August 03, 2007
The Theology of Transportation
Chris Vance offers a refreshingly candid assessment of local transportation politics over at Crosscut. Agree with his assessment of November's election on Sound Transit & RTID or not, it's a thought provoking read.
Its money line related to the title of this post was also quoted in a P-I article discussing the potential impact of the Minnesota bridge collapse on the RTID vote. There may be some truth to that, though not nearly as much as the article implies. Plus, the very existence of the article in print/pixel so soon after the tragedy seems tremendously tacky.
Posted by Eric Earling at August 03, 2007
07:10 AM | Email This
I really think the bottom line in all of the Minneapolis hubbub is that if the Democrats like to tax and spend, they should be investing in infrastructure and not social programs.
But, like it or not, they want both, and more taxes to accomplish it.
I thought Vance's article was well-thought out and a breath of fresh air. I was pleased Crosscut posted the article. Also read some of the comments; they represent a cross-section of the five camps, which are pretty close to my camp definitions.
Unfortunately for Vance, he is a R, so he got more than his share of being "biased" criticisms.
That crosscut article by C. Vance shows how politicians think. They divide the world up into arbitrary groups, and try to not piss them off.
They do not act in the best interests of the public. They do not try to minimize taxing. They try to maximize the money the get to spend. They try to avoid responsibility.
I, for one, want to see the complexity of every issue. Like the commenters, you seem to want to make every issue a black and white, while in reality, it isn't.
I would rather have a R leaning journalist than the typical liberal journalist writing the article. Get real, Ahrnold.
The Minnesota bridge incident just highlights how screwed up government priorities are. There is always much hemming and hawing about fixing existing bridges and roadways; let's not even discusss adding new thoroughfares. Government entities can always find the funds for the pet projects near and dear to their hearts, so I am tired of the exuse that there isn't any money.
The next time lawmakers think it is their civic duty to kiss the rear ends of some sports team, they should first make sure that public safety, roads, and education are adequately funded to provide the necessary level of service. The money is there; we just need to prioritize and warm fuzzy projects are going to have to go to the bottom of the list.
The article in the Times is another example of lopsided reporting. Playing on the Minnesota tragedy, the implication is that you need to vote for a humongous tax package to fix the bridges. The bridges should already have a maintenance budget. The fall ballot measure is just an excuse to pour yet even more billions of dollars into transit options most will never use.
The state needs to show us an audited report of what they have done with all the collected road taxes. If extra funds are needed, then a single issue measure needs to be put on the ballot that includes how cost overruns will be handled. It's time to tell the light rail groupies and team owners to go to the back of line.
Didn't we just pass a property tax last year to fix the bridges? I'm pretty sure voters already allocated money to getting bridges fixed (Briding the Gap, remember)?
Do not vote for RTID because you think bridges are going to collapse! And what to trains have to do with ANY of this?
6. When are we going to stop spend 60% of our transportation funds to build a rail system for a maximum of 4% of the rides. If we spent some of the money on buses and the rest of the billions on roads we could have a roads system that actually worked. Crazy idea.
The solution to infrastructure is to let it collapse -- without people on it. We have too many roads, bridges and so on, using up the landscape.
I am for destroying the 520 bridge completely and shuffling all traffic onto I-90. Using up funds to patch up or rebuild every decaying public work is not needed. We can also route a lot of people around south lake washington via the 405 to I-5 connection. I mean, it's only a few miles difference from using the bridges.
A lot of these bridges and tunnels and roads are make work projects from FDR and Truman's day. We shouldn't be expected to keep them up and running.