Monday, February 25, 2008

The Rich Get Richer

Now comes the time when Pierce County reaps its unjust rewards.

The failure of Proposition One last fall can be fairly laid to the feet of King County politicos who either lead or passively allowed action to defeat an opportunity for regionally coordinated road and transit planning and improvements.

Now, that example of regional leadership is being rewarded by the legislative transportation budget. The House transportation budget HB 2878 clearly takes money from Pierce County and gives it to the 520 bridge project. Examples:

  • While the Governor's budget proposed $300 million for SR-167, the House budget, HB 2878, cuts that to $114.720 million. Other funds were supposed to come from an anticipated container tax, which thankfully appears to be dead.
  • The Port of Tacoma interchange with Interstate 5 has been delayed.
  • The SR-704 Cross-Base Highway has been FURTHER delayed.

The regional perspective seems lost on most newspapers. Both the Seattle Times and the Seattle PI focused on the potential for early tolls on the 520 bridge and gave no attention to where the subsidy came from. Only The News Tribune examined the source of the massive flow of funds to the King County project.

As an aside, some $40 million has been earmarked for the Murray Morgan Bridge from the Puyallup's land claims settlement fund. This is understood to be in addition to any monies from the proposed 0.2% increase in the sales tax to be apportioned from the state's share of sales tax monies.