Politics tends to be rife with contradiction, though one usually tries to avoid drawing attention to it. But standing in the sun outside the Beacon Hill light rail station, Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Councilmember Larry Phillips did just that.
We're building more transportation infrastructure! Wait... no... we're cutting it.
McGinn started off a press conference announcing his "Walk Bike Ride" initiative by saying we need to expand bike paths, sidewalks and bus service. He offered no specifics for how city money will be spent to improve or expand non-vehicular transportation saying that will be decided in the coming months with public input (more community meetings!) "It's premature to really talk about the budget," he added.
That McGinn wants more money to go to lining streets with bus and bike lanes isn't surprising, but what happened next at the podium was a little odd. Larry Phillips followed the mayor and promptly said that thanks to smaller-than-expected sales tax revenue, King County Metro will have to cut 600,000 hours of bus service between now and 2015.Explaining why they were saying seemingly opposite things at the same press conference, Phillips said later that the intention of the joint event was to show that the county and city are working together to both fix our problems now and expand options to avoid driving in the future.
So how exactly will we not only stop cuts to our most-used public transportation service, but actually launch new projects like adding bike lanes or sidewalks or even light rail to West Seattle? Get the state to give us money for it, of course!
Both McGinn and Phillips talked about the need to "go to Oympia" to get support for non-vehicular transportation. "We literally have billions and billions today going into new highway facilities," McGinn said, "which will be tolled."
If we're going to ask the legislature for more cash to send trains zinging around the city and build bike paths on every major arterial, McGinn might want to stop picking fights with those same law makers over the tunnel and the planned 520 replacement - something the above quote is a clear shot at. Just a thought.