Going to Boeing and beyond

Conceived in its simplest form, a light-rail system needs to move people from Point A to Point B.

And in our county, Point “B” stands for Boeing.

The advantages of routing commuter service directly to Boeing would include less highway congestion, reduced parking pressure around Paine Field and greater convenience for workers trying to reach their aerospace jobs.

If these are the sole criteria for expanding light rail northward, the alternative that was included in a Sound Transit presentation last week is a slam-dunk — the line should diverge from I-5 to deliver workers to the state’s largest manufacturing center.

We should recognize, however, this proposal places an overwhelming priority on getting people from King County and south Snohomish County to their jobs at Boeing and adjacent businesses.

A transit system needs to do more than just this. The broader goals of light rail should be to support regional plans for managed growth and to knit together the civic and economic futures of neighboring communities.

The Puget Sound Regional Council (realistically or not) anticipates a drastic increase in Everett’s overall population and downtown density over the next 11 years. How will this be remotely possible?

Foremost, the city needs to be more than a place that’s, you know, “up there north of Boeing.” It needs to be a desirable, accessible spot for people who want to travel north or south for housing, employment, shopping and recreation.

There is a practical reason for mapping the transit route to Boeing: Planners can increase ridership estimates and justify more development money — which is no small thing.

“We can’t go after funding for aspects of a transportation system if we don’t have the planning work ahead of it.” said Everett City Councilman Paul Roberts, who serves on the Sound Transit Board. “This is really opening the door to pursue those dollars.”

But as the massive project drags on and costs invariably swell, a temptation could arise to lower the bar and redefine the goal.

For Boeing, the challenge will only grow worse, as maxed-out parking spurs yet another (real or perceived) incentive to uproot.

“If they can’t add employees because they don’t have places for those employees to park, they’re going to take those jobs somewhere else,” said airport director Dave Waggoner.

The Snohomish County Council and other local leaders need to make sure Sound Transit hears a clear message: The benefits of light rail must stretch beyond Boeing.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Opinion

Editorial cartoons for Wednesday, Feb. 21

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Jaime Benedict, who works as a substitute teacher, waves to drivers on the corner of Mukilteo Speedway and Harbor Pointe Boulevard while holding a sign in support of the $240 million capital bond proposal for Mukilteo School District on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020 in Mukilteo, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Editorial: Bar set unfairly high for passage of school bonds

Requiring 60 percent approval denies too many students the schools and facilities they deserve.

Comment: Fraud decision will do real damage to Trump’s empire

A “complete lack of contrition and remorse” will cost Trump $500 million and control of his business.

Story on Marysville property tax lacked necessary context

I am writing to address the recent headline in The Herald regarding… Continue reading

Fear not, Snohomish’s GroundFrog Day is not on its last frog legs

I am very disappointed to read that Snohomish is ending its annual… Continue reading

‘Good guys with guns’ isn’t working

“The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is… Continue reading

Parties need a talk with their apparent and aging leaders

Unless something unforeseen happens, it looks like we may be stuck with… Continue reading

Editorial cartoons for Tuesday, Feb. 20

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

A leasing sign in visible outside of A’cappella Apartment Homes on Wednesday, March 1, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Editorial: Cap on rent can keep more people in their homes

The legislation balances affordability with the need to encourage growth in the stock of housing.

Election signs line a section of Mukilteo Blvd. in Everett. (Sue Misao / Everett Herald)
Editorial: Switch of local elections may be premature

Adding local elections to even-year ballots could boost participation but election officials have concerns.

"Law & Order" cast members (from left) S. Epatha Merkerson, Jeremy Sisto and Anthony Anderson are shown with episode director Marisol Torres on the show's set in New York, in April 2008. (Bernadette Tuazon / Associated Press file photo)
Editorial: Leave the interrogation ruses to the TV cop shows

A House bill would limit the use of deceptive interrogations that have resulted in wrongful convictions.

Reject Trump to protect democracy

It is beyond doubt that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee… Continue reading

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.