The Seattle Times Company has just published its position on Tim Eyman’s Initiative 976, urging an emphatic no vote this November, and it’s truly a thing of beauty. Rarely have I read a more satisfying editorial.
This indictment of I‑976 is truly a thing of beauty!
“In his latest ballot measure, initiative promoter Tim Eyman is overreaching again,” the editorial begins. “He conjures a fantasy world in which Washington’s transportation infrastructure is complete, efficient and everlasting.”
Fantasy world… love it! The Times is spot-on; it’s as though Eyman is inhabiting some weird alternate universe. He has lately been falsely claiming that I‑976 will have no adverse impact because there are billions of dollars lying around that could be used to backfill the cuts. But that’s a total fabrication.
Kudos to The Times for recognizing this.
“The real-life Initiative 976 is a direct threat to Washington’s well-being,” the editorial goes on to note, delving into the grave impacts. “It would cut repairs to streets and bridges of sixty-two districts across the state, delay voter-approved mass transit in mid-construction and cost taxpayers more money in the long run. The statewide transportation budget, including highway construction and the State Patrol, would be shorted $4 billion over the next decade.”
The total loss of revenue over ten years goes even higher when you add in the amount of funding that would be lost at the regional and local levels.
“When The Seattle Times Opinion page recently asked readers to send in their questions about I‑976, concerns about the statewide consequences came up repeatedly,” a later passage in the editorial adds.
“Programs that would be stripped of funding can be found in every corner of Washington, including tribal transit, paratransit for people with disabilities and the elderly, and earthquake-proofing of bridges and tunnels.”
“Eyman seems not to care about collateral damage of his mission to “gut” Sound Transit — as he described it to the Eastside Republican Club — through I‑976.”
That Eyman address to the Eastside Republican Club was recorded by a friend of NPI and released through our Permanent Defense project earlier this month. It was subsequently picked up on by Times columnist Danny Westneat.
In the audio clip (which you can hear for yourself at PD’s website), Eyman can be heard making the following statement about his primary motivation for spearheading an initiative that slashes vehicle fees (emphasis ours):
I love the idea of every voter in the state being able to register their vehicle for a flat-rate, easy to understand $30, but what gets me giddy is the idea of ripping the heart out of Sound Transit. This agency is so unaccountable, so rogue, so completely devoid of any reality that this is our one chance to be able to gut them like a pig, and that’s what I really love about this initiative.
The best part of the editorial, though, is its conclusion.
“Nothing about I‑976 is a good idea, in terms of responsible governance or prudent money management,” the Times declares.
“Eyman asks voters to buy a falsity that there’s some miraculous way to fund our state’s backlog of bridge, road and transit needs. Because the courts cannot end this toxic nonsense quickly enough, voters must reject I‑976 themselves.”
Outstanding, Seattle Times. Simply outstanding. Thank you for making the case against Tim Eyman’s I‑976 so well and so powerfully.