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Monday, July 21, 2008


posted by on July 21 at 13:25 PM

Opponents to Tim Eyman’s Initiative 985 (which would eliminate HOV lanes for most of the day, divert city, county and state funding toward road-building projects, eliminate a state-funded public art program, and redirect millions toward the state auditor’s office) are running a smart campaign against the half-baked initiative. Instead of attacking it on environmental grounds (which might sell well in Seattle but still fail to win enough “no” votes to kill 985 statewide), they’re highlighting the fact that the initiative would siphon $127 million a year from the state’s general fund—a fund that pays, primarily, for education and health care. In a press release from the No! on I-985 Campaign, Bill LaBorde—state director for Environment Washington and a whip-smart environmental lobbyist—called I-985 “an initiative that promises everything for nothing.”

Even if you buy the argument that we can build our way out of congestion, $127 million a year doesn’t do much building but it sure takes lots of valuable funding away from kids and sick people. With that $127 million you could either educate more than 16,000 kids in our public schools, or you could add maybe a mile of new freeway in the Puget Sound area. You could provide health insurance coverage for 40,000 children, or you could build a ramp on a new interchange.

It’s a smart strategy—pitting roads not against transit or conservation, but against kids and sick people without health insurance. Will it play in Eastern Washington? Hard to say, but it’s a far smarter tactic than trying to get folks in Spokane to care about smog in Seattle.

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ECB- thanks for the coverage. you are correct, Bill LaBorde is a "whip-smart environmental lobbyist". I would trade 40,000 kids with health care for most interchange ramps.

Posted by Lawrence Molloy | July 21, 2008 1:35 PM

Medicine and schoolbooks: expensive, but peanuts compared to concrete.

Posted by cdc | July 21, 2008 1:45 PM

How does this initiative not violate the single subject rule? Has that been changed or am i just confused. Haven't several of Eyman's prior initiatives been voided because of that issue? Has he still not learned how to write a initiative since that has been his only job the last decade?

Posted by vooodooo84 | July 21, 2008 2:01 PM

Wow, you almost hope this passes so that so few people have access to our arterials that nobody would turn down a light rail vote.

Help traffic? FAIL
Sensible funding? FAIL

All Eyman proposals are trash. He is feeding off your ignorance. This is like putting a candy bar in a fat kid's hand saying, you know you want it...

Posted by CP | July 21, 2008 2:05 PM

Timmy just plain hates America and our state in particular. It's all about him and his fundraising to pay his second mortgage.

Want a cheaper commute?

Take the bus.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 21, 2008 2:07 PM

Actually, scratch that metaphor. It's more serious than a cute chubby kid.

This is more like giving a carton of cigarettes to someone trying to quit.

Posted by CP | July 21, 2008 2:08 PM

I expect Timmy will be here soon to tell us all how crazy we are.

What a horse's ass. I-985 is retarded and if it passes, it'll get overturned, but I doubt it will pass.

Posted by Lobot | July 21, 2008 2:09 PM

$127M/year, huh? That would be the amount by which revenue from road-use-fees currently exceeds spending on roads? Which would mean we drivers are not only covering the cost of our own infrastructure, but also chipping in an extra $127M/year for all the loosers who can't afford to pay for themselves? Maybe you could send us a thank-you note, sometime.

Posted by David Wright | July 21, 2008 2:14 PM

I hope Tim does read the Slog today, because I'd like to have the chance to ask him if anyone anywhere has ever reduced congestion, either with the tactics in I-985 or by any means at all. Surely there must be one example of congestion reduction we can look to.

David Wright, can you answer for Tim if he isn't around?

(I'm pretty sure that schooling and health care has been demonstrated to work sometime somewhere, unlike congestion reduction.)

Posted by elenchos | July 21, 2008 2:20 PM

Osama tim Eyman hates your children.

Posted by DOUG. | July 21, 2008 2:27 PM

Elenchos, congestion relief has been successfully achieved in lots of places. There is a foolproof mechanism.

It's called "economic collapse".

If Boeing, Microsoft, Paccar, Safeco, Weyerhauser and Washington Mutual all went out of business, congestion could easily be reduced to 1950 levels. Housing would become a lot cheaper, too. See Detroit for a good example.

Other than that, no.

Posted by Fnarf | July 21, 2008 3:18 PM

The only thing Tim hates is poverty -- his. Whatever public spirit he may have once had, he's in the initiative business now to support himself and his family.

He's discovered that people will send him money when he has an initiative on the street or on the ballot. Subject matter matters not -- it's his living now.

In addition to limiting HOV lanes to only 30 hours a week, I-985 applies that limitation also to bus lanes, under Tim's definition. Metro would have to open up the SODO Busway during all but weekday peak periods. What would this accomplish? Nothing but confusion, but it's in Tim's initiative.

Metro might even have to open up the downtown Seattle bus tunnel, under a strict reading of the initiative.

Crazy? Yes, but it puts food on Tim's table, so it's OK by him

Posted by Transit Guy | July 21, 2008 3:19 PM

@12- kinda like each and every other politician. No? (But at least he's not on the State or Federal pay roll.)

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | July 21, 2008 3:35 PM

fnarf - Detroit has the 8th worst congestion according to Texas Transportation Institute - Seattle is 19th explain again how that economic congestion ratio works.

Posted by ouch | July 21, 2008 4:03 PM

Probably meant Flint, not Detroit. Same difference.

But if it's got to be done, it's got to be done. The people want their congestion relief and if it means destroying every job and thousands of families seeking economic refuge in other regions, so be it. Can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs. Am I right?

Those of us of independent means shall cruise Seattle's wide open, empty boulevards in style once all the congestion-inducing jobs have been exterminated. Vote no on I-985 and let's get to work on some real congestion relief!

Posted by elenchos | July 21, 2008 4:14 PM

Hmm, still no posts from Timmy.

Maybe he enlisted finally?

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 21, 2008 4:20 PM

oh el it's so cute when you and fnarf are one. Detroit metro 4.5 million - Flint total county 450,000 yup same difference.

Posted by ouch | July 21, 2008 9:02 PM

Ok, fine ouch you win. Nothing, not even massive layoffs, will relieve congestion. Or whatever you're trying to say.

Posted by elenchos | July 22, 2008 10:38 AM

So it costs 127 million $ to build an on-ramp? Leave it to ECB to pull statistics out of her a**. Or perhaps she'd actually like to quote or hot-link to this mythical on-ramp paved in gold?

Posted by montex | July 22, 2008 11:53 AM

Are you all serious. Chris Gregoire gives away $140,000,000. to tribes that no other state has and you (the greenies) are whining about 127,000,000 a sensible transportation proposal will cost. Where were you (greenies) for the children when Chris gave away the $140,000,000??

Posted by Charlie | July 22, 2008 9:08 PM

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