Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Assaulting the new gas tax

Over at KVI, John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur have whipped themselves up into a frenzy into their campaign to take out the gas tax just passed by the Washington State Legislature.

Carlson and Wilbur, of course, think the gas tax is just a big waste. They complain that the funding the tax provides won't be enough to do anything at all.

Carlson and Wilbur need to take their blinders off. How, exactly, do they expect us to create an efficient transportation system without more revenue? The 520 bridge and the Alaskan Way Viaduct are in danger of collapsing in an earthquake and need to be replaced. Transit service needs to expanded as more people move into the region. Roads need to be repaired and maintained.

We can't do any of this without any money. Supporters of Carlson and Wilbur's "no new gas tax" initiative are also supporters of longer commutes, increased gridlock, and deteoriating roads.

The reality is that we simply lack the money to do what it takes to build a functional transportation system without this increase. Thanks to Tim Eyman's car tab initiatives (I-695, I-776) major sources of funding have been lost. And now, Carlson and Wilbur are once again trying to prevent any progress from being made.

Their lack of vision is their greatest weakness. They obviously do not care about the health and future of this region. All they can see is the short term, with dollar signs blinking in their eyes and their hands firmly clasping their pocketbooks.

It's the same problem facing solar energy. Once you get past the initial startup cost, you have free electricity for a very long time. But it doesn't seem economical to people because the cost of starting to them is too high.

Years down the road, when we replace the viaduct and the floating bridge, extend light rail to the Eastside, and build a functional transportation infrastructure, this gas tax increase will seem well worth it. That is, if we successfully make it past Carlson and Wilbur's short-sightedness.

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