TimestampCandidate NameEmail Address1. What is your transportation vision for the City of Seattle in 20 years? 50 years? 2. What will you do to make this vision happen in the next term in office? What would you seek from our Federal, State, and Regional partners to realize that vision? 3. What is the greatest threat to Seattle’s transit system, and what will you do to address it?4. Do you support Seattle Subway’s vision map for the future of light rail in the greater Seattle region?Explanation (optional)5. Do you support Seattle updating its Seattle Transit Master Plan to codify a citywide exclusive-right-of-way light rail plan by the end of 2022?Explanation (optional)6. Will you ensure that Sound Transit and the County work with the City of Seattle to ensure ST3 is built for future expansion?Explanation (optional)7. Do you support the City of Seattle lobbying the state legislature to give Seattle the power to fund more exclusive-right-of-way light rail by itself?Explanation (optional)8. Should the County assist with funding future Light Rail network expansion and improvements to the ST3 plan? Explanation (optional)9. Do you support the expedited construction of Link light rail stations at Graham St & 130th St?Explanation (optional)10. Do you support the Seattle Center City Connector Streetcar?Explanation (optional)11. What will you do to protect and expand transit funding in light of the recession induced by COVID-19 and the fall in transit revenues? 12. What will you do to ensure transit improvements are implemented equitably across King County?
6/25/2021 10:12:52Joe Nguyen
We have to devote substantial resources to increasing the efficiency of mass transit, because too many working people in King County still have commutes similar to mine growing up. When I was 15, my second job was at the IMAX on the waterfront. Getting there would have taken me 15 minutes by car, but since my family couldn’t afford one for me, I spent an hour and a half commuting by bus. Two decades later, there are still too many people who don’t have access to reliable public transit options in King County. These are a few key proposals I’d work to implement if elected: 1. Work to accelerate the expansion of Sound Transit to make sustainable commuting options available to as many people as possible, as soon as possible. 2. Make the sustainable choice the right economic choice for working families by providing free transit for all like we’ve done throughout the pandemic. 3. Expand public transit options to underserved communities isolated from economic and educational opportunities due to a lack of transportation. This means more routes, more buses on those routes, and more community input from underserved communities on where buses and stops need to go to serve them better. 4. Streamline service across agencies that manage our transit systems to make commutes that require multiple modes of transit more efficient so that working people can spend less time in traffic and more time where they want to be.
I will act with the urgency I’ve shown in the state legislature in passing long overdue progressive priorities like the capital gains tax, police reform, and additional funding for anti-poverty programs like TANF. Achieving an equitable, accessible, and efficient transportation system will require exploring additional options for local progressive revenue like a county-wide wealth tax on the super-wealthy. I’ll also leverage my relationships in the state legislature and work with our federal partners to secure additional funding to allow continued expansion of King County Metro service while also eliminating fares, which currently only make up about 15% of Metro revenue.
The greatest threat to Seattle’s transit system is the impulse to resort to austerity budgets as we saw current leadership implement during the Great Recession. We know now that the fastest way out ( of an economic downturn is to invest in people, and ensuring robust transit service to make sure people can easily and affordably get to educational and economic opportunities is critical to our recovery. I’ll reject calls for austerity as I’ve done in the state legislature and make certain the County continues to provide safe and reliable transit service to everyone who depends on it.
While I support expedited construction of light rail generally, Sound Transit must work with community organizations concerned about displacement and disruption to small businesses with deep roots in these communities during construction to ensure the existing residents of these communities get the benefit of economic development instead of being pushed out of their homes by it.
I’ll staunchly reject failed policies of austerity and lead the country on investing our way out of the economic fallout from the pandemic. Transit is critical infrastructure for our economic recovery, with expansion efforts creating family-wage jobs and reliable service connecting people to educational and employment opportunities. By transitioning Metro’s funding streams away from reliance on fares, not only can we create a more equitable transit system, we can insulate Metro’s budget from future recessions or short-term public health-driven declines in ridership.
I know what it’s like to have to depend on public transit in the County, and to be frank, it's often not pretty. Long commutes, disconnected services, and the lack of safe and efficient multi-modal options force our communities into car reliance. As leadership, we have to invest in our public transit systems in a way that will incentivize our population to use it.
I will work to accelerate the expansion of Sound Transit to make sustainable commuting options available to as many people as possible, as soon as possible. I’ll strive to make the sustainable choice the right economic choice for working families by providing free transit for all like we’ve done throughout the pandemic. I’ll work to expand public transit options to underserved communities isolated from economic and educational opportunities due to a lack of transportation. I’ll also work to streamline service across agencies that manage our transit systems to make commutes that require multiple modes of transit more efficient.
6/28/2021 17:35:30Dow Constantine
Over the past decade I have been the region’s strongest, most passionate, and most effective leader for transit expansion and access, replacing millions of auto-dependent trips with clean, affordable light rail and buses. Under my leadership, King County Metro ridership grew while other systems nationally were shrinking, and in 2018 we were ranked the best large transit system in North America. Folks choose public transit when it is reliable, accessible, and affordable. So, I’ve made all of those priorities, adding millions of hours of service, focusing on new routes and last-mile supports, and introducing the ORCA LIFT reduced fare program, which has won national recognition and been used for over 5 million boardings. As Board Chair of Sound Transit, I led the creation of the $54 billion investment for Sound Transit 3, which will add 62 miles of light rail, as well as new bus and commuter rail service. This is about more than Seattle, and more than King County. It is about our metropolitan region - Central Puget Sound. Clearly this region is going to grow. We have a wonderful quality of life that is attractive to many, and a strong, diversified business base. So we need to plan for a future that matches that growth, and channels that growth in the most productive and sustainable ways. I believe we need to keep our commitments to what the voters have approved, and continue putting transit investments on the ballot. I am working hard on the Sound Transit board to make sure the agency makes wise decisions. As to the 20 year, 50 year question, it is clear that more people are coming. We need to plan for a clean, green, smart future where we really focus on transit and development working together to provide equitable and robust responses to growth. The transportation infrastructure in which we invest determines, more thank anything else, the way we will grow, and the way we will live. We need to make smart and informed decisions as we move forward in a rapidly changing world. We need strong transit connections with Metro and Sound Transit working together to ensure we are building rail and giving as many people as possible close access to frequent transit options. I was the first elected official to call for us to create Sound Transit 3, and I led the work from the beginning - through legislative authorization, planning, and the successful campaign. I will, obviously, continue to fight for high capacity transit.
I have always been a proactive coalition leader, building trust with partners, and sometimes having to show some muscle. As Executive, I signed an executive order requiring King County Metro to partner with Sound Transit so we could integrate our services, share data, and plan together for the future of our region. The relationships I’ve built with our federal, state, and local partners have helped us secure billions in grants and loans, and my leadership as Chair of Sound Transit led to the biggest infrastructure proposal the Puget Sound region has ever seen (ST3). This initiative was passed by the voters, but it wasn’t just put on the ballot and expected to pass. I personally fundraised and campaigned more than any other individual for Sound Transit 3. It is perhaps my proudest accomplishment, and I continue to advocate strongly on the board to make sure we stay true to that vision. Our state government needs to step up and support transit in a meaningful way. We rank poorly in state support of transit. I will continue to advocate for more transit funding on a state level. This is a time where we need to work with the Biden-Harris Administration to commit to a national investment in transit infrastructure, and the Puget Sound region should be at the forefront. I continue to work with federal, state, and regional leaders to seek more funding for transit. As a Sound Transit board member I have been a strong leader in pushing for accountability and for smart planning. In our dense urban areas we should be looking ahead and using the right alignments and technology to facilitate positive urban development.
The Seattle metro region has so much potential for an excellent transit system. Some of the biggest challenges I’m working on are sustainable funding, creating equitable transit-oriented development so folks can live conveniently close to transit, and the race against the clock as we continue increasing in population and transit needs. I have shown I will continue to aggressively champion transit funding at all levels (county, regional, state, and federal), invest in transit-oriented-developments, and advocate to keep moving forward with transit investments without delays.
I appreciate Seattle Subway for putting out a bold vision for what the future of high capacity transit could be in the central Puget Sound region. I also think that tunneling - that is to say, an actual subway - continues to get short shrift in transit planning circles. The more of it we do, and the more the benefits are factored in, the more economical it will become relative to other options.
These are decisions that will affect transit and land use for centuries to come. We need to ensure we build light rail that will stand the test of time. I am a strong supporter of tunnels in the West Seattle Junction and Ballard that ensure good development around station areas.
Every level of government should pitch in where they can to keep ST3 going. For example, the county may be able to lend bonding capacity to Sound Transit to build important regional assets like a second downtown transit tunnel.
The need and demand for exclusive right of way transit in Seattle is going to be stronger than regional needs.
As King County Executive I have consistently offered and supported county support for ST3 and light rail expansion. As chair of the Sound Transit Board and King County Executive I led the passage of legislation to ensure the two agencies work together to deliver mobility for all. The City of Seattle is a trusted partner in these efforts.
Graham St is a social justice issue. It is unacceptable to have such a long gap between stations in the Rainier Valley. I believe the case for early opening of the station at 130th is important. The length between the stations at Northgate and 148th is unacceptable for a dense urban city. During the realignment discussions at the Sound Transit Board I have strongly advocated for these infill stations and the one at Boeing Access Road to be early deliverables.
We need to connect the existing streetcars so that it is one system. First Avenue is a regional asset with many popular destinations and most transit is concentrated on Second, Third, and Fourth.
Delays and postponements when we still don’t have the full picture of what our shortfall or new funding options are is taking the easy way out. We shouldn’t be postponing anything, we should be forging ahead and fighting for funding. The Board is scheduled to meet in July about realignments, and I, along with other members, are going to be fighting any delays. ST3 is critical to the economic future of our region, and those needs have only deepened since COVID, so we need to find ways to deliver on the promised expansions. State support is going to be critical, and we continue to ask the Legislature for investments. The CEO of Sound Transit has also been meeting with the White House to advocate for funding from the new infrastructure package.
During my time on the board of Sound Transit I have pushed for racial, economic, and geographic equity to be considerations in our choices of line expansions, service hours, and fares. When considering where they build, Sound Transit now considers what would enhance mobility, create opportunities for equitable development, avoid displacement, and involve local communities of color and low-income populations in the decision-making process for the projects. One of my favorite things to see at local festivals is the Sound Transit outreach staff with booths and boards, asking folks to give their input on what placements would be most useful to them in their commute. When selecting station priorities, they now consider equity, not just ridership numbers. Part of ensuring equitable transit improvements across the county is bringing geographically diverse voices to the table. I have appointed electeds who live in and represent areas across King County, including Auburn, Redmond, Seattle, Kenmore, Renton, Des Moines, Issaquah, Bellevue, and Federal Way.