Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Voices for Proposition 1

From the chorus of voices raised over Proposition 1, here are excerpts from some statements that bring both light and heat to the subject:
As to the zealotry in our community, the salvation-in-cycling cult has been joined by the cars-are-evil crowd in implacable opposition to improving the roadways, the down-with-light-rail adherents who insist more buses are the answer to our needs, the anti-tax disciples who decry anything that costs money and the global-warming prophets who denounce the whole business as an effort that will simply hasten the day of ecological doom. It's hard to hear any dispassionate voices in what ought to be an intense but levelheaded discussion about our region's future...

A decade ago, Sound Transit was considered a disaster. Currently, it is hailed as a public enterprise that gets things done. Much of the credit, even Sound Transit critics acknowledge, goes to Joni Earl, Sound Transit's CEO, who took over an agency with "a lousy reputation" and is credited with its near complete turnaround. Earl happens to be a public servant who turned down a raise five years ago based on her exceptional performance because Sound Transit had not achieved two major milestones it had set for itself....

She points out...two unarguable facts in all of this: Droves of people continue to move into our midst every year and we've delayed coming to grips with our transportation needs for far too long. No plan is perfect but now is the time, she says, to get on with it; "It's only going to get more expensive
if we delay."

Hubert G. Locke, The Seattle P-I

Prop 1 certainly moves us in the right direction, adding long overdue regional funding for transit and roads. Without "some for each" this effort would fail. As the primary source for Sound Transit, the regional funding in "Prop 1" will dedicate $10.8 billion toward a solution and as a secondary funding source for roads, this measure will add $7 billion toward long overdue progress.

Some of these projects have been "on the books" for a very long time. If not now, when? It took leadership this long to agree on this proposition. If we don't fund it with a yes vote, how do we expect our Puget Sound traffic nightmare to ever end?

Pat Maddock, Tacoma-Pierce County Association of REALTORS

There's a reality for business owners across the central Puget Sound: More than $1.4 billion a year is being sucked out of this region as we idle in a traffic morass judged the nation's 19th worst by the Texas Transportation Institute. And things could get much worse.

State Auditor Brian Sonntag's performance audit of the Washington State Department of Transportation clearly predicts what happens if this November's Roads and Transit package (Proposition 1) is rejected: The measure's failure would "far more than double the current level of congestion" on our roadways.

Far more than double the current level of congestion. That's why after thoroughly examining the $17.8 billion Roads and Transit package, Washington Roundtable members and a broad spectrum of other businesses are confident that, dollar for dollar, its benefits far outweigh its costs.

Confidence is an important concept here. First, we are confident in our region's long-term economic prospects. We are confident that our businesses can continue to produce jobs that pay family wages and grow a tax base that pays for essential services like transportation. But we must make key investments to our aging transportation infrastructure.

Steve Mullin, Washington Roundtable