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Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Bad Transportation News, Part 2

Posted by on March 8 at 16:43 PM

State Sen. Bill Finkbeiner’s proposal to link a planned Sound Transit ballot measure extending light rail and the roads-heavy Regional Transportation Investment District (if either failed, both would fail) is included in the regional-transportation compromise reached in the state legislature yesterday. The “common-ballot” measure, which also prohibits a Sound Transit-RTID vote in 2006, is Finkbeiner’s attempt to force roads proponents (who generally support RTID) to vote for light rail, and to force transit backers (who generally support Sound Transit) to vote for RTID. However, FutureWise director Aaron Ostrom says the whole issue may be irrelevant anyway, because Finkbeiner’s provision would sunset after December 1, 2007, and Ostrom doubts any major tax initiatives will go to the ballot in a low-turnout, off-year election.

Transit proponents have opposed RTID in the past because it couples RTID and Sound Transit, does not allow RTID to pay for transit operations except for “construction mitigation,” and, until yesterday, relied heavily on regressive sales tax. Environmental groups like FutureWise, the Transportation Choices Coalition, Washington Conservation Voters and the Washington Environmental Council now support it.

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Finkbeiner's a liar. He keeps saying (a) Sound Transit needs the roads package to pass, and (b) the roads package needs Sound Transit to pass. Only (b) is true. Sound Transit could pass on its own. And once it did, the roads package would become the orphan that has to get even more transit cobbled onto it to pass on its own.

The simple fact that Sound Transit (as far as I know) and the folks like TCC were lobbying against this should be all you need to know.

Finkbeiner tries to make himself out like he's some great diplomat bringing the Israelis and Palestinians together, but he's just doing whatever he can to fight light rail and help roads. I would be curious what connections this guy has with Kemper Freeman. By the way, between this and his gay-rights flip-flop, shouldn't this guy be a prime target for ouster? I mean, we're talking Kirkland here, which is bluer than it is red.

Some background on Finkbeiner. When the State Senate's Transportation Committee was coming up with its own regional transportation reform bill (SB6599), Finkbeiner kept trying to remove any trace of transit from it. The committee chair, Mary Margaret Haugen, eventually just let him do whatever he wanted. She knew it was a loser, so she was happy to let it come out of committee as the monstrosity it became. I think it was Ed Murray who called Finkbeiner's finished work "RTID on steroids."

I find it hard to believe that a Republican from Woodinville has transit's best interest in mind.

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