Something for Everyone to Hate
State Sen. Bill Finkbeiner (R-Woodinville) has proposed an amendment to this year’s Regional Transportation Investment District legislation that both road warriors and environmentalists regard as a poison pill. The amendment would make Sound Transit (i.e., light rail) and RTID (i.e., roads) codependent: If either failed, both would fail. “There are folks who are all for transit and against roads, and there are folks who are all for roads and against transit,” Finkbeiner explains, “and I just think it’s a poor way to operate to only do one or the other.” If Sound Transit and RTID aren’t linked together, Finkbeiner says, “the environmentalists are going to come out against RTID,” causing it to fail in Seattle. At the same time, Finkbeiner says, “a lot of people on the east side of [Lake Washington] wouldn’t support Sound Transit if it was free.”
He’s right, of course: environmentalists like the Transportation Choices Coalition, Washington Conservation Voters, and FutureWise oppose RTID because it doesn’t fund transit operations, relies heavily on regressive sales tax, and forces Sound Transit onto the same ballot as RTID. They see RTID as an albatross that will drag Sound Transit down, sinking both proposals. Roads supporters like former state Sen.-turned-roads-lobbyist Jim Horn, meanwhile, view Sound Transit as a waste of money that could be better spent on roads, and see Sound Transit as an albatross that will drag RTID down… sinking both proposals.