Politics Re: Sims Takes No Position on Roads/Transit Initiative
posted by September 19 at 15:33 PMon
(UPDATE: My math was off in the initial post. I’ve changed it.)
I ran into Mike McGinn at city hall the other day, and he asked me where I was on the $17.8 billion roads/transit initiative.
McGinn, a leader of the Seattle chapter of the Sierra Club (ie, far left of the national chapter), is—just like the local Sierra Club—adamantly against the initiative.
Looking at the $7 billion that’s going to roads, which includes good things like repairs and bad things like pure expansion, the Sierra Club says that about 75 percent of that money is for the “bad” kind.
However, other environmental groups, like Transportation Choices Coalition, says only 37 percent of the roads money is for “bad” roads. TCC has endorsed the package because they think 37 percent is not too much of a bad thing in exchange for 50 new miles of light rail. And they argue that if the measure goes down, there’s no way a transit package on its own can come back next year.
McGinn and the Sierra Club are pushing for just that, arguing that Sound Transit should come back on its own in 2008. (Recent polling shows that voters oppose roads taxes more than they oppose transit taxes.)
Anyway, when McGinn asked me where I was on the package, I said this: While I don’t think it was initially the case that transit couldn’t come back in 2008 on its own, I think that has become the political reality because—for reasons I don’t quite get—Governor Gregoire does not want it on the ballot in 2008. (Maybe she’s worried that a transit initiative will bring out too many King County liberals? I’m only half joking.)
But since she’s reportedly dead against it: It’s not going to happen.
That’s what I told McGinn anyway. The political reality is that it won’t be on the ballot in 2008.
Here’s what McGinn said (very sarcastically): “Yeah, and the political reality was that there were only two solutions for the viaduct: A rebuild or a tunnel.”