Tag Archives: election ’08

Out with the old…

Bus Nerd spotted this bus shelter being towed right past our kitchen window:

Bye bye, bus shelter!

I assume it’s off to be cleaned, etc. (hope they left a note this time), but I liked the metaphor. And speaking of…

I’ve spent the last week celebrating a couple of major milestones: the results of the election (buses and stations and trains–oh my!) and Chicklet’s birthday (Nerd’s dad and my Gail were in town to celebrate with my Seattle fam). After seven full days of basking, I’m back and ready to return to my regularly scheduled programming.

I’m a bus chick and I vote, part II

Despite the fact that global warming, energy issues, and the economy are top-of-mind for most voters (the last day for online/mail-in registration is tomorrow, by the way), there’s been precious little talk about public transit in this election. Odds are, it won’t come up in either of the remaining debates, and that’s a shame–especially since campaign coverage focuses more on the “horse race” than on the candidates’ records and ideas.

Thankfully, the Brookings Institution has published a comparison of McCain’s and Obama’s transportation philosophies/policies. It covers, among other things, congestion pricing, the gas tax “holiday,” public transit incentives, and smart growth.

If you want more, Obama has a transportation white paper on his website. Some excerpts:

On transit funding:

Barack Obama and Joe Biden will re-commit federal resources to public mass transportation projects across the country. Obama and Biden will work with state and local governments across the country on efforts to create new, effective public transportation systems and modernize our aging urban public transit infrastructure.

On transit incentives:

The federal tax code rewards driving to work by allowing employers to provide parking benefits of $205 per month tax free to their employees. The tax code provides employers with commuting benefits for transit, carpooling or vanpooling capped at $105 per month. This gives drivers a nearly 2:1 advantage over transit users. Obama and Biden will reform the tax code to make benefits for driving and public transit or ridesharing equal.

On smart growth:

Our communities will better serve all of their residents if we are able to leave our cars, to walk, bicycle, and have access to other transportation alternatives. As president, Barack Obama will re-evaluate the transportation funding process to endure that smart growth considerations are taken into account.

Obama’s site also has a Public Transit/Mass Transit online group.

There’s no mention of transit (that I can find, anyway) on McCain’s site, and (unlike Obama), I’ve never heard him mention the issue in a speech. I could make assumptions–based on his Amtrak position and his general world view–but I’d rather have facts. Anyone got any?

I’ve been meaning to tell you about…

• State funding for more buses during viaduct construction
Record Metro ridership this summer (not such a big surprise, but worth noting)
No more Seahawks shuttle service

Sorry for not keeping you guys up to date on this stuff. I’d like to say I’ve been too busy to post, but the truth is, I’ve been completely obsessed with the upcoming election–both Prop 1 and the presidential stuff (OK, mostly the presidential stuff). I can’t stop thinking and reading about it; it’s even interfering with my sleep.

May I have my ballot now, please?

Obama talks transit

In my last post, I complained that I had not heard any of the presidential candidates mention public transportation as part of the solution to climate change–or, for that matter, at all. As one reader pointed out, Obama did, indeed, talk about transit (and other alternatives to driving) at his rally in Portland last month.

Here’s the quote:

If we are going to solve our energy problems we have to think long term. It’s time to be serious about investing in alternative energy. It’s time to be serious about raising fuel efficiency standards in our cars. It’s time for our entire country to learn from what’s happening right here in Portland with mass transit and bicycle lanes and funding alternative means of transportation. That’s the kind of solution we need for America…

And here’s the video clip.

Well, how about that! (Hey, I may be late to the party, but I can still have a good time.) Here’s hoping we see more discussion of this issue–outside of alt-transpo havens like Portland–during the general election.

Bus to caucus

On Saturday, like many of our fellow Washingtonians, Bus Nerd and I attended our first caucus. It was Chicklet’s first caucus, too, but of course, pretty much everything she does is a first for her. I digress.

The caucus was held at T.T. Minor elementary, so we took the 48 (also known as my ride to everywhere) down to Union and walked the rest of the way there. (Note that we could have taken the 2 up the hill, had we been inclined to wait–or disinclined to walk.) The place was packed–with 100 people showing up just for our precinct, which is only one out of many in the district. I’m guessing there were a thousand people there.

I’ll spare you the details of the complete and utter chaos that ensued (we did manage to tally votes and elect delegates)–and my thoughts about how silly our electoral process is–and skip to the part about the bus: At least 10 people we had ridden the 48 with that afternoon participated in our precinct caucus, as well as many more people we had seen on buses around the neighborhood. We’d suspected our nearest neighbor of being a bus chick (more on the telltale signs in a future post), and it turns out we were right; she took the 48 to the caucus, too. One strikingly attractive middle-aged woman I’ve been seeing on the 27 for years (and sometimes on the 48, riding with a little boy I assume is her grandson), and on whom I have a little bus crush, was chosen to be one of our delegates. Now, I finally know her name, and I have an excuse to say hey (He-ey Georgiana!) if (when) I see her on a bus in the future.

Score one for the political process.