Monthly Archives: November 2008

Light Rail Riding High in Recession

Judging from Tuesday’s voting, you’d never know we’re in our worst economic since the Depression.  Seattle-area voters approved $17.9 billion to expand light rail, commuter rail and bus service. California voters approved $10 billion to partially fund a bullet train. And Honolulu voters approved a $5 billion elevated light rail line. All three of those are pretty jammed-up places.

Sound Transit’s proposition was soundly defeated last time, when the economy was better. This time it won pretty easily.

Light rail will be extended to Lynnwood, Federal Way and near Microsoft. Four Sounder trains will be added between Seattle and destinations south. And express-bus service will be added.

So far, nothing’s planned for this side of the water and they’re not getting any of our money.

Good Deal on Semen Storage

Got an e-mail from California Cryobank this week. They’ve got a Veterans Day special going. They’re extending their semen storage program for war-bound soldiers for another year. They offer a discounted program to military men who wish to store semen before deploying and a post-mortem retrieval program that allows for semen retrieval withing 48 hours of death.

This way, soldiers can still father children after they die. Our military doesn’t offer this service, according to the release, but many others around the world do, free of charge.

This makes some sense, I guess, but it seems kind of gruesome. It’s not so weird when it’s used for somebody whose injuries render them sterile, but they’re still alive to be a father.

The program is being expanded to first responders — firemen, policemen, paramedics and emergency medical technicians.

The military and first responders get one year of free semen storage and half off their standard service fees. The cost winds up being $325.75. There are two offices in California and one in Massachusetts.

Island Home ferry bid opening put off

I had it on my calendar that Washington State Ferries would open bids Thursday for two new 64-car ferries. Ferries spokeswoman Hadley Greene told me today (Wednesday), however, that the shipyards requested, and were granted, a one-week extension. Bids will be opened at 11 a.m. Nov. 13.

The ferries will be similar to the Island Home that was designed in Seattle and operates in Massachusetts. Some design changes will be needed to customize them for the Port Townsend-Keystone route.

The 2008 Legislature provided $84.5 million for the ferries in the  transportation budget (ESHB 2878).

WSF is hoping to get the first one on the water in April 2010 and the second one in Fall 2010.