September 09, 2008
Rossi's Transportation Plan
Yesterday, the Seattle Times took a skeptical view of Dino Rossi's statewide transportation plan coming to fruition. The article voiced four potential problem spots:
- Rossi's idea to replace the existing four-lane Highway 520 bridge with one that could accommodate eight lanes may not fly with residents on the west side of Lake Washington, who have opposed similar plans. And previous proposals to replace the viaduct with a tunnel have been controversial.
- The cost estimates in Rossi's plan may not be accurate. State Department of Transportation officials say the numbers don't take into account the recent rapid inflation in construction costs.
- Two-thirds of the money for his plan would come from sales taxes that currently go into the state general fund, which pays for education, health care and other services. He'd likely face stiff opposition trying to use that money for road projects.
- His idea to shift $690 million from Sound Transit to pay for car-pool lanes also is controversial. Sound Transit officials said moving the money would require voter approval.
Individually those are all fair point. Rossi will have a challenging time getting those components through the Democratic Legislature if he is elected. In the same vein, it would be fair to argue that some elements of Rossi's proposal sure look like a starting point for negotiations with that same Legislature.
Keeping that in mind, there is a bigger picture difference at play. We here in the Puget Sound area are always quick to get into a big, bloody scrum arguing about the details of transportation plans. What's going on in the Governor's race though?
Does Christine Gregoire have a plan? If you consider interminable delays on making a decision on the Viaduct and 520 a plan, sure. Or if you consider a deeply problematic ferry system or failure to maintain basic infrastructure a plan then you're good too.
In the meantime, Rossi is putting an emphasis on building the roads projects that residents in the Puget Sound area's congested sububs and exurbs have long been denied by the state - including the latest round of inaction after the failure of last year's Prop. 1.
After years of Republican inability to put together a coherent message on transportation, Dino Rossi is the candidate that actually has a transportation plan that targets long overdue congestion relief projects. The Democratic incumbent doesn't, nor does she have much of a record to tout on the topic either.
Posted by Eric Earling at September 09, 2008
07:32 AM | Email This
1. Boone Pickens says (talking about his energy plan) that a fool with a plan is better than a genius with no plan. I don't agree with all of the details, but at least Rossi stands for action on transportation. Gregoire held a press conference to breathlessly announce that the viaduct is going to be torn down... in 2012!
2. Sound Transit officials said moving the money would require voter approval.
Those Sound Transit officials sure have it rigged against the public. To change their operation or transfer funds requires 'voter approval', but when they changed the rules to establish Sound Transit in the first place, they declared that obtaining voter approval for their backroom rule change was not part of the game. The poor dears would all have been out of a job, had the public had a voice at that time.
what's that saying "you can please all the people some of the time, some of the people all the time but you cannot please all the people all the time".
in any event it will take a leader to do what is right even though it might not be popular.
The only viable transportation plan is one that de-densifies Seattle and moves as much business to the exurbs where people live. Couple that with growth along the Rte 2 corridor so we can keep expanding and have cheaper housing.
Viaduct: Tear down. Boulevard.
520: Immediate closure. It's unsafe.
405 between Exts 1 and 4: Expand to 4 lanes either way.
Light Rail: Cancel. Shift money back to buses.
Taxis: Increase licenses. Explore as an option for late night public transit -- get rid of empty buses running at all hours.
In the news this morning, I heard that Gregoire won't release her transportation plan until after the election.
At least Rossi has a plan that can be discussed and debated.
Funny, but when Gregiore was spending billions more than the state was taking in on special interests, it never made the front page of the Seattle Times.
Other recent times headlines have been about how mean Reichert is being to Burner, the "turbulent" first year of Mayorship for Palin, etc.
Is it just me, or does anyone else notice how the normally more conservative Seattle Times turns into a DNC attack dog for a few months before every election?
yes, I noted the Times headline about "Palin's turbulent first year." Well, she did get re-elected, then elected as gov, and her accomplishments of ethics reform and the natural gas pipeline being built at minimal risk and big upside for taxpayers is quite impressive. So yes I did wonder why that wasn't the focus of the Times story. I also wondered whether the Times would have something about "Obama's 7 unfruitful years in the Illinois legislature" or something similar.
Somehow I doubt it.
8. "normally more conservative Seattle Times"
Is this a joke? The Times has never been conservative, unless of course you are Karl Marx the Times is a liberal rag.
9. I have been a subscriber to the Times for over 25 years. Yesterday I stopped subscribing. I have become fed up with the left wing screed. I agree with Stuart, when will the Times do a piece on the rise of Obama through the pristine halls of Chicago politics?
10. SurveyUSA has Rossi up by 1 for the first time. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/latestpolls/governor.html
11. Good news. Obama's lead down to 5 points, Rossi tied with Queenie. Dems sinking like a rock in WA state of all places! Is California next?
#8 - Sorry, incomplete thought.
I was mentally comparing it to the Seattle PI, and of the two I believe the Times is the more conservative. Actually, compared to the LA Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Times, and NY Times, I would still say it's more conservative. I read newspapers in a lot of cities as I travel a lot, and I've seen much much worse.
Except during elections season. Then the "journalism" staff can't help itself and decides to become the DNC cheerleaders and attack dogs.
I was also suprised at the article in the Seattle Times allowing Darcy/Sandeep Burner to defend herself against the recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce ad.
I've also noticed that when there is an article in the Times describing the 8th CD race, there's usually a headshot of a smiling Darcy Burner to accompany the article, but never a picture of Reichert.
Why does this woman get a free pass and have the ear of everyone in the Seattle media?
My new yard sign...
"Darcy Burner for Housewife - Dave Reichert for Congress"
Another trick they've been doing lately is on the editorial page where they do really viscious attacks by guest columnists on Mondays and Sundays and then place the "opposing view" by conservatives on Tuesday.
Sunday and Monday are the most read editions of newspapers. Tuesday readership is usually the smallest of the week - sometimes a third off higher readership of the later part of the week.
15. Face it, Rossi's plan is pure folly and the truth flies in the face the Rossi Campaign. Fiscally irresponsible is what Rossi's plan demonstrates.
If Rossi did NOT use the official cost estimates from the Regional Transportation Plan for these projects they would have criticized him for making up his own numbers.
So if the bureacrats want to critique the cost estimates, then they should look to themselves...why haven't they updated the official costs estimates for those projects in their transportation planning documents?
Rossi had to use official cost estimates. Anything else would recieve even greater criticism.