Morning Fizz

Sound Transit Ridership Spikes During Viaduct Closure

Sound Transit polling and ridership numbers, Jayapal fundraising numbers, and Macri council endorsements.

By Josh Feit May 6, 2016

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 1. The Sound Transit board got results back from their latest polling and found support for expanding light rail hovering above 60 percent both in general (at 65 percent) and still after voters heard about the $200 per person per year ST3 costs (with support remaining at 63 percent.)

The polling broke the numbers down by sub-regions and found the strongest support in North King County (Seattle) and East King County (the Microsoft suburbs)—at around 70 percent. In the other three sub regions—Snohomish County, Pierce County, and South King County—support was at 60 percent, or in the case of South King, at 57 percent. The strongest opposition to the project—at 40 percent—was in Pierce, though.

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The polling found that what irked voters more than cost was the lengthy timeline. Support fell to 59 percent overall when voters learned that ST3 expansion wouldn’t come on line for another 25 years.

“The timeline is where most of the concern is happening,” EMC pollster Ian Stewart told the board.

2. Another piece of news at yesterday’s board meeting: Current ST ridership has blown up during the Alaskan Way Viaduct closure.

Ridership had gone from about 35,000 per weekday to a high-50,000s average since light rail expanded to Husky Stadium (going through Capitol Hill) in March; a 66 percent increase. But now,  Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff said yesterday, ridership had “spiked north of 83,000” riders a day on the first day of the viaduct closure.

Rogoff called this “big spike up” a “notable change in commuting patterns.” He said ST had added three trains.

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3. The next fundraising reports in the U.S. congressional race to replace retiring U.S. representative Jim McDermott (D-WA, 7) aren’t due for a couple of months, but state senator Pramila Jayapal (D-37, Southeast Seattle) is boasting about a big haul heading after April.

Neck and neck with her opponent state representative Brady Walkinshaw (D-43, Capitol Hill) at around $440,000 raised at the last official report (Walkinshaw since December and Jayapal since late January): Jayapal says she’s raised another $320,000 in one month. “That’s more in the month of April,” she says, “than either of my opponents raised in the entire first quarter. Hardly tied anymore.”

Significantly, Jayapal reports that 97 percent of all donors are small contributors—at below $100.

4. In some other campaign trail boasting: state representative candidate Nicole Macri—the Downtown Services Emergency Center staffer who’s running for Walkinshaw’s open seat in the 43rd state legislative district—added a sixth Seattle city council member to her list of endorsers last week.

Tim Burgess, Sally Bagshaw, Lisa Herbold, Debora Juarez, Mike O’Brien, and now Rob Johnson have all endorsed Macri—a solid sample of the moderate to super progressive members on the council. Former city council member Nick Licata has also endorsed Macri, whose role as a longtime advocate for the homeless is politically germane right now.

5. In case you missed yesterday's Jolt: While GOP U.S. senate candidate Chris Vance announced yesterday that he doesn't support presumptive GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump—Vance's consultant is a Trump delegate and enthusiastic Trump staffer.

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