It’s Time to Spite Back

Will (who you may remember used to write here, and could theoretically once again) has a piece on Slog where he argues that Seattle needs to be afraid of what the Olympia might do if we reject the tunnel. Bold mine because bolding on Slog seems mostly random.

If we reject the tunnel, the money will go away, and will be turned in to a north-south freeway in Spokane, or added lanes on I-405. Or part could be used to widen I-5 under the convention center, which might be the best-case scenario. Or it could be moved to the 520 bridge replacement project, which is short of funds. Or, just to spite us, they could give us a brand new viaduct, a wider, bigger, quieter replacement of the current structure complete with downtown exits and grand views of the harbor.

First off, the cost of a gallon of gas is rising just as quickly in the Eastside and Spokane as it is anywhere else. It’ll probably come down a bit off this high, but the trend is in the wrong direction. If they want to continue to tether themselves to foreign oil it’s not Seattle’s business, but good luck attracting skilled workers to the 21st century economy. Second, and more important, it’s past time Seattle (and frankly the rest of the urban-suburban Puget Sound, since the rest of the state hates them almost as much as Seattle) starts fighting spiteful bullshit with spiteful bullshit.

In 2009 when a few Tacoma legislators decided that they wanted to make sure that Tacoma Power could pollute more, they were able to gum up the works of the whole state. There’s no reason that the Seattle legislators who oppose the cost overrun provision couldn’t start demanding cost overrun provisions in any project (not just any road project) outside the net donor counties until the tunnel cost overrun provisions are repealed. And if they don’t get that to gum up the works. Seattle gives away our hard earned tax money to those counties and doesn’t see much of a return on their investment.

Partly this plan is out of spite for the state trying to saddle us with a freeway we don’t want, and then trying to make us pay for it. But you’re never going to get good policy until you’re willing to put your foot down against bad policy; while putting cost overrun provisions on counties that don’t pay their fair share is bad policy, it’s better policy than putting those provisions on a city that does.

And yes, the plan relies to some extent on the Seattle delegation asserting themselves. Relying on Seattle legislators to have any backbone is like relying on jelly fish to have any backbone. Still, if the tunnel loses an election in August and a few City Council members lose their jobs in November, it might put some steel in the legislature’s resolve.

***

Also, just as a side note, I supported Roads and Transit. Given how easily the Transit portion passed the following year, it’s probably fair to say that I’m more pro having the Seattle area pay extra for car infrastructure than the average urban King County resident. So call me a dirty hippie or whatever but if the state antagonizes Seattle enough, you can look forward to mayor for life Mike McGinn.

Comments

  1. 1

    Michael spews:

    I guess I don’t really get what you guys are all about here.

    If the tunnel goes away the money that was going to build it should go away as well. You think we should setup a piggy bank for the money so that Seattle can spend it on something else further on down the road?

    If we reject the tunnel, the money will go away, and will be turned in to a north-south freeway in Spokane,

    You guys really need to get out more, the North South is funded and going.

  2. 3

    spews:

    When Spokane County gives more to the state than it takes, you’ll have more of a leg to stand on when you talk about who’s a piggy bank for whom.

  3. 5

    spews:

    @4

    Seattle isn’t going to be the rest of the state’s piggy bank much longer if the state keeps treating us as poorly as they have. Spokane area residents who benefit from the project won’t be on the hook for those cost overruns despite the fact that they’re more worthy of a cost overruns clause.

  4. 6

    King Max the First spews:

    @5

    I think you need to research the subject a little more.

    that being said – the tunnel idea has got to be the stupidest idea I have heard of in a long long time. Anybody supporting it should have their head examined and their ass kicked.

  5. 7

    Michael spews:

    @5

    Um… Carl? Was your response directed at me @1? I thought it was pretty clear that I was trying to understand your argument, not attack you. Yeah, it was a bit snarky, but this is HA after all.

    Typically when funding for a project goes away, it goes away. You don’t get to keep it and use it on something else. For the latest example of that look to Scott Walker and rail funding in Wisconsin. Scotty Boy got a bit of shock when he couldn’t use funds that had been approved for high-speed rail for highway construction.

    Are you suggesting that this should work differently in the case of the tunnel?

    O’ and here’s the scoop on the North South, which is almost as stupid as the tunnel.
    http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projec.....ecorridor/

  6. 8

    spews:

    @7,

    The point of the post (and the comment) is that Seattle bakes the damn bread and I’m sick and tired of people who represent us begging for crumbs. I’m not particularly concerned about the money for this project as I am a general outflow of money to the rest of the state. I’m sick of I-776, the proposal for the ferry district, and the cost overrun provision. The state should impose those sorts of things on Eastern and Southern Washington before they impose them on Greater Seattle because Eastern and Southern Washington don’t pay their fair share. It’s not about one project, it’s about a more general flow of money in the state. Imposing any freeway on Seattle and then making us pay for it is morally bankrupt when we’re also propping up the rest of the state.

  7. 9

    King Max the First spews:

    @8

    well first of all sound like a damn crybaby…and if you would do even the slightest bit of research concerning WASDOT projects in this state, you will see that the VAST majority of the money being spent(BY A HUGE MARGIN) is in the seattle area – which is probably how it should be.

    so what the fuk you crying about again?

  8. 10

    Michael spews:

    Kinda ironic that, Seattle liberals who, when talking about individuals or corporations with a lot of money, think that they should have limits placed on them so that they’re not, in the words of Larry Norman, “more equal than others,” but Seattle has every right to be “more equal than others” based on its wealth.

    Maybe it’s time to start treating rich cities like corporations and rich folks to equalize their influence as well?

  9. 11

    King Max the First spews:

    @8

    and by the way carlito….without those roads and highways in other areas of the state, the seattle area wouldnt be able ship anything in or out of King County.

    perhaps if you progressives actually used those brains you brag about so much, you would vote in some competent politicians rather than pulling the handle for someone because they have an D behind their name..

    then again, you could go out and spend $400 million dollars on the 520 bridge up to this point and have dick to show for it…oh wait, thats already happened….

  10. 12

    spews:

    @9,

    King County gets 62 cents back for every dollar (it’s somewhat better, but not good for King County if you only count road spending). This has to change. The VAST majority of the public money raised in the state is in the Seattle area (BY A LARGE MARGIN).

  11. 13

    Michael spews:

    Posted #10 before seeing number #8, but Carl, I still think you need to think about that.

    When it comes to DOT spending, some of that’s local gas taxes paying for local projects, some of that’s federal money. Everyone puts into the pot what they can, everyone takes out what they need. This isn’t to say that everyone should get anything they want and that we don’t need to make big changes in how we do things. We need to make huge changes. But, please stop acting like a greedy fuck.

  12. 14

    spews:

    @10

    It’s not the rich who pay taxes in this state. It’s the urban-suburban poor and middle class. If we decide to fund our road building with a less regressive measure than the gas tax and our general fund with a less regressive measure than a sales tax then yeah, good point. Until then, it doesn’t hold water.

  13. 17

    Michael spews:

    @14

    No, you’re just twisting around what I’m saying. We’re talking about wealthy and poor in regards to areas, not individuals and what you seem to be saying is that it’s OK for wealthy areas to be more equal than others.

  14. 18

    Michael spews:

    @12

    The VAST majority of the public money raised in the state is in the Seattle area (BY A LARGE MARGIN).

    Yep! And the VAST majority of hazardous waste is created in urban areas and land-filled in rural areas. What happens to Seattle’s monetary wealth when Klickitat County decides they’ve had enough of Seattle’s hazardous waste and closes up those landfills? Which they could do, btw. What happens when a bunch of folks in Skagit county decide they need the fish runs that used to feed their families and make their pay more than they need Diablo dam and they blow the fucking thing?

    See, we’re all in this together.

  15. 19

    spews:

    @15

    You’re welcome. I pay an extra $3 a month on my utility bill to invest in clean energy in Eastern Washington. Glad to do it. In any event, yes, Seattle City Light invested well by building dams and other projects. It’s that forward thinking that you could use in your elected officials so you don’t have to rely on us so much.

    Frankly, I’d prefer that Eastern and Western Washington not be at odds. But as long as there are cost overrun provisions. As long as the rest of the state goes out if its way to make it difficult for us to fund our own transit, then I want my legislators to fight back. The state could help you build the kind of 21st century infrastructure that you need to compete in the global economy. Higher speed Internet, a rail system that’ll get your products to market faster than the roads we have now, etc. We did it before with rural electrification and the highway system to compete in the 20th century. But we can’t do that sort of thing at the expense of Seattle. And as long as Eastern WA voters are more interested in screwing Seattle and getting tax breaks than they are in building the whole state up, that can’t happen.

    Look, you’re getting as angry at me for proposing things that the state has been doing to my area for a decade or so now. Think of how long we’ve had to feel that way.

  16. 23

    Michael spews:

    @19

    I’d prefer that Eastern and Western Washington not be at odds. But as long as there are cost overrun provisions. As long as the rest of the state goes out if its way to make it difficult for us to fund our own transit, then I want my legislators to fight back. The state could help you build the kind of 21st century infrastructure that you need to compete in the global economy. Higher speed Internet, a rail system that’ll get your products to market faster than the roads we have now, etc. We did it before with rural electrification and the highway system to compete in the 20th century.

    Ah… Now you’re talking sense.

    And now you’re not.

    But we can’t do that sort of thing at the expense of Seattle

    What’s going on in Seattle in regards to the viaduct and tunnel have everything to do with the lack of political will leadership within Seattle and nothing to do with the rest of the state. That cost overrun bit is in there do to lack of leadership coming from Seattle, not because everyone’s out to screw Seattle. I spend a lot of time traveling around the State and I’ve never seen any signs of a nefarious plot against Seattle bubbling up.

    Glad to do it. In any event, yes, Seattle City Light invested well by building dams and other projects. It’s that forward thinking that you could use in your elected officials so you don’t have to rely on us so much

    Actually, I live in Gig Harbor, one of the wealthiest communities in the state and a big time donor community. We’re also paying for a new Narrows Bridge with tolls. You’ll here no gripes from me about the tolls, it was the best way to do it and gave us quite a bit of local control. Maybe Seattle should take over the viaduct project pay for its replacement by tolling?

    Look, you’re getting as angry at me for proposing things that the state has been doing to my area for a decade or so now.

    Actually, I’m not angry in the slightest. I’m eating tiramisu. You can’t be angry while eating tiramisu; it’s a fact. I’m just trying to figure out what you were talking about. The bit I block quoted at the top seems to explain and sum it up well. You might think about doing a little updating to the original blog post.

  17. 24

    Michael spews:

    @20
    The electricity card is generally a canard. We get power from all over the Western Grid and small towns like Concrete couldn’t afford to have power until we had cities and an industrial base to pay for it. Without the cities capital there’s no power for places like Concrete and Raymond.

    Where the electricity card works is when a group of folks get pissed and decide to take the Ecotopia route and blow the fucking dams.

  18. 25

    Michael spews:

    You’ll here no gripes from me about the tolls, it was the best way to do it and gave us quite a bit of local control. Maybe Seattle should take over the viaduct project pay for its replacement by tolling?

    Doh! You’ll hear, not here.

    And it should be:

    lack of political will & leadership

  19. 26

    Proud to be an Ass spews:

    and by the way carlito….without those roads and highways in other areas of the state, the seattle area wouldnt be able ship anything in or out of King County.

    You mean, like, I-5 and I-90, financed by tax dollars from all over the country? Or state roads, paid for mostly by urban dwellers…those roads? Of course, don’t forget Seattle is a port. Unlike Endicott, it has shipping. Why I even hear they have an airport or two. Perhaps you could fill us in on who paid for those……but most the most surprising thing is, brace yourself…we also have railroads!

    You’re so hip, you probably thought they were extinct.

  20. 27

    Blue John spews:

    Lets see. Lets put this in understandable terms.
    Lets say the tunnel will cost $100 with $20 in matching funds. If it costs over $100, maybe it costs $400, the city of Seattle will be on the hook for the extra $300. But if Seattle doesn’t build the tunnel, we will not only not have to pay the $100, we will lose $20 in matching funds.
    Hummm. I think it’s worth losing. I hate the idea of tunnel in these economic times.

  21. 28

    King Max the First spews:

    you do realize that most goods are trucked, right?

    having a port doesnt do you any good if you cant ship from the port to the inland….and you gotta have roads to transfer to and from the railyards.

    stupidity…its whats for dinner at your house tonight..

  22. 29

    Michael spews:

    @27

    I’m still trying to figure out if Carl was suggesting that Seattle be able to keep the state portion of the tunnel funding regardless of wether the tunnel gets built or not.

  23. 30

    King Max the First spews:

    money issues aside, the tunnel design itself is so assinine, that is should have never ever been considered an option in the first place.

    LESS capacity? no possible way to grow? are you fucking kidding me?

    who the fuck voted these nuts into power? oh, nevermind -you guys did.

  24. 31

    Pete spews:

    …if the tunnel loses an election in August and a few City Council members lose their jobs in November, it might put some steel in the legislature’s resolve.

    And if pigs had wings, we could fly them to work.

    The whole post is based on a false premise: that the state legislators from Seattle give a fuck. With a very few exceptions, they don’t. They’ve got lifetime sinecures, and they do what they feel like, nothing more. When was the last time (not counting redistricting) an incumbent state legislztor lost in Seattle? Had the internal combustion engine been invented then?

    On a related note, this is pure conjecture, but knowing how much the state capitol operates like middle school, I do wonder if the main reason legislators from other parts of the state hate Seattle is because they hate our elected-for-life legislators. It would explain a lot.

  25. 32

    Michael spews:

    @31

    I do wonder if the main reason legislators from other parts of the state hate Seattle is because they hate our elected-for-life legislators.

    I’ve been all over the state, met all sorts of folks, nobody hates Seattle. Seattle can’t get it’s shit together and get anything done and then SEATTLE turns around and blames it on the fact that everyone hates them. It used to not be this way.

    That Seattle is the economic, intellectual, and cultural driver of the state, but can provide no political vision or leadership for the state is a real problem. This, also, used to not be this way.

  26. 33

    spews:

    @23 and @29

    The Narrows project went over budget, and the state picked up the tab. So unless you think Gig Harbor area residents should pay the bill, I still don’t get why it’s relevant to the fuck you provisions the state has been pushing on Seattle. I suspect your legislators would have been mad if there were a cost overrun provision, and rightly so. Incidentally, neither county that the bridge connects pays more to the state than it puts in.

    As to the state money: yes, the state should pay to reconnect the grid that putting up that monstrosity disconnected in the first place as well as for a smaller street level Alaskan Way with provisions for bicycles and public transit.

  27. 34

    King Max the First spews:

    @32
    That Seattle is the economic, intellectual, and cultural driver of the state, but can provide no political vision or leadership for the state is a real problem. This, also, used to not be this way.

    and seattle did use be so damn far to the nutty left..

    Gee, I wonder if there is a correlation? ya think?

  28. 35

    spews:

    Started writing 33 before 32 posted, so I’ll add to the broken record of the cost overrun provision, I-776 and the ferry district: Mike McGavick running in Eastern Washington against Seattle.

  29. 36

    Michael spews:

    @33, 35

    The Narrows project went over budget, and the state picked up the tab.

    Huh? Everything I’ve seen has said that tolls are picking up 100% of the tab on the bridge. If tolls can’t keep up with funding there is a provision for the general fund to make up the rest. But, from what I’ve seen tolls are paying everything so far. Even if tolls can’t cover all the payments, users of the bridge will still be paying the overwhelming majority of the cost.

    the fuck you provisions the state has been pushing on Seattle.

    The state isn’t pushing a “fuck you” provision on Seattle. The rest of the State is protecting its self from a community that over a decade after the quake still can’t get behind the 8 ball and decide what it wants to do about the viaduct. Seattle’s job was made harder buy WSDOT and the Governor, for sure. But, as the driver of every single fucking thing in the state Seattle should have been able to over come that. That it couldn’t isn’t the rest of the states fault, it the people of Seattle and the people they elects fault. Want better results, ditch Frank Chop.

    neither county that the bridge connects pays more to the state than it puts in.

    Are you drunk? Both sides of “that bridge” are in Pierce County and Pierce is a donor county.

    Since you seem to be both angry and drunk and you’re not making any sense I’m going to call it a night.

    PS. When you’re sober, come on down and checkout the bangup job the state’s doing and has done on HWY 16 and our new bridge, complete with 10′ bike/ped lane. Shows you what you can do when you elect competent leaders…

  30. 37

    spews:

    @36,

    Not drunk, just forgot your county spans both sides of the Sound. I’d remembered all of the Western Puget Sound counties and Pierce (because it surprised me) took more than they paid to the state.

    I am however angry at the state. I’m angry that the money flows out of Seattle and we get so little. I am angry that storefronts here have closed during the Great Recession and our taxes are going everywhere but here. I am angry that the Governor proposed a ferry district and the legislature passed a cost overrun provision. I am angry that the state is trying to impose a car culture even as gas tops $4 a gallon. I am angry that voters in the rest of the state tried to make it tougher for Sound Transit to operate even though it doesn’t effect them.

  31. 38

    Michael spews:

    @37

    I am however angry at the state. I’m angry that the money flows out of Seattle and we get so little

    Actually, you get a really nice city to live in with cheap electric rates, good food, good libraries, a big public university, lots of parks, one of the better cities in America for cycling , clean drinking water, a level 1 trauma center and one of the best university hospitals on the planet and one of the best children’s hospitals on the planet. Seattle’s got it pretty good.

    And your political and social leadership sucks goat dick. Big time. So, you know where you need to put the work in.

    Here’s what I think happened. Seattle went from a town (a city in population size only) that built boats and planes, unloaded and loaded ships, took care of a fishing fleet and had some geeky college kids to a town where people do stuff that I don’t know what is even after its been explained to me for the second time and had a huge growth spurt in population in a fairly compressed time period. Seattle also went from being a sleepy backwater to a real city. A city that’s very much on the world map and on peoples tongues. This all has happened so quickly that people haven’t had time to get settled and to figure out who they and their city are and where they want it go.

    The leadership you have now (if you could call it leadership) are, if not the same folks, the same kind of folks that you had before all this changed happened. They’re really not bad people, they’re just leaders for the old Seattle, not the new one.

    New leaders will emerge in time and the old ones should be shown a graceful and, if need be, somewhat forced exit.

    One thing I’d also note. Seattle used to have The Rocket. Everybody read The Rocket. College kids read it, people coming off the boats from Alaska read it, guys turning wrenches for Boeing in Renton read it. We read the Rocket in Tacoma. Seattle doesn’t have anything like The Rocket anymore and dearly needs it. Yes, Seattle has The Stranger, but The Stranger isn’t The Rocket. The Stranger is pretentious and only aimed at a small subset of hip people. Yes, more than that small subset read it, but that’s because it’s the only game in town. Down in Tacoma it’s as likely to be used as toilet paper or packing material as read.

    Seattle needs something that’s unifying, like The Rocket was.

  32. 39

    spews:

    cheap electric rates, good food, good libraries, a big public university, lots of parks, one of the better cities in America for cycling , clean drinking water, a level 1 trauma center and one of the best university hospitals on the planet and one of the best children’s hospitals on the planet. Seattle’s got it pretty good.

    All either things we did on our own or a legacy of a time when the state wasn’t trying to dick us over. In fact the things that are still in the legislature’s hands (like tuition at the U) are being harmed at least in part by the anti Seattle attitude in much of the state. I don’t doubt that much of the city’s leadership is bad on these issues (I compared the legislative delegation’s spines to that of jellyfish in the post, after all). The things that Seattle can do positive is another post (and one I’ve been working on for a while) but this one was a response to (a) Will’s piece arguing that it’s reasonable that the state will spite Seattle if voters reject the tunnel and (b) the things the legislature or state voters have done in recent years to spite Seattle or the Urban Puget Sound. The point is that until we respond to those sorts of things, they’ll only keep coming and only get worse.

  33. 40

    ivan spews:

    Carl:

    Until you quit this stupid “car culture” shit, don’t expect anybody this side of Erica C. Barnett to take anything you write seriously.

  34. 41

    Aaron spews:

    Ivan has it right. @37 had me right up to that bit about “impose a car culture”. Dude, look around, no one is imposing a car culture, we have grown it over decades and it is very ubiquitous. It will evolve and change over time as costs increase and new technology is brought to market, but it will be a slow evolution. It will not be engineered by self proclaimed urbanists trying to redirect funds from a state highway to (Seattle) city streets and transit.

    The “car culture” is us, not them. Even the carless denizens of Capitol Hill that forget that everything they consume comes in on a truck.

  35. 42

    spews:

    @40,

    Complain about me all you want but urban King County voted 55-45 against Roads and Transit. So they’re more anti-car than me. That’s the political reality and you’re not going to change it by calling me a Nazi as you have in the past or attacking anyone else.

    @41,

    The idea that the state prioritizing roads over other forms of transit doesn’t constitute them building a car culture? Yes, Seattle has done many things for cars over the years, but we’re finally moving away. We’ll “evolve away” much slower as long as 99 is with us as a major freeway. These decisions are with us for a long time, and it’s important to get it right.

  36. 43

    Aaron spews:

    @42 Eliminating entirely existing right of way is not getting it right. Someday we may all be riding electric scooters along 99. Personal mobility as in actual individual vehicles be they ton and a half cagers, SUVs, or less, will not go away.

    Traffic will always be bad, best we not make it worse.

  37. 44

    notme spews:

    Just a quick correction about what motivated those Tacoma legislators in 2009. It wasn’t that Tacoma Power wanted to pollute more, it was particular members of Senate leadership wanted to carve out exemptions in voter approved Initiative 937 that benefit certain eastern Washington utilities at a cost to Tacoma and Seattle utilities. Seattle city officials were too timid to take a high profile role in the fight, so it fell to Tacoma. Your other observations are right on the money.

  38. 45

    NPR keeps getting PWN3D spews:

    apparently carly thinks anyone living outside seattle should just shut the hell up and go along with whatever seattle says…well fuck that.

    you guys are so screwed up that I doubt you can find your own ass with two hands – that why we dont live there.

    stop your complaining already.

    and before you get all twisted up, here is a dose of reality: its seattle that tells the rest of the area what to do, not the other way around…remember, it was you no-land owning types that foisted CAO on the rest of us living in the hinterlands. we have to deal with your mindless urban BS far more than you have to deal with us – so stop your crybaby act – its GEHY.

    like Michael mentined, seattles problems are caused by seattle – so stop trying to blame everyone else because YOU elect a bunch of dipshits all the time.

  39. 46

    ivan spews:

    Carl @ 42:

    I don’t mind that you disagree with me. I do mind that you make a dishonest argument and insult my intelligence.

    The vote against RTID came from two angles — anti-roads AND anti-transit. In other words, the Sierra Club AND Kemper Freeman. Do not assume — and do not expect anyone to buy the assumption — that the “urban King County” vote was solely an anti-roads vote. “Urban King County” includes Bellevue, in case you haven’t noticed. Bellevue is the fifth largest city in the state.

    You have no idea, and neither does anybody else, how that “no” vote broke down, or for what reasons.

    Your shallow little urbanist hipster arguments are not just against cars, but against motorized personal transportation of any kind. They are at root an elitist argument that working people reject. You’re not a bad guy, just seriously misguided.

  40. 48

    spews:

    47. King Max the First spews:

    carl is a fucking joke.

    enough said.

    03/27/2011 at 9:42 am

    I love calling maxie out for being an asshole because…he really IS an asshole…

    …and all he’s got are his dumb fucking dorimonson opinions about…well, EVERYthing, which have been proven over and over to NOT WORK. We got a new century goin’ here, pally…join up.

    So…MAXIE!!!

    You’re an asshole!

    Shut.


    Up.

  41. 51

    King Max the First spews:

    I see you have a fetish for goats….Im sure that also goes with your fetish for young boys too.

  42. 52

    spews:

    Hmmmm…first it’s churches, now it’s boys…you and Newt need to get your stories straight.

    Meanwhile…your goat is getting lonely.