You know that old “Did I just say that out loud?” trope, like when Homer Simpson reverses his inner and outer monologues to comic effect? Well, that’s kinda what happened to Ted Van Dyk when he absentmindedly revealed the true objective of “governance reform”:
It would not stop light rail construction in place, but it would limit construction to a line running from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to either Convention Place, Husky Stadium, or Northgate. Future funding would be focused more greatly on express bus, bus rapid transit, and normal bus service; dedicated transit lanes; HOV lanes; tolling; and selective repair and expansion of long neglected local roads and lifeline highways. Citywide trolleys definitely would not be part of the scheme.
See, that’s the sort of honest discussion of governance reform you might hear over foie gras and Chateau Lynch-Bages at the Rainier Club (or some crank and a dead hooker at the Discovery Institute,) but it wasn’t really meant for public consumption. Publicly, the goal sounds laudable — the creation of a four-county, elected, regional transportation commission “better able to make independent, cost-benefit-based proposals for balanced transportation systems” — while privately our region’s power elite have always understood governance to be a scheme for shifting infrastructure dollars from rail to roads.
Well, thanks to Van Dyk and his inability to distinguish between consensus and wishing, it’s gonna be a tad harder for backers to sneak governance reform through the legislature this session. My fellow bloggers are all over the issue (here, here and here) while Josh over at The Stranger has aptly labeled it “the New Prop 1.” Driving a stake through the heart of light rail is the kinda thing muckraking bloggers like me hold grudges over, especially now that the goal of governance reform has been clearly spelled out, so you can bet that politically ambitious legislators would be wise to think twice before blindly signing on to this pro-roads/anti-rail vision of our region’s transportation future.
In fact, what we really need to solve our transportation problems is less regionalism, not more, a thesis I intend to lay out in some detail over the coming days and weeks. Stay tuned.