Conservative bloggers need to read the package they’re criticizing

Don Ward:

Odds are the Sound Transit/RTID proposal is going to be shot down this November under the weight of its own hubris. In 2008 (or sooner) Republican candidates need to all get together in one big ceremony, focusing on one big issue, relieving traffic congestion, with one big list of transportation priorities they will pass when elected. And pound it over and over again.

It needs to be a list of specific projects that people see and understand. The 405/167 interchange, 520 floating bridge, adding lanes to I-5 in Everett. (Others can chime in here) Just as long as there is some funding for multimodal transportation options – increased bus service, ride-share, carpool, etc. – it should be a winner.

Don hasn’t read the Sound Transit/RTID package. How do I know?

Because all that stuff is in it. Whether it’s 520, 167, 405, more buses, more carpool lanes, more ridesharing, it’s already in the package. Don hasn’t read the package, but you can.

If you want to know what’s in the Sound Transit/RTID package, you can look here, here, or here.

Don wants to wait until 2008 to address these critical roads projects. If the 2007 ST/RTID package fails at the polls, don’t expect to see another ballot measure for four more years. I seriously doubt a single lawmaker will want to go to voters on a “roads only” package in a presidential/gubernatorial election year.

Besides, Don doesn’t know his history. Referendum 51 failed miserably at the polls because lefty environmental groups and anti-tax activists opposed it. The whole reason Sound Transit and RTID were joined was to make sure the asphalt guys and the transit guys had to support it! That’s why Reagan Dunn and Shawn Bunney, both conservatives, are supporting the package. Meanwhile, light rail is planned to go north to Lynnwood, south to Tacoma, and east to Redmond (or at least Overlake, depending on how much money has to be spent in Bellevue).

Instead of supporting a package that does the things he wants done, Don would rather scrap it for a plan that’ll never happen. The GOP base will never acquiesce to more taxes to fix roads and build transit infrastructure. They don’t have to.

Because the voters will.

Comments

  1. 1

    michael spews:

    51 failed because it was an old-school, pork-barrel project that was chock-full of waste. Which was WHY the anti-tax folks and us tree-huggers could join together and shoot it down.

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    If peripatetic reporter Don Ward read a newspaper once in a while, he might have seen in today’s Everett Herald that WSDOT just added an I-5 lane in Everett, which is producing immediate results in terms of relieving rush-hour congestion.

  3. 3

    K spews:

    A problem with packages like this is that in order to get broad support, that are cobbles together with a little for Seattle, some for the Eastside a bit of transit and maybe some bike lanes. Then Michael can make his comments.

  4. 4

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Ward’s clarion call for Republicans to support a transportation package is kind of ironic considering that we got where we are in part because of 10 years of GOP obstruction of ANY transportation investment while they controlled the state senate. What finally broke the transportation logjam in this state was eliminating the Republican majority in the state senate. Once that was done, it took the Democratic legislative majorities and the Democratic governor only a few weeks to get the ball rolling on defining the region’s top transportation priorities, funding them, and taking the first steps toward construction.

  5. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    You want to get something done, you gotta hire Democrats to do it!

    Republicans = No Tax! – No Way! – No How! obstructionists.

  6. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    However, I will vote against this fall’s Sound Transit/RTID package for several reasons:

    1) Too many taxes on people who don’t commute (e.g., senior citizens on fixed incomes), not enough user fees (e.g., gas taxes, tolls);

    2) Too much gold-plating of big-ticket projects (e.g., 520 bridge);

    3) Incomplete funding (e.g., this tax package is only a down payment, and they will be back later for more).

    As I’ve been saying all along, the transportation planners should focus on essential core projects, build them as economically as possible, and get the money from the people who will use the transportation infrastructure and can afford to pay for it.

  7. 7

    SFS spews:

    If RTID fails I assume the Legislature will kill it. They’ve waited several years for the RTID group to come up with a package and they have barely come up with one they can agree on.

    My fear is with the Eyman initiative and the health insurance referendum conservatives will come in droves to this election and kill RTID also.

  8. 8

    FricknFrack, Seattle spews:

    I’ll probably vote against, as well. The Mayor’s office and Sims are practically salivating at all the new/replacement property tax levies they have planned for us AT THE SAME TIME in the two fall elections. Might run to the addl postage kind of absentee vote because they’re revving up the agenda.

    I rarely drive, fill up my tank every 4-5 months, even have out of town guests take the bus with me. So WHY am I supposed to lose my home due to every levy they can drum up to stuff a ballot? (I know, we’ve got to support poor fellas like Paul Allen/Vulcan with his Commons replacement schemes). Perhaps it’s “Levy Fatigue”? Sorry folks, I can appreciate the pain. But I’ve lived here so many years, paid my taxes, WHY am I the one being run out of town?

    So that they can have a new Zoo garage and cater weddings? Take the Bus folks, that’s what I’ve always managed to do.

  9. 9

    spews:

    @ 6

    There are lots of tolls in this package. Transportation planners ARE focusing on the big ones. The gas tax increases provided funding for these projects. But not all the funding. This package finishes funding many of them. The only one in question is 520, which will have tolls on it.

    @ 8

    Sims’ parks levy is about a 20 dollar increase for the average homeowner. While every dollar counts, that twenty bucks buys a lot of new parks for the next generation of residents.

    It’s great that you like the bus over rail. It’s a shame you’d let your dislike of Paul Allen prevent real transportation solutions. There is a certain attitude towards Paul Allen that borders on lunacy.

  10. 10

    FricknFrack, Seattle spews:

    @9 Then call me a lunatic. This mayor’s been in bed FAR too long with Vulcan. Just ask what the costs of the Lake Union substation/transmission City Light costs are going to be! Probably you don’t care to know. The costs of the needed silly streetcar for less than 2 miles might give you a clue.

    As far as the mere “20 dollar increase for the average homeowner”. Just another of what I call “it’s ONLY’s”. You know the 3-times yearly calls: “It’s not a NEW levy, It’s ONLY another XXXamount of bucks”. For retirees living on a fixed income (with well over 17 “it’s only” levies we’re forking out for, I lost count last elections). I know, probably most folks would prefer that Seattle become only a town of the Rich and the Restless. I’m still entitled to my opinion since I’m one of the smucks paying for all those levies. Getting married at the Zoo soon, Goldy?

  11. 11

    FricknFrack, Seattle spews:

    ETA at #10, should of said “Will” when questioning if he was “Going to the Chapel” sort of thing. My Bad.

  12. 12

    michael spews:

    As much as I disagree with The Puget Sound Regional Council they are doing what they’re doing the right way, increasing density, adding mass transit Etc. The 2007 ST/RTID package is inline with what PSRC is doing and I’ll most likely vote for it while working to moderate its worst aspects. There’s a lot of room between voting implementation.

    http://www.psrc.org/

    ‘Corse if I’ve been drinking and something about ST/RTID comes up on HA you can bet I’ll be railing against it with all my beer-addled might. Feel free to comment about my drunkenness if (more like when) this happens.

    R-51 was a pig and deserved to die.

  13. 13

    Don Joe spews:

    RR

    As I’ve been saying all along, the transportation planners should focus on essential core projects, build them as economically as possible, and get the money from the people who will use the transportation infrastructure and can afford to pay for it.

    But that would require people like MtWR to pay their gambling debts.

  14. 15

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @9 Paul Allen is merely a lousy businessman. He’s gone through roughly half of his Microsoft stash on failed businesses and bad investments.

  15. 16

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @13 “But that would require people like MtWR to pay their gambling debts.”

    No, it wouldn’t. Personally, I think that particular case should be turned over to a Mafia collection agency.

  16. 17

    klake spews:

    • Deliberately off-topic comments (except in “open threads”), as well as pointless comments on these comments.

    Roger Rabbit says:

    @13 “But that would require people like MtWR to pay their gambling debts.”

    No, it wouldn’t. Personally, I think that particular case should be turned over to a Mafia collection agency.

    07/27/2007 at 11:10 pm

  17. 18

    Dan Rather spews:

    Republicans = No Tax! – No Way! – No How! obstructionists.

    So…We repubs pride ourselves on that mantra. Of course on the flip side you will never hear a donk claim they are for taxes. The last dem who did was Mondale and he carried the Discrict of Columbia and had to cheat to carry his home state in a blow out election. Democrats have to lie to get into office.

  18. 19

    spews:

    @ 10

    The streetcar was financed primarily through a local improvement district. While it seems somewhat rinky-dink, it’s a shrewd move. It’ll show how the technology is worth expanding. With the viaduct coming down sometime in the future, some folks are thinking about expanding the streetcar through my neighborhood, which I think is GREAT.

    As for Paul Allen: Voters rejected the Commons TWICE, so Paul Allen, instead of donating land towards a park, is developing it. Someone was going to develope this land EVENTUALLY. As the area becomes more dense, infrastructure will be need, Paul Allen or no Paul Allen. If SLU land owners really wanted to keep Paul Allen from developing the property, they never should have sold it to him!

  19. 20

    FricknFrack, Seattle spews:

    @ 19

    Goodness Will. Do you work for Vulcan? Have contracts? Seem to have serious needs to justify. Just curious here.

    When do ya suppose the waterfront trolley/streetcar will be back in place since the tourists really LIKED that puppy?

  20. 21

    spews:

    I don’t work for Vulcan. Or have any business with them.

    See, there you go! Always assuming some dark conspiracy is at work.

    Developer Greg Smith is putting up a building that’ll have apartments, stores, and a maintenance facility for the WT. But viaduct construction might put that thing out of service for much longer. I think the thing will be on hiatus for some time to come. I’d personally like to see that line updated and connected to the one at South Lake Union. But who knows. That drama pales in comparison to how important the ST/RTID measure is to the region.

  21. 22

    Articulated spews:

    “There are lots of tolls in this package.”

    Wrong, Will. Tolls are only referenced, in RTID’s blueprint for progress, as a potential funding source for SR 520. No tolls have been approved by the State. The only thing this ballot measure would do is start imposing the wrong kind of taxes for indefinite periods.

    Humor me, Will. Estimate how much total sales tax RTID and ST would receive authority to take out of our community over the next fifty years. Hint: nothing you’ve linked to comes close to providing that number. If you can’t post an estimate of that number – and my guess is you won’t even try because it is so huge – then you have no business flogging this particular proposal.

    Bear in mind, I LIKE trains.

  22. 23

    spews:

    @ 22

    If tolls have to be approved by the legislature, I don’t see them not approving them.

    We can have a debate over the efficacy of using the sales tax to fund rail. But that’s changing the subject.

  23. 24

    Don Ward spews:

    Dude. Try reading comprehension man. Doing so at an eighth grade level can be hard but I have faith in you Will. You can do it!!!

    Operative word in those two paragraphs is “after” ST/RTID gets shot down. From what I’ve seen, neither side likes it much and if the measure were a game offered at The ‘Shoot the safe bet would be under.

    So “after” it fails on the ballot, which is likely to happen, the first party to cherry pick the good ideas from the plan and offer them in a comprehensive legislative package will, in my opinion, do good at the polls.

    As I mentioned later in my piece, I’m not exactly a big fan of direct-democracy voter Initiatives and such and am not be very thrilled with legislators who punt their constitutional duties to the electorate every time a hard decision needs to be made.

    But nice try. Oh, and Will. We both know my reading of history surpasses yours. So don’t go there.

  24. 25

    spews:

    Don,

    I don’t know what makes you think voters are going to be MORE willing to vote for a GOP “roads-only” package in 2008 (or ever), especially since light rail out polls roads head-to-head. A “roads-only” package will die, just like R-51. (You can insult my reading of history all you like, but I’m not the guy advocating for a rerun of R-51)

    Why would voters wait years to fix things that’ll be fixed by a yes vote this fall?

  25. 26

    Don Ward spews:

    Will,
    What does R-51 have anything to do with the price of tea and electing legislators who will, you know, legislate?

    Roads and cars might not be popular with folks living in the 43rd District but out in the battleground suburbs, they’re still the biggest game in town. If you left Seattle, you’d know this.
    The notion of putting folks in office and who’ll do X, Y and Z in Olympia is a scary notion to consider in an age when after the toilet paper runs out in the capitol restrooms, a ballot measure has to be floated to decide the color of TP needed to replace the roll.

  26. 27

    spews:

    Don,

    I was assuming you’d go to the ballot. If not…

    Sen. Cheryl Pflug already tried to reprogram some of the light rail money and move it to freeways. She didn’t get any traction.

    Don, suburban Democrats DO want to do something about roads. But they also support Sound Transit’s light rail plans.

  27. 28

    Articulated spews:

    Aren’t you two cute. Will casts the November RTID election as purely partisan. Don follows suit, and posts some inane “plan” he claims would comprise the Republican response if RTID loses. Hogwash, Don and Will.

    They’re both playing to pander to partisan sentiments. They give short shrift to the real economic impacts of using sales taxes without limit or end.

    RTID and ST2 would be bad to approve because of the way they could abuse their unlimited taxing rights.

    The complete absence of any appropriate limits on how much is spent on what guarantees abuse.

    Think of other people in your community. Trains can be paid for by other than sales taxes. Let those benefitting directly from rail pay a greatly higher percentage of the costs: certain employers, certain commuters, certain developers, certain manufacturers, and certain heavy commercial users of roadway capacity.

    This ballot measure is designed primarily to give power and money (via spending authority) to key political party regulars.

    RTID-ST is designed to make enormous cash and patronage contracting authority available right now to political duopoly insiders. Taxpayers are set up to be screwed.

    This ballot measure lacks any meaningful terms that taxpayers could use to protect themselves from corrupt or stupid appointees on ST’s board. That’s no way to run a government.

    Piss on Will and Don. The R’s have zero chance of forwarding any agenda, irrespective of the outcome of the November vote. Do NOT vote yes because you are a D. The premise of their bitchy little exchange here is a confection.

    Decide your vote on whether you REALLY think all the political hacks who get themselves appointed to these boards during the next three decades will value the taxpayers’ interests.

    What they’ll be doing is spending tax money to enrich themselves and their friends. That’s all they’ll have to worry about doing. No downside for fucking up, not delivering transit services, not building SR 520 efficiently or well, etc.

    Vote NO because this appointee-government model is way too subject to abuse. Who believes these clowns could get SR 520 done right if we ensure they’re never accountable?

    We’ve seen Sound Transit not deliver light rail. SMP’s board was forced off itself because it was a frikkin disaster. No more of that, vote no in November. Don’t subject us to it. Don’t burden those who come after with merciless sales taxes that political appointees will misspend out of bad motives and innocent ineptness.

  28. 30

    thor spews:

    Love it or hate the transit ballot measure this fall, the fact is that if people turn it down it’ll be back again, but it will just cost more later. I’m voting for it. I’m sick of the transportation “debate.” Put your money down and move on. It is cheaper now than it is ever going to be. It has warts, but everything does. It is time to move on.

    I don’t buy the idea that if it fails this year it won’t be back. Horse pucky. These projects we’re voting on have been run through the mill. They are not going away. Get ‘em done and turn our attention to other stuff.

    Barring a major strike of lightening, the thing is going to pass.

  29. 31

    Horace Greely spews:

    @30: Completely faulty premise. It might cost less later.

    If there is a recession in China, raw materials would cost less here. If there is a massive local recession, labor costs will drop, financing costs would drop, etc. Also, if RTID does not pass, the State would do the SR 520 work for example. If it issues bonds (not RTID), there would be significantly lower costs because of the State’s credit rating. Also, ST might reduce some costs (take out tunnel in Bellevue, make Microsoft pay for the extension to Redmond, etc.). Lots of things could make the cost less in two years.

  30. 32

    Manny spews:

    Roger Rabbit always gets on thin ice the second he deviates from his comedy routine:

    -1) Too many taxes on people who don’t commute (e.g., senior citizens on fixed incomes), not enough user fees (e.g., gas taxes, tolls)-

    The tolling is there, and the tolling is assumed for all new mega-projects. As if the retired and the unemployed don’t depend on a decent transportation network, too. EARTH TO ROGER: it’s a REGIONAL ECONOMY. Look into it. BTW, you may also check to see where those carrots you just ate came from (hint – not a horse-drawn cart).

    I find it quite ironic Roger Rabbit starts sounding like a self-centered conservative whenever this issue comes up.

    -2) Too much gold-plating of big-ticket projects (e.g., 520 bridge);-

    Riigghhht. You keep saying this Roger Rabbit, but you never explain where the gold plating is. Let me guess – like Don Ward, you haven’t read the project plan yourself.

    -3) Incomplete funding (e.g., this tax package is only a down payment, and they will be back later for more).-

    Wrong again – but like the clueless ignorant talk show R’s you love to bash, you could care less if you’re statement is accurate or not. All you know is you’re against it – and that’s all you need to know, right Roger?

    And even if you were right, I get a kick out of your blatantly self-contradictory position: on one hand, you’re saying the project list is TOO EXPENSIVE and on the other hand you’re trying to tell us MORE MONEY NEEDS TO GO INTO THE MOST EXPENSIVE PROJECT ON THE LIST. Like I said, rabbit – stick to your usual schtick.

    -As I’ve been saying all along, the transportation planners should focus on essential core projects, build them as economically as possible, and get the money from the people who will use the transportation infrastructure and can afford to pay for it. -

    Yay, more Kingdomes for everybody! And more floating bridges done on the cheap, with no bike/ped lanes, inadequate ramps, no turn-out lanes, etc. Also ironic: it’s RR’s “build it on the cheap” approach which is what got us into this mess in the first place.

    Nothin’ like repeating the same mistakes over and over and over again….

  31. 33

    Manny spews:

    -Roads and cars might not be popular with folks living in the 43rd District but out in the battleground suburbs, they’re still the biggest game in town.-

    Don Ward continues to prove Will’s theory is correct. But not only has Don Ward avoided reading the plan, he also hasn’t seen a single poll. Had he ready any one of a number of legitimate polls done over the past three years, he would know light rail polls as high as any mega freeway project out there, including 520. Doesn’t matter whether you’re in Ballard or Bellevue.

    -So “after” it fails on the ballot, which is likely to happen, the first party to cherry pick the good ideas from the plan and offer them in a comprehensive legislative package will, in my opinion, do good at the polls. -

    Wow, Don. Your grammatical skills are almost as bad as your ability to formulate a strong argument. Good thing you aren’t a political writer, or anything!!!

    The cherry picking already happened. The project list is full of highly popular roads and transit projects. Try analyzing a real survey, and then get back to us with your head-in-the-sand approach to gauging public opinion.

    But at least Dori Monson and Tim Eyman agree with you.

    In fact, Don Ward, here’s a simple question: on which data did you base your opinion that the November ballot “won’t pass?” Just a wild guess, like Eyman and Dori used?

    Maybe you polled three of your far-right anti-tax buddies: Stefan, John Carlson and Bob Williams? Maybe Kemper Freeman and his goons?

  32. 34

    Manny spews:

    -Think of other people in your community. Trains can be paid for by other than sales taxes. Let those benefitting directly from rail pay a greatly higher percentage of the costs: certain employers, certain commuters, certain developers, certain manufacturers, and certain heavy commercial users of roadway capacity. -

    That is some kind of ornate conspiracy theory you’ve concocted, Articulated.

    If I were to apply your loony theories to paying for…say…the invasion and occupation of Iraq, how would this work out? Who would pay for that boondoggle under your financial regime?

    How did so many crazy people get internet connections, anyways?

  33. 35

    Manny spews:

    -But nice try. Oh, and Will. We both know my reading of history surpasses yours. So don’t go there. -

    History? I thought we were talking about a ballot measure coming up this November?

    Will, notice how Don Ward never confirmed nor denied your theory that he hasn’t read the plan and knows very little about this subject at all.

    It is seriously funny to watch ignorant Republicans dance around the central question, hoping folks will ignore their willful ignorance. Seen that I-5 expansion in Everett yet, Don?

    I mean, geez, Don Ward – you coulda just lied and said “I read the plan, and you’re wrong because x, y, z” Or, you coulda spent 5 minutes glancing over the plan, and at least TRYING to pretend you know what you’re talking about.

    But, noooooooo. Instead all we’re treated to is this concept that “it’s going to fail at the ballot.” And then you managed to walk away with your ignorance in tact.

    Congrats, Don Ward. Impressive.