Monday, December 31, 2007

Another Voice: Shawn Bunney

There's already been some Sturm und Drang across the blogosphere regarding Shawn Bunney's recent letter to Washington Governor Christine Gregoire, in which he blames King County Executive Ron Sims and The Seattle Times for the defeat of the Roads & Transit package in November. The letter was sent November 28th and widely disseminated around Pierce County, even being incorporated into Bunney's year-end report to his constituents.

Bunney's been involved in the regional struggle over transportation funding as chair for the Regional Transportation Investment District (RTID), the agency whose mission was to develop the roads portion of the package. The letter is certainly a brash one--some might say its tone is downright nasty--and it ends with a request for Gregoire to embrace transportation needs more widely dispersed than just King County.

In the letter, Bunney attacks Seattle and King County interests for grabbing--and continuing now to grab for--an inordinate share of the region's revenues for mobility investments:
I am sure that before voters went to bed on election night some Seattle legislators were busy ramping up for another raid of the region's roads funds... funds they say are for a $4.4 billion "Safety" project called the 520 Bridge.

This is the same group that siphoned $700 million in gas taxes out of Pierce County in the past 15 years.

We heard this same story yet again in 2006 when the same Seattle interests took almost $400 million out of Pierce County wallets to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct; a viaduct, it turns out, not wanted by Seattle because it blocks the view.
Certainly Bunney's argument has merit--as has been previously observed by this blog, Pierce County (and every other county in the state save one) has been shorted its fair share of funding, as in 2005 when the Transportation Partnership package delivered 65% of the statewide revenues to King County. That's a sure sticking point which any effort to develop a new regional package will have to address before it can move forward.