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.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Rep. Dicks: I-912 will devastate the state’s transportation infrastructure

The Tacoma News Tribune ran an article yesterday which had a title in the form of a question: What if voters repeal gas tax?

Yeah, what if that happens? Wonder what the consequences would be!

How about a loss of transportation funding, a serious delay in fixing the Alaskan Way Viaduct and SR 520 floating bridge, the cancellation of dozens of road safety improvements across the state, and placing federal funding in jeopardy.


Rep. Norm Dicks expressed serious concern about Initiative 912:

Two senior Democratic members of the state’s congressional delegation say millions of dollars in federal highway funding will be jeopardized if Washington voters repeal the recent gas tax increase.

Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Belfair) was by far the most outspoken.

“I pray the people of Washington state don’t repeal it,” Dicks said, who was joined in his appeal by Sen. Patty Murray. “It will devastate the state’s transportation infrastructure.”
Well, that comment was certainly right on target. Dicks and Murray are right - approval of Initiative 912 would threaten Washington State's quality of life and destroy needed transportation funding.

Of course, initiative proponents would have you believe that there's no problem - Brett Bader called Murray and Dicks' pleas a "cheap political stunt."

You know what, Brett? You and your initiative are a cheap political stunt. Initiative 912 is all about cheapness - it's backed by people who think state government already has enough money to keep our roadways and infrastructure safe.

They're the ones who want us to scrape by on the cheap. The problem is, we can't even scrape by any more.

We can't afford to wait any longer. We have to make investments in the future now. Backers of Initiative 912 are against making any kind of investment, and what's more, they seem to want to go backwards. Beyond the status quo.

Of course, the News Tribune's Les Blumenthal found a lawmaker who disagrees with Dicks and Murray: Republican Rep. Dave Reichert:
Reichert said even if the gas tax repeal was approved, he would be “shocked” if the state couldn’t come up with the matching funds needed.

“They will find the money,” he said. “They won’t let $220 million slip through their fingers. They could hold a car wash.”
They could hold a car wash? Exactly which state is Reichert living in?

Yeah, that's right. The state of Washington should hold a car wash to raise money for road improvements. That'll work. While we're at it, why not pass a law forcing all other car wash businesses to go out of business so the state can have an exclusive monopoly to raise funds for road repairs. We'll make people who love clean, shiny cars foot the bill!

It seems all Reichert can offer is non-solutions. He says "they will find the money." Oh really? Will they? We don't think so, Dave. Apparently you've been spending too much time in D.C.

If you were being realistic, you'd know that we are just about out of funding options. Maybe you'd like to bring back the statewide MVET and hope Tim Eyman doesn't try and run his Grandson of 695 past voters.

The bottom line is that the anti-tax crowd doesn't want to pay for any transportation package, period. They want it repealed, and they'll capitalize on apathy in order to persuade fellow voters to side with them.

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