Oh, the cross-base highway most certainly IS in the plan the RTID board approved.
The mediation-thing is a fucking joke. It has no teeth, and will have no impact.
Ladenburg won - he's pandering to his developer friends who want to cover many square miles of the East Pierce Co. Cascade foothills with McMansion subdivisions. They'll make a fortune.
I have an idea to make reading your pieces less annoying: I'm going to read through once, edit out your robotically slanted editorializing, and then re-read the piece.
Environmentalists signed on to the joint roads/Sound Transit package a few weeks ago despite the potential inclusion of the Cross Base Highway in Pierce County. Groups like the Transportation Choices Coalition justified their support for the $7 billion roads package because the cross-base highway will be subject to mediation, raising hopes that enviros will be able to kill the highway.
According to a widely distributed e-mail Ladenburg sent out last Friday, “The cross-base highway is back in with a portion of the funding contingent on mediation with environmental representatives.”
So, environmental groups signed off on a highway in exchange for “mediation.”
That was much more informative and far less annoying. I think I'll do that for all your articles and entries from now on ;P
That fucking sucks. Ladenburg is a complete ass-hole.
Please clarify: Mediation is not binding; if it fails, and the two sides do not agree in the mediation, what happens to the X base highway, is it in or out??
With 520 getting mediation too, pretty soon it will all be government by mediation/followed by voters voting on $37 billion transportation packages.
Um, why are we paying officials $100,000+ a year to not make decisions?
Ladenburg's conclusion is just plain wrong. He's trying to save face. While the RTID plan doesn't put a stake in the heart of the project, RTID just doesn't include anywhere near the money needed to build the highway.
The draft RTID package agreed to in January included most of the money needed to build the project- all but about $100 million. What's in there now includes almost none of the money. Only $30 million for the corridor is guaranteed by RTID. Another $60 million could be spent on the corridor if enviros agree to it in the mediation (not gonna happen!). There's also another $10 million in there for environmental mitigation, again if enviros agree to pavement being put down in the oak prairie habitat (again, not gonna happen).
Tahoma Audubon, the equestrian community in Pierce County and statewide environmental groups have been fighting cross-base for 20+ years. None of these people are gonna suddenly fold in a mediation that won't even start until Ladenburg is out of power (a key demand of the environmental community in the negotiations). Beyond Ladenburg and a few residents in the Spanaway area, there's not much passion for the project. The military doesn't like it, Norm Dicks has never much liked it, nor has Patty Murray. Cross-Base highway is dead, it's just that we don't get to drive the stake in its heart until 2009. That was about Ladenburg saving face, not about folding to him.
Hey Erica C. Sprawl in Marysville? I know highways have all sorts of unpredictable impacts, but a Pierce County highway probably won't do much to Snohomish.
Some other thoughts about RTID:
Josh and Erica are right to look at the entire package through the prism of climate change. The legislature has, over and over again, made a mess of this thing, by creating RTID in the first place and then by holding ST2 hostage to passage of RTID.
Several of us in the environmental community decided to pursue negotiations with the RTID to see if we could get to a combined ballot where the land-use and climate benefits of ST2 outweigh the detrimental impacts of RTID. Did we pull that off? To be honest, I don't know. A lot of us are trying to figure that out and I think it really depends on how much you value the ST2 (I think it's critically important to building a clean transportation system that drives land-use practices in the right direction). And, I think it depends on how much we can change the way the road projects are delivered and operated in the future.
We pushed for and got a lot of changes in the RTID policy language that could allow us to change the way some of the projects are built out and make it easier for us to get these roadways variably priced (i.e., congestion pricing) as they open up. Whether we can pull that off will depend on our ability to persuade the legislature over the next 10 years to implement pricing on these roads and change the ways some of the projects are built out (e.g., instead of 4 new lanes on I-405, 2 new lanes with the difference invested in rail transit). Some of this policy language will give us some legal leverage too. But more importantly, all the attorneys we've talked to think the state environmental policy act (SEPA) already gives us legal leverage to stop some of the highway projects because of their impact on climate change.
If we knew for sure we could reshape or kill several of the RTID projects through legal and legislative measures, we would probably all support the joint ballot because we don't know when the next opportunity to build out ST2 will come our way. Every year of delay is costly and has its own climate implications.
Admittedly, there's a lot of uncertainty about future efforts to reshape the RTID package and when we might get our next realistic chance to go for a major light rail expansion, so it's still not clear that the plusses of ST2 outweigh the damage that could be done by RTID. Most of the statewide environmental groups are wrestling with all this right now. In the end, because of the climate issues, I think you'll see some enviro groups opposing, others staying neutral, and others supporting but without a tremendous amount of enthusiasm. The legislature has made a big mess of regional transportation structurally, and many of our regional electeds have stepped right into it. They only have themselves to blame for the likely muddled response that comes from the environmental community, even with ST2.
Bill LaBorde: Ladenburg's conclusion is just plain wrong. He's trying to save face. While the RTID plan doesn't put a stake in the heart of the project, RTID just doesn't include anywhere near the money needed to build the highway.
I'm not a journalist. But I don't know, if I were a journalist, I think the first thing I would do upon reading Ladenburg's statement is do some research and try to determine if he's blowing smoke. For Erica to accept Ladenburg's (possible) spin as proof that the pragmatic environmental community sold out is a bit using an Osama bin Laden statement that al Quaeda is kicking ass in Iraq as further proof that GW Bush screwed up by invading the place. (Folks, please forgive the unintended Ladenburg-Osama comparison.)
OK, better analogy here. If Erica is willing to accept John Ladenburg's word at face value, maybe she can start accepting WSDOT studies at face value too.
The environmentalists' agenda to kill the RTID project dead in the name of global warming is like going to war without having procured a suitable amount of guns or soldiers first.
It's a step in the right direction. Quit trying to kill it because it doesn't suit your utopian image of what reality should be. People are not going to stop driving if you kill RTID. Changing habits is a process, not a war.
Hey LaBorde thanks for the thoughtful analysis with balance, nuance, pros and cons, & general lack of stupid, boring name calling, posturing & invective.
Hey Gomez: note the above comment.
LaBorde just wrote that the contents of Roads + Transit (the ballot measure in November) are the product of the following:
- Ladenburg’s efforts to save face;
- Organized environmental groups’ lawyers who have litigation strategies to defeat parts of the measure IF the voters approve it;
- Speculation about what future legislatures might do; and
- Crappy policy by the legislature.
Those are all excellent reasons to vote NO.
I’ll add two of my own reasons: the projects (both transit and roads) can be reduced after the vote, so we don’t know what eventually will be built decades from now
Both sides (roads and transit) rely too much on long term debt.
My suggestion, vote this thing down. Then work on one thing at a time (e.g. get the SR 520 design finalized, and raise taxes to pay just for it with a minimum of bonding). After the first project is in shape from a design and finance perspective, get going on the next big one. That should be the light rail expansion: by then it will be 2009 and we’ll know how much we want to expand it.
Gomez: The environmentalists' agenda to kill the RTID project dead in the name of global warming is like going to war without having procured a suitable amount of guns or soldiers first.
Two brief responses here:
I think, once we get into campaign season, you're going to find the bulk of the environmentalist community landing on the pro-ST2/RTID side. Whatever unseemliness there is to RTID is going to be outweighed by the unseemliness of allying with Kemper Freeman and gang.
Didn't Sun Tzu say something like, "Never enter into a war you haven't already won?" Well, folks like the Sierra Club and our trusty Stranger reporters are doing anything but following that principle. As I noted before, that really doesn't matter to these people.
Eric F.: It's a three-county roads package that includes new highway lanes in Pierce, King, AND Snohomish Counties.
Also, to Bill LaBorde: Thanks for your thoughtful response. I agree that Ladenburg's opinion doesn't make Cross-Base so, but I think he exemplifies the intractability of Cross-Base supporters. I think enviros would have been better off opposing this package in the first place (and not just because of Cross-Base) than hoping to get the highway killed in mediation years down the line. (If mediation fails, the whole package fails.)
Winston: wise thoughts.
Mega packages are bad. Vote no, break it down, bring back pieces we can manage!
And the proponents' arguments are so bad. They use a "you must ACT NOW" marketing approach. It is oh so credible. In other wrods, the proponents and officials backing this are saying "You voters, you vote yes, you hear? Or else we will punish you by withholding any improvements for 30 years. So there! We will hold our breath till we are blue in the face ! We will ! We will!"
Erica C. Barnett:
I agree that Ladenburg's opinion doesn't make Cross-Base so, but I think he exemplifies the intractability of Cross-Base supporters.
Erica, that was totally not your point, and you know it. You were using Ladenburg's opinion as evidence of groups like TCC selling out for nothing:
Groups like the Transportation Choices Coalition justified their support for the massive $7 billion roads package because the cross-base highway will be subject to mediation, raising hopes that enviros will be able to kill the highway.
And if Ladenburg's opinion doesn't make the Cross-Base Highway so, then there goes your nasty point about environmental groups selling out for nothing. If you're going to make misleading and sneering insinuations, at least have the nerve not to back away from them at the first sign of someone calling BS on you.
11. Hey, Sally: Note the tone of this paper and its urbanist acolytes. They operate with a simple-minded agenda to help kill what could be a productive project dead, and in the process completely burying any hope of developing more rail transit in this region.
ECB wrote: "(If mediation fails, the whole package fails.)" You know this is incorrect, right ECB? If the voters vote yes in November, the taxes go on and on forever. If mediation re: cross-base fails, or succeeds, it doesn't matter - the taxing would still go on for four more decades. The only thing that possibly could change is how some of those taxes are spent.
This thing needs to DIE at the polls. It is the wrong way to plan and finance transit and roads projects, for any number of reasons.
This question is for ECB: If we know that the legislature WILL NOT let Sound Transit go alone after a failed '07 vote (and we know that is true - we'll be lucky if they don't outright kill them), are you honestly willing to gamble with what might be a once-in-a-lifetime (at least for some folks) chance to get light rail? As a very pure enviro, do you think that the negatives from RTID will truly outweigh the land use and transportation implications of building rail?
"Beyond Ladenburg and a few residents in the Spanaway area, there's not much passion for the project. "
Scientific Survey from last year:
This package includes a new project, known as the Cross Base highway, which would be built from eye five to south central Pierce County. It will take local traffic off of eye five near McChord (mah KORD) Air Force base and Fort Lewis, reduce congestion in communities south of state route five twelve, including South Hill and Parkland-Spanaway, and will improve the movement of goods by connecting major manufacturing areas in Frederickson to eye five. Does this make you more likely or less likely to support the roads and transit package? (IF MORE LIKELY) Would that be much more or somewhat more likely? (IF LESS LIKELY)Would that be much less or somewhat less likely?
Much More Likely 48%
Somewhat More Likely 28%
Somewhat Less Likely 9%
Much Less Likely 10%
(No Difference) 3%
(Don't Know) 2%
So, apparently, 76% is only "a few residents" in Bill Laborde's world.
Erica should not be allowed to write on an issue that is outside the Pike/Pine corridor.
Yawn...did Erica regurgitate another one of her tired old transportation stories?
I thought I smelled something stale.
Soon this cute little blog will be drowned out by million of dollars of radio, tv and mail from the pro campaign.
Between now and them, Erica will rewrite the same story no less than 6 times.
Enjoy it while it lasts.
Puhleeze: Sorry, I should have been more clear--if mediation fails, Cross base doesn't get funded. If it succeeds, it gets $60 million. Added to the $30 million allocated for that corridor already, that's still hundreds of millions less than PC needs to build the whole project.
"That should be the light rail expansion: by then it will be 2009 and we’ll know how much we want to expand it"
OK--if I read this stupid argument one more time my head is going to explode. What, we have to wait until light rail opens to see if it really works?
Light rail is all over the world--AND IT FUCKING WORKS! Build it now, build as much as you can, then build more.
Questionmark: No, "we" don't "know" that the legislature will let ST go forward alone. I'm certainly not alone in hoping that that's exactly what will happen.
Bill LaBorde is correct. John Ladenburg has his fig leaf of a face saving "victory" but his highway is more of a loser than it has ever been. There is LESS money for the project in the package now than there was a few months ago and most of what's there goes for an interchange on I-5 that needs to be improved anyway. The rest is subject to mediation and if the mediation fails, legal action can resume. This goofy road is THREE miles (not five, Erica) south of another highway that goes the same place, which is why you have to come to the conclusion it's main purpose is not to improve commutes for Spanaway residents working in Redmond but to grease the skids for developers both east and west of Fort Lewis. I congratulate Bill and the other enviro groups who kept Landenburg Lane from getting any real funding AND cut funding for Shawn Bunney's pet project, a sprawl enabling mess known as SR 162. There are still lots of problems with both the RTID and ST2 packages and I am still leaning to a NO vote, but LaBorde and others deserve praise not Erica's scorn.
Questionmark: No, "we" don't "know" that the legislature will let ST go forward alone. I'm certainly not alone in hoping that that's exactly what will happen.
"Hoping." Now there's a well-thought-out political strategy you can truly feel confident in.
This region's debate over Roads and Transit package reminds me of this classic from the Onion.
Citizens and electeds from the entire region just spent two years putting together this package. And now you want to start over again?
Ok, fair enough Erica. You think the legislature will. I’m not sure why that is since everyone was well aware that RTID was a loser BEFORE they linked them together. The Gov and others saw the same rotten RTID polling everyone else did BEFORE they linked them together. They are NOT going to see a no vote as “RTID sucks, Sound Transit is great.” And there is very likely going to be regional governance reform next year – led by the folks from the Regional Transportation Commission – who ARE NOT supportive of Sound Transit. But OK, you hope they’ll de-link them. And you think the governor is going to take a transit tax vote the year she’s running for re-election? Or will we wait until 2009 to vote on ST again? 2010? 2012? OK, but I’m not buying it. And I’m going to be totally pissed if I don’t get light rail before I’m dead. There’s a lot riding on your hope.
Born on the 5th of July @ Take a closer look at the question. The question of whether one would be more likely or less to support the joint ballot if it included Cross-Base is couched in only affirmative arguments for the highway - reducing congestion and improving movement of goods. It's arguable as to whether Cross-Base would do either. Nowhere in the question or the whole survey were any of the environmental arguments against the road. Additionally, both an earlier and a later RTID poll showed Cross-Base with the lowest level of support of any of the joint ballot projects. The most recent poll in April had Cross-Base as the only project with less than 50% support, again without any opposition arguments.
The reality is that Ladenburg is the only elected official at this point who would fall on his sword for the project. Well, except maybe for the Master Builders. The RTID exec board members, the Port of Tacoma, the Chamber of Commerce and Boeing were all willing to support a package without Cross-Base. And, at all the RTID hearings, opponents of Cross-Base vastly outnumbered supporters.
Ladenburg is term limited so he didn't care. Soon he will be gone, and so will cross base.
"Bill LaBorde is correct. John Ladenburg has his fig leaf of a face saving "victory" but his highway is more of a loser than it has ever been."
Siwel @ 28 - can you read? The survey cited above shows over 75% support for Cross Base in Pierce County. Tell me how that translates into a "loser" in your mind?
Or, are you guys just going to continue sticking your heads in the sand and pretend the citizens of Pierce County share your Seattle-centered mindset? (hint: they have as much respect for self-centered Seattleites as Eastern WA has for the Seattle City Council after that enlightened body voted to take their irrigation dams down)
Since these projects all emerged from community process and consensus (Cross Base has been in consideration for 20 years - longer than many of these critics have been on the planet), the real enemy for the Greenstremists here is public will, and - when you get right down to it - democracy.
The day the hardcore greenies establish their Enviro Junta might be the day these "loser" projects get axed by the Pike/Pine intelligentsia.
"a later RTID poll showed Cross-Base with the lowest level of support of any of the joint ballot projects. The most recent poll in April had Cross-Base as the only project with less than 50% support, again without any opposition arguments."
Wrong again, Bill LaBorde. We can disagree on issues, but you at least need to try to be more honest when this data is posted on the internet
and when you refuse to cite your sources on a consistent basis.
That poll from April counted support/opposition region-wide (not just Pierce, which is where the 76-19 number came from in 2006.)
Region-wide, support is still more than 2-1 (47-21)
As such, your statements resemble mis- or dis-information.
"Ladenburg is term limited so he didn't care. Soon he will be gone, and so will cross base."
Good point, Tiptoe. Most of this will all be water under the bridge.
But for the Stranger to toss out 50 miles of light rail to satisfy a small group of die-hard Nader-style axe-grinders based on the "hope" that the already Democratic Legislature and Governor will somehow transform into Climate Change Warriors next year ...that is just plain silly.
Problems with the RTID have been around for a long time, but notice how NOT A SINGLE LEGISLATOR proposed a bill to de-link ST and RTID this year, last year (when the exact opposite happened) or any of the past 4 sessions.
Not one bill.
Once you leave Seattle City Limits, very little of these arguments fly very far.
Anybody who thinks stopping Cross-Base is somehow going to limit sprawl in Pierce County must be doing some of that meth they cook down there.
Southern and Eastern Pierce County have been BIAW hell for a generation now, because they never put in the same planning and environmental protections we put in King.
Moreover, the Republican-dominated County Council has given the developers the green light, and even if Calvin Goings (D) beats Shawn Bunney (R) and succeeds Ladenburg, his Council seat could go Republican, thus tying his hands even more.
The east-west SR 512 that feeds parts of Eastern Pierce is maxed out now. The areas that Cross-Base would serve are going to fill up regardless, and the pressure to build it will become inexorable.
The warehouses and distribution centers are in Frederickson for a reason, and there are more of them to come. Frederickson is the largest industrially zoned area in Western Washington. Now I would like some of the bright lights who post here to tell me how they intend to stop Cross-Base, Ladenburg or no Ladenburg?
The answer is, you won't. The best that the enviros can do to save that oak prairie is to try to force the Army to move the road to the other end of the base.
That is the part of the puzzle that no one mentions. But if that can be made to work, the road can be built, and the oak trees and the habitat can survive.
But stop the sprawl? Not happening. Put down the crack pipe if you think it is.
How about another way to judge if this was a victory:
The Original RTID proposal was missing $100 million for Cross Base.
The current proposal has $200 million, and an additional $70 million that is dependent on a mediation process that the environmental community must agree too.
Ladenburg is just saving face.
Correction on last post: The current proposal is MISSING $200 million.
So now opposing the cross base highway is opposing democracy? And I suppose I hate the troops too? What a shmuck.
Maybe SR 512, a freeway just three miles north of the cross base, is maxed out. I doubt it, but let's say it is. It would be far cheaper, far more environmentally responsible, and far better for Fort Lewis and McChord to add a lane or two to that highway then build cross base.
And yes, unincorporated Pierce County is a planning disaster area. Pierce County was the poster child for GMA in 1990 and even when forced to do some planning, the County Council did as little as possible. The UGA they created is significantly too large and when they finally adopted their comp plan, the County Council set the effective date out 8 friggin months to give their MBA/BIAW buddies lots of time to get vested. All of the shlock growth occuring now was permitted during that period. And to make matters worse, Pierce County has pitiful impact fees. So, yes Pierce County is a shithole. That doesn't mean you need to make it worse by building even more sprawl inducing highways like cross base.
And yes it has been talked about for 20 years. That is certainly not a reason to build it either. I'd be happy to talk about cross base for another 20 years if you want. Notice how the supporters of Ladenburg Lane never tell us exactly how they plan to come up with the missing $200 million, that is assuming the mediation results in the thing getting built. Do you really think there will be another gas tax from the Legislature any time soon? A local tax? That's a laugh. Just look at the I-912 vote in Pierce County. The people who most vocally support cross base and would benefit from it- ie Spanaway, voted against the gsa tax. My guess is they will also vote against RTID.
I'm guessing adding another lane to 512 would be acceptable to everybody *if* it can be done.
But if it can't, Cross-Base *will* be built, they *will* find the money, and it *will* be more expensive.
It's just mistaken to call Cross-Base "sprawl-inducing." The sprawl will occur in that area whether that highway is built or not. It's where a lot of jobs will be, and they are likely to be family-wage, union jobs.
All those people will have to live somewhere, and they will have to get in and out of the area. They will almost certainly *not* walk or bike to work, and they will sacrifice other things to be able to drive.
I put no value judgment on any of this. I do not live nor work in that area, but I have a lot of friends who do, and I visit the area often.
All I'm saying is that the sprawl will occur in that area, highway or not, and I don't see you disagreeing.
Born on the 5th of July @35: I didn't have the poll handy (or the time to search on-line), but yes I failed to pick up on the distinction between local and regional support for the highway. However, I still hold that the project has the most anemic support of any of the joint ballot projects and, more importantly, none of the opposing and only the supporting arguments for cross-base were tested.
And I also stand by my original contention that there is not much passion for the project among electeds or other interests, except for Ladenburg, the builders lobby and the Realtors (and if the highway would have no impact on sprawl, why do the builders and realtors care so much?). Yes, a lot of residents in the Frederickson/Spanaway area want cross-base, but as siwel pointed out, they always vote against taxes anyway.
And, if I'm so wrong about the politics of all this, why was the RTID exec committee so eager to throw the project out the window if it would buy the support of the environmental community?
"And there is very likely going to be regional governance reform next year – led by the folks from the Regional Transportation Commission"
Good! That sound like a reason to vote no. We need much better transportation system planning and execution. I don't trust the people designing RTID + ST2. The yo-yo's who have blown all transportation taxing/planning/construction in this region are THE SAME ONES trying to convince us they have a prudent plan now.
The parameters for taxing and spending untold billions of our tax dollars this measure would give future political appointees are WAY TOO INDEFINITE.
Bornonthe5thofJuly @ 34:
"Since these projects all emerged from community process and consensus..."
You've got to be kidding!!! These projects were selected the same way any other transportation project list is selected, from the top down with some opportunity for citizen comment. These projects have all been on various legislative, WSDOT, local elected and highway proponent wish lists for the last decade or two. Yes, there were public meetings, opportunities to submit written and oral comments, but it's not like the RTID board started off with a blank slate, going around asking neighborhood groups to tell them what to do.
To make such an absurd proposition makes me think you must be on the payroll of something associated with the joint ballot effort. Lately, I've been buying into the argument that it's worth holding my nose on the bad RTID projects (for now) to support the joint ballot to make sure we get started on light rail as soon as possible. But, when I see people associated with RTID showing an utter disregard for the quite valid climate change implications of these road projects, it makes me want to throw $100k into a no campaign, while working with Sierra Club to raise another $300 or 400k to blow this thing out of the water.
In all seriousness, if the joint ballot proponents keep denying any meaningful connection between road building and global warming pollution, it's going to drive a lot more of the environmental community and, more importantly, the grassroots members of our organizations, to oppose the measure in November.
Bill LaBorde at #7:
It will be very difficult to change the project list after an affirmative vote. If it includes four new general purpose lanes on I-405 between I-90 and Renton, its proponents will argue that they can go back on what the voters approved. The horse will be out of the barn and she will have the four lanes at about $1.2 billion. The RTID enabling legislation does not allow its funds to be spent on rail transit. It was written by state senators McDonald, Finkbinder, and Horn, all eastside Rs that wanted to expand I-405; its nickname was "Senate Bill 405". There were six transit projects eligible for RTID funding (e.g., HOV lanes, ramps, signal systems, P&R, buses, flyer stops). At the suggestion of TCC, construction mitigation service was added in a later session.
Question: how strong is the policy language you mention regarding pricing? The RTID cannot force tolling on the Governor and legislature. What assurance do we have?
Sales tax for I-405 expansion?
eddiew 45 errata: oops, it should be "cannot" in second sentence.
@45 - "It will be very difficult to change the project list after an affirmative vote." That isn't true. The scopes can change big time, and no final designs of these "projects" have been completed. Funds can be switched around inside the counties by the counties. RTID was DESIGNED to make sure no one in the future would be bound by what the voters were told.
Remember how ST dropped stations and shortened the light rail line after the 1996 vote? RTID is like that, only worse.
It will not be difficult for a county (say Pierce) to reallocate funds from one project to another (say, to the cross base highway).
The Pierce Co. council was nearly unanimous in selecting the Cross Base Highway as an included project. Although the preliminary funds from RTID allocated to it now are smaller than originally disclosed, that can change after the vote by the co. council and they have the votes. They'll make up the difference, either from the general fund or from a new tax down there.
The redundant highway you guys mention that is either 3 or 5 miles away from the crossbase footprint is NOT 512, it is the military owned and maintained (hint - no cost to taxpayers) Perimeter Road.
Perimeter Road is a two-lane road that connects the I-5 Thorne Lane interchange in Lakewood with Spanaway Loop Road via 150th Street. Spanaway Loop Road connects directly to 176th Street and is a straight shot to Frederickson. McChord Air Force base's new commercial gate is located off this road.
Perimeter Road is actually CROSSED by the proposed road and if crossbase is built, will be closed. Now, we have a road that follows the same path, costs nothing to taxpayers, and has no traffic congestion.
Ladenberg has consistently pretended this road doesn't exist, or could be closed at the discretion of the military. HELLO, if the military needed to shut down Perimeter Road for security reasons, how likely are they to want to leave open a 4-lane highway with no checkpoints, and within spitting distance of cargo planes landing full of soldiers and jet fuel?
Frederickson employs less than 3,000 people, did you realize that? Why doesn't every little town that has gridlock get its own personal highway to home? The crossbase is a total waste of our tax dollars, I hope the enviros are successful in beating this one, I'm gonna vote no just to help them out!
Either HOV lanes on SR 512, or improving Perimeter Rd with some safer shoulders, etc. - along with some improved transit service and improvement of the rail line to Frederickson - would do a lot to improve freight and people mobility in that corridor without the same environmental harm that would come from Cross-Base.
Thank you Erica for writing this article, as I was shocked to have heard that environmentalists changed their tune so quickly on this road project and the package. Although the money and the mileage may seem small, and I read Bill LaBorde's rationale for a compromise - it doesn't add up. If this package was not the time to take a stand that we cannot build brand new roads through rare remaining wild places and face up to the realities of climate change, when is? These packages come only every decade, and the details within them matter. This was a time to design transportation different, and it appears we are leaving the real choice up to the voters. This package does not have my vote.
"But, when I see people associated with RTID showing an utter disregard for the quite valid climate change implications of these road projects, it makes me want to throw $100k into a no campaign, while working with Sierra Club to raise another $300 or 400k to blow this thing out of the water. "
You have $100k to spend - on a political campaign? Where did you come across that kind of money?
Your statement sounds like the Ralph Nader threat to tank Al "Big Oil" Gore, so we could "really stick-it to those sell-out Dems" back in 2000. Man, did that turn out well, right?
What bugged me most about Nader in 2000 was the fact he pussyfooted around W, the epitome of Big Oil, and saved most of his vitriol for Gore, who had written a book call "Earth in the Balance" eight years earlier.
What makes my analogy even more relevant is the fact I never see these greens, or the rest of the "perfect kicks good's ass" folks, actually going after the REAL enemies of public transit www.secstate.wa.gov/elections/initiatives/legislature.aspx?y=2007 , good land use planning, etc. Instead, you guys bash on the people you should be trying to team up with.... progressives need to learn the other side is really good at putting aside their differences...which is the main reason they've been so successful at the ballot box, despite their highly unpopular and radical views.
While I can understand your frustration with the way these compromises end up, I'm tired of the constant refrain in this region that "if we just go back to the drawing board, and start another 2-4 year process...everything will work out better (ie, MY way).
Bill, I think you're missing the argument many of us are making. Most - including myself - are not "showing disregard" for the climate change implications of anything that involves an internal combustion engine.
I, personally, have fought the good fight for longer than many of you have been on this earth. I've engaged in the abovementioned "shoot yourself in the foot" method, and I've been involved in political compromises which didn't always turn out the way I had hoped or expected.
But, in all cases, I set aside personal frustrations and have tried to work for the common good. I applaud those who are ahead of the curve, and are trying to alert car-happy "green" Seattleites to the impending disaster brewing in their tailpipes, which is a direct result of the eight-decade love affair with the automobile. But to use this concern to pull another Nader-esque stunt, and take us all off the cliff...then I have to part ways with your approach.
In other words, those who are supportive of this "Roads and Transit" package simply recognize the obvious political reality which engulfs all of us. I have not seen a single argument from you - or ECB - or from anybody, for that matter, which makes me think the legislature or our elected (Democrat) leaders are going to give us anything better to vote on. And they CERTAINLY aren't going to give us anything next year, or possibly the year after.
I sincerely hope the people at RTID take your concerns seriously, and I hope car-happy greens across Seattle and the globe will start hearing the message that THEY are the problem. But the American (and especially left coast) obsession with the automobile is an addiction which isn't going to be broken overnight. And just like with any drug addict, the "war on drugs" (ie, attacking the supply) simply isn't going to work. In other words, the "no roads in my name" folks are going to have to figure out how to attack on the demand side: tolling, better transit alternatives, etc.
Eddiew's concerns with 4 lanes on 405 might be valid, but that part of the RTID package was set in motion over a decade ago, and set in stone several years ago. The other segments of the 405 project are already a done deal (thanks, in part, to enviro backing of I-912), so sticking your fingers in the dike to stop the last link is just plain dumb, and a waste of time.
And finally, Bill: if what you say is true, and you have a half million dollars to spend shooting down 50 miles of light rail (as well as some nice bus/HOV facilities) how's about using some of that money on getting car-happy Seattleites (your base) to get out of their damn cars? (the addiction analogy would be drug counseling rather than drug wars and prison). Since something like 90% of all Seattleites consider themselves to be environmentalists, the mailing lists of every environmental group in the area would be a good place to start.
Embracing actual and political gridlock is only going to empower the likes of Tim Eyman, who is very good at tapping into the self-interest obsessed Washingtonian.
I could go back to my original example of Ralph Nader supporters telling us "things have to get worse before they get better," but I'll spare you that last analogy.
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