Friday, November 02, 2007

Prop 1 Campaign Cash--and Rhetoric--Continues to Mount

Those for and against Proposition 1 (the Roads & Transit proposal) have raised more than $4.9 million in cash and in-kind contributions, dwarfing fundraising for the three previous statewide transportation measures. Backers have raised and spent nearly 84 percent of the money, $4.1 million, as the measure faces what is expected by both sides to be a close vote.

The Seattle media seemed to rally a bit in support of the proposition, with the Seattle Times editorial columnist Lance Dickie opining:

Tuesday's election is adorned with black crepe, but I will not be surprised if a three-county package of highway and Sound Transit improvements wins approval.

Wishful thinking? Nope, not even civic optimism. Voters idling off $3-a-gallon gasoline in traffic feel stranded and they want choices. They know it is long past time to get started.

That's a far cry from yesterday's rail-bashing (at least south of Tukwila) editorial by Bruce Ramsey.

Even farther was Joel Connelly's column in the Post-Intelligencer:

As folks decide on Prop. 1..."No" side partisans are freely giving assurances of a brighter tomorrow if the voters refuse to jump for this package of steep taxes.

Sierra Club leaders told me over lunch that Sound Transit can come back with a light rail-only proposal. An editorial writer with Seattle's duller daily opined that local officials will hammer together a more modest proposal.

"Neither one of them is right. ... I don't see anything on the ballot in 2008. I do not see how Sound Transit could go back next year," said state Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, chairwoman of the Senate Transportation Committee.

"Congestion pricing" is the new catchphrase, on tongues ranging from King County Executive Ron Sims to professional naysayers on the political right. But do not ask for whom the tolls will be rung up, or what agency gets to pocket them.

In other words, there is no viable alternative to Roads & Transit--RAMP's position from the beginning of this campaign.