About that 25-year wait for light rail …

  • By Doug Parry
  • Thursday, April 14, 2016 2:02pm
  • Local News

Did you hear about Breakthrough Starshot?

It’s a plan hatched by a Russian billionaire to send tiny probes to Alpha Centauri to search for intelligent life. The probes would travel an astonishing 25 trillion miles in about 20 years.

Thus, based on current projections, human technology could reach another solar system before light rail reaches downtown Everett.

The draft plan for Sound Transit 3, which will go before voters in November, calls for light rail to extend to downtown Everett in 2041. Yes, your math is right. That’s 25 years away.

A baby girl born today could grow up, graduate from college, spend a year following some band on tour, and spend another year lying around the house disappointing her parents before she could ride the completed light rail. Twenty-five years is a long time.

Who knows? We might not even drive at all in 2041. Our roads could be ruled by autonomous cars that zip around more efficiently once drivers are removed from the equation. Or we could be flying around on our hovercrafts by then. Twenty-five years is a long time.

Can Sound Transit sell us on waiting? Ridership has surged since the newest stations opened in Seattle, and officials are undoubtedly banking on enthusiasm to help carry the day in November. Trains are scheduled to reach Lynnwood by 2023, which is at least within the foreseeable future.

But 25 years is a long time, and Sound Transit is going to need Snohomish County’s support. If our latest poll at HeraldNet.com is any indication, it’ll either need to change its plans or change some minds. When we asked whether you’d vote for the plan, 51 percent said no, only 15 percent said yes, and the remainder said “only if it can get to Everett sooner.”

Maybe light rail can’t grow at light speed, but it’d be nice if it wasn’t light years away.

— Doug Parry, parryracer@gmail.com; @parryracer

About that trip to Alpha Centauri … For our next poll, we’d like to know if you think it’s a good idea.

Talk to us

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