Politics “Drive Until You Qualify”
posted by June 15 at 13:16 PMon
The new sound bite from Republicans who support sprawl is “Drive Until You Qualify.” It’s their clever way of defending roads expansion and catering to exurban development.
Supporting the $904 million on I-405 expansion in this November’s regional transportation plan (the same plan that Seattle voters must vote for if they also want to expand Sound Transit light rail) GOP King County Council Member Reagan Dunn told the Seattle Times:
The I-405 project, especially, will improve traffic for people who must “drive until you qualify” for affordable suburban homes, said King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn. “The benefits are real. It will help young people; it will help our future,” he said.
His point is: People can’t afford to live (“live” meaning big houses, big yards, two car garages) in the city and so, to provide affordable housing we have to provide roads for them.
It’s a clever bit of demagoguery because it plays to the truth that yes, housing is becoming more and more expensive in Seattle. However, the GOP solution is a Catch-22. The more you drive people out to the ‘burbs, the more you keep Seattle from addressing its housing and transportation crisis, because suburban development takes dollars and developers away from transit and in-fill density.
I argued in my column this week that anyone who fills in the bubble for 50 new miles of light rail this November thinking they’re voting for the environment is also filling in the bubble for sprawl and environmental degradation.
Dunn seconds that point by making it clear what the $17 billion ST/RTID package is really all about.