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.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Refuting the Myths from I-912 Proponents

"All the money is going to Seattle."
"It's just a big ripoff to everyone who doesn't live in King County."
"It's all going to Interstate 5."

The above are just some of the myths I've heard about the 2005 transportation package, especially from the people who collected signatures in Eastern Washington.

Today, the Seattle Times has published a "guide" to the new gas tax and to Initiative 912. Their guide includes this map which shows the return for each county in Washington State:

As you can see from the map, the counties that benefit the most don't happen lie alongside Puget Sound. Neither do they encompass the state's largest population centers. They're either on the coast or part of Eastern Washington.

Now, isn't that interesting?

Admittedly, Benton, Spokane, and Yakima (Eastern Washington's population centers) don't get a huge return.

But remember that this map looks at the entire gas tax. The 2005 transportation package does include $61.7 million for Yakima, $40.9 million for Benton, and $201 million for Spokane.

The idea of the package is to fix the most dangerous roads and structures in Washington State, not evenly distribute every bit of money. So some counties will get more and others will get less. And as you can see, there's no bias favoring any particular region in Washington State. It's county by county.

If you look at where the money is distributed under this package (not the entire gas tax!), you will see it is aimed mostly at population centers, which makes complete sense. That's where the most heavily traveled roads are. That's where the structures (i.e. bridges) that are the most dangerous and seismically unsafe happen to be.

As the Times itself notes: "For years, King County drivers paid more in gas taxes than the state put back into road projects there."

Yet some of the most important projects are in King County. The 2005 transportation package is an attempt to introduce more balance into the overall distribution of dollars in the entire gas tax.

The bottom line is that every Washingtonian benefits from the 2005 transportation package. Every single Washingtonian. Even if there isn't a project in your neighborhood, you still benefit.

As a motorist and a traveler, you benefit from safer roads and improved ferries. As a resident, citizen, and a worker, you benefit from more jobs and better infrastructure.

As a business owner, you and your employees certainly benefit from reduced congestion and the assurance that you can get your goods to market at a low cost.

Everyone wins under this guaranteed investment for Washington's future.

Vote NO on Initiative 912 and protect this investment for yourself and your fellow Washingtonians.

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