Not much consolation for the anti-government folk, but at least Initiative 912 campaign manager Brett Bader gets a guest column in today’s Seattle Times.
I can honestly say that the elation I-912 supporters felt after the historic qualification of the measure in July was matched, at the opposite end of the spectrum, by the deep disappointment we experienced after the tax-cut initiative’s failure at the polls on Nov. 8.
Yeah… well, I appreciate your honesty, Brett. There’s a first time for everything.
The rest of his column is the usual bullshit. “Will WSDOT be able to rebuild trust with voters?” Bader asks, a particularly amusing query coming from a guy who has made a career out of destroying the public’s trust in WSDOT. And a high paying career at that; as of the last disclosure report, Bader’s consulting firm had received over $97,000, nearly one-third of all the campaign’s expenditures.
My question is, will Bader ever be able to rebuild trust with reporters, who by now must be awfully tired of the lazy spin he constantly tosses in their direction? Take for example his closing dig at WSDOT and the gas tax hike:
Now that gas taxes have been raised 14.5 cents a gallon and billions more will be flowing from the new diesel tax and new license and weight fees, we can see if things, instead, start to get better.
But, with news that an $800,000 bike lane in Moses Lake will be the first project built with the rescued tax, I won’t hold my breath.
Oh no… an $800,000 bike lane! How scandalous! But if you actually bother to look at the details of this “bike lane” it reveals a cost-effective project coming out of a healthy political process.
Bader is apparently referring to the Potato Hill overpass in Moses Lake, which replaces the last under-height bridge over I-90. This project was funded in the Nickel Package passed by the Legislature in 2003, and WSDOT had scheduled to advertise it for construction in October 2005 at a cost of around $3 million.
Everything was on schedule until the City of Moses Lake found they couldn’t afford to build a nearby pedestrian overpass, and Republican state Senator Joyce Mulliken came upon the bright idea of combining the two projects together. By adding 12 feet to the width of the Potato Hill overpass, locals would get a twofer: the Nickel overpass plus the pedestrian overpass in a single, less costly project.
Sen. Mulliken managed to get an additional $700,000 or so included in the 2005 Transportation Package to add a pedestrian/bike lane to the Nickel overpass already slated for construction… a smart move, and a net win for taxpayers.
WSDOT held the project to see if it would survive I-912, and now that it has, the twofer contract will be advertised on Monday. The project will build the already slated Nickel highway overpass, but with sufficient shoulder for a pedestrian/bike lane, courtesy of the 2005 package… saving Moses Lake a pile of cash they didn’t have, while delivering a sensible overall improvement.
This is exactly the type of smart, nimble resourcefulness we want from our government, delivering necessary improvements for the least amount of money. But in the misleading soundbites of somebody like Bader, it gets twisted into a prime example of WSDOT’s lies and misplaced priorities.
And of course, attacking WSDOT’s priorities is one of Bader’s biggest lies of all, for WSDOT doesn’t set priorities, the Legislature does. You want to know what WSDOT will build, and when? It’s all laid out in the transportation improvement package passed by the Legislature last spring, and approved by voters last Tuesday.
So if Bader has a problem with this bike lane, I suggest he take it up with Sen. Mulliken… though I’m guessing the citizens of Moses Lake are pretty damned pleased with the fine work she did on their behalf.
The Seattle P-I editorial board chimes in tomorrow morning, chiding Bader for his dishonest attempt at a “gotcha”:
Thanks to state Sen. Joyce Mulliken, an Ephrata Republican, a deal was struck to use money from the new gas-tax increase to add the bike-pedestrian lanes to the soon-to-be-rebuilt Potato Hill Bridge. The result: a new bridge able to accommodate auto, pedestrian and bike traffic and capable of being expanded later to accommodate four lanes of auto traffic — which local officials say will be needed — for less money and in less time.
Mulliken called the combined project “government efficiency at its best.”
That’s hardly the post-election poster child the would-be tax repealers were hoping for.