Regarding the letter “Those who use rail should pay for upgrades”: The writer seems to fully favor a “pay per use” type of system for public services. I would like to look at other services this kind of system could provide.
Public safety: I have never used nor do I plan to use the publicly funded fire department, so I would like my portion of the property taxes I have paid to be refunded to me. I would like to only pay for the services of law enforcement as I need them. It would likely be much easier to pay a couple hundred dollars whenever I need to call them on loud and obnoxious neighbors having a pre-Fourth of July party. That would be so much better than having them sitting around just sucking up tax dollars.
Public transportation: Since I have never taken a bus or train in my life, why not give me all these years of taxes back? I am sure the poor that rely on these services are more than willing to pay more for the privilege of riding the bus. There is no way that could ever cause an issue, unless one frequents a business whose employees use public transportation as their sole means of getting to and from work.
Can I stop paying for roads and infrastructure in areas I will never visit? It is highly unlikely I will ever make it to Pasco, so I should not have to pay to keep their roads intact. If I ever do go there, I will just complain about how these places never keep their roads in good condition.
Sarcasm aside, I agree that some of the bill for the upgrades to commercially used infrastructure should be paid in part by the industries that use them. Which it is, via taxation and corporate fees.
The writer seems to believe that only users of the service should have to pay for them. To that I say: If you yield a benefit from these services then you are using them. In the case of Seattle and public transportation, I am sure that there are far less cars on the road due to heavy use of the bus and train system and therefore reducing traffic congestion. I would certainly call that a benefit.
The idea of pay-for-use is a bad libertarian concept and needs to be stamped out as it is detrimental to a civilized and productive society.