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.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Seattle P-I's Daily NO on 912 annoys initiative proponents

Ever since the Seattle Post-Intelligencer started its "Daily NO on 912" editorial series, proponents of Initiative 912 have bitterly grumbled about the amount of editorial space the P-i is using to attack the initiative.

The P-I should be applauded for this editorial series. It's one of the best ideas they've ever come up with.

But it's really got proponents annoyed. Here's a reaction from the Sagebrush blog:
Go back a decade and consider the cost of public transportation. The walk-on ferry fare was as little as $2.10. A Metro bus ride was 85 cents.

A couple of years later the state's voters rebelled and passed Initiative 695, which slashed some $750 million from the state's tax receipts.

Consider what we as a region lost: Buses and ferries (indeed, most state services) were stripped of crucial funding. Yet somebody had to pay: The same bus run is $1.50 (peak times); the ferry fare is $6.10.
So if we don't keep giving the state more and more money mass transit fares might go up? NOOOOOOOOoooooooooo!

This is truely frightening. The thought of higher ferry fares is weighing heavy on our minds here in eastern Washington. Maybe the PI is right! Maybe it is worth the high gas taxes. We wouldn't want to deprive Bainbridge Islanders of enough change for a tall decaf on their ferry ride.
First of all, you might want to correct that spelling mistake. Your rant will "truely" be more interesting without the extra e.

Now, as to your remarks. The gas tax has nothing to do with mass transit. It funds only roads and ferries. What the P-I was talking about was the fact that we've been cutting transportation funding over the last few years - and that has had a negative effect on people who use mass transit. (The people who tend to use mass transit the most, by the way, are those who cannot afford to purchase their own vehicles).

The sneering apathy on display here is saddening.

The ferry system is a crucial part of our state's transportation infrastructure. It doesn't just carry people across the Sound to work or home. It carries tourists who are visiting Washington State and it carries trucks and other commercial vehicles transporting goods.

It is an important lifeline for Washington State. The ferry system ultimately serves all of Washington State, even though not every community has its own ferry dock. Every region of our state is interconnected with the other regions.

We've been dumping money into Eastern Washington for years to subsidize the transportation infrastructure over there - and to see people like this blogger whining and jeering about subsidizing ferries and mass transit over here is itself annoying.

Make no mistake, if I-912 passes, Eastern Washington will pay, and pay dearly. It's going to pay because its subsidies from the West are going to end.

Seattle area legislators already have the legislation ready to keep the gas tax money in the county where it's raised. They have it drafted. It's ready to be dropped when the session starts. And it's gaining support.

This means that dense urban counties such as King will end up with plenty of money to invest in new, safe infrastructure, while Eastern Washington will get shafted. Eastern Washingtonians support I-912 at their own peril.

This is about public safety. If a majority of Eastern Washingtonians aren't interested in investing in safe roads, then they can watch their infrastructure fall to pieces and rot. It's their choice. The I-912 vote is going to be very telling.

We'd prefer a different resolution: the defeat of Initiative 912 and the preservation of 274 critical public safety and traffic congestion projects across the state.

Proponents of Initiative 912 can mock the Post-Intelligencer, make fun of mass transit, and chuckle about high ferry fares for Bainbridge Islanders all they want. In the end, they are ignoring reality, common sense, and the public safety crisis we face.

If you are concerned about the future of Washington State, vote NO on Initiative 912.

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