland until 2041. So, I’ll pay a tax for 20 years for a system that does not serve me? For years after also.

Then, let’s add another tax onto the vehicle license? My family has purchased two vehicles in the last several years. In year two, our license tabs were substantially more than when the cars were new. Usually cars lose value after purchase.

Well, if I am required to pay tax on roughly $4,000 of value I don’t have, wouldn’t it be fair for everyone to pay that as well? Even those to don’t own a car.

Roger Stone