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Monday, August 22, 2005

Smidgen of Hope

Posted by on August 22 at 10:53 AM

There is one thing working against I-912, the gas tax repeal. Unlike R-51the gas tax increase from 2002 that went down in flames the tax in question this time (a gas tax to fund road projects) is not opposed by lefty enviro/transportation groups like Future Wise and Transportation Choices. In fact, the enviros support the gas tax increase this time. Aaron Ostrom, the executive director at Future Wise (formerly 1,000 Friends of Washington) explained the difference to me. He says the overwhelming majority of R-51 money went to new capacity road projects (baaad), while the new package “has its priorities right.” Ostrum says the overwhelming majority of money in the current gas tax is slated for the safety and maintenance of existing roads (goood)not for expanding auto capacity. (There’s $2 billion in there for the Viaduct.)
In 2002, Ostrum and his enviro base organized to kill R-51 in liberal Seattle (turf that’s usually supportive of tax increases for public projects.) Well, R-51 got walloped in King County53 to 46.
I’m thinking that this time, without the enviro left hooking up with the anti-tax right, I-912 could go down to an unexpected defeat. If only somebody (Gov. Gregoire, maybe?) would take advantage of this, and start making some noise.