The transit proposal du jour is for light-weight, single-car diesel trains running from Snohomish to Renton, along the old BNSF Railway's tracks. Those are the tracks the county and the Port want to turn into a trail and bikeway. Price for the small trains route would be somewhere between $125 million and $300 million, according to various estimates. The idea is the latest outbreak of thinking small about transit, in the wake of the rejection of Proposition 1. It's the spirit of Portland, stitching together small opportunities in transit as they come along -- trolleys, streetcars, bus malls, commuter rail on freight lines, and passenger ferries. You might call this TOY, for Transit of Yore, since most of the proposals are for nostalgic modes and tiny solutions. But would a bunch of toys under the Christmas tree really save much money and do much good? The Eastside proposal, for instance, uses an old rail line that is not well positioned to serve commuters and has no connection to Seattle. Wedging in new stations and parking lots would also be a big political problem. Similarly, the new passenger ferries that King County is proposing do not factor in sites for terminals and transportation links to the terminals. (Building big parking lots for ferries is the fatal obstacle for waterborne transit in built-up cities.) The costs will add up, even if each bite seems digestible to taxpayers. Proposition 1 was going to cost the average household $218 per year. The ferry tax will be $22 per household owning a $400,000 home. That translates into about 10 percent the cost of Prop. 1 for a minuscule ridership. (Afternoon run on the Vashon ferry is about 270 riders.) Reaction to the Eastside plan, which might have merit if part of a more comprehensive transit system, shows another problem with piecemeal planning. The competing agencies immediately started shooting at each other. King County Metro asked where was the money to build and run the diesel trains and telling a reluctant Sound Transit that they should pay for it. We're already at the pilot project stage of thinking, with a short route from Snohomish to Bellevue. Not a great way to run a railroad.