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Greenhouse gases in the US come from all sorts of things - agriculture, energy generation and transportation are three of the biggest contributors. Many of the things people can do to help fit into two categories - too small, or too hard. I understand this, I've tried all of the little steps, and even some of the big ones, to reduce my personal emissions, but I've found a way that I think is both easy and effective.

This year in Seattle, you can get more bang for your buck than a carbon credit. We have a great, comprehensive, all-transit transportation package on the ballot. This package alone could reduce car commuting dramatically - it hits three huge employment centers dead center with extensions to our new light rail system, adds trains to our packed commuter rail, and expands our express bus system to run more often where the buses are overcrowded today. Each of these three expansions reduces our footprint.

So what is this, other than an advertisement for a ballot measure that probably isn't where you live? I know if you're in Boston, Chicago, or SF, you already know mass transit works. If you're in Punxsutawney, PA, or Ephrata, WA, you might not need mass transit - but you can still help, because the climate doesn't really care where greenhouse gases come from.

This is an example. Seattle's needed mass transit for forty years, and there are a lot of other cities in the US in the same position. We have a great ballot measure that will help us meet our climate goals not only through reduced emissions of each trip taken, but also because mass transit promotes compact, walkable communities - where more trips are taken on foot and by bike, and more density creates higher efficiency.

This is exactly the kind of investment that creates local jobs. When FDR created the New Deal, he knew that infrastructure projects have a double benefit - not only do they provide economic relief immediately through skilled labor, but they also pay for themselves in economic growth. Here in Seattle, most of our electricity also comes from renewable sources, so electric rail really makes an impact. When our investment in our economy also helps move us off of oil and toward a more sustainable future, it's exactly what we need right now.

We've been endorsed by the Cascade chapter of the Sierra Club, as well as Washington Conservation Voters, the Cascade Bicycle Club, and other environmental groups. On the flipside, Microsoft has gotten behind us as we'll serve their main campus, as well as many of the Seattle Democratic LDs and Democratic leaders. You can see our current endorsements here, and you can even add your own!

So what can you do? First and foremost, I'm here to answer questions about the project. I linked to the campaign above (which I am a part of, I work on the website), and I'm hoping that people here can help me spread the word locally that this is a great package to vote for. We're also looking for money, of course. But most importantly, if you live in Seattle or know someone in Seattle, we're looking for votes. This is going to be a close race - there's a lot of money from suburban developers fighting this.

What can I do to bring you into the fold?

Thanks for reading,
Ben Schiendelman

Originally posted to Bensch on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 11:28 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  tickets, please... (6+ / 0-)

    I mean tips, if you want to leave 'em!

    Seattle Transit Blog

    by Bensch on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 11:31:22 AM PDT

  •  Funding (0+ / 0-)

    Is there anything creative about the funding that would be good to know for other cities?

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 11:35:47 AM PDT

    •  It's really basic. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Sales tax increase - yes, somewhat regressive, but the transit agency doesn't get a choice, because it's up to state law what a local agency gets to use (or even ask for).

      We do compete for federal dollars. On the $4 billion or so of the first two lines (one nearly complete, the other just about to start construction), we've gotten about $1.3 billion from the federal transit administration. Your city can qualify for new starts and small starts grants (depending on whether you're going for subway/lrt or streetcar).

      We use thirty year bonds for some of construction, and just save for the rest, so we aren't too reliant on bonds. Same kind of thing as a mortgage, though - very stable, very simple.

      I wish we had something creative! Oregon puts state money into Portland's MAX... we don't get any.

      Seattle Transit Blog

      by Bensch on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 11:43:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You know I'm on board (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bensch, Losty

    Good work on the website!  Lets get Prop 1 passed...

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