This morning over at Publicola, Josh Feit pens an “angry editorial,” (his words, not mine) about transportation funding going to Republican-dominated state legislative districts when their members voted against the nickel-a-gallon gas tax. (I see Josh has also cross-posted the editorial at HA here.)
While I understand Josh’s frustration, and freely admit to not really knowing squat about the merits of the Mercer Street project up there, I would throw in one little factoid.
One of the projects Feit mentions is an interchange project in Clark County’s 18th LD, the home of Sen. Joe Zarelli, R-Ridgefield, ranking member of Ways and Means. It’s true the 18th district is very conservative, but the rest of Clark County, not so much. Plus people don’t choose their automotive route by legislative district. If you need to go somewhere, you need to go somewhere.
The more urban 49th is a solid Democratic district, and the 17th District on the east side has moved from leaning Republican to leaning Democratic with the election of Rep. Tim Probst, D-Vancouver, who replaced the useless turd Jim Dunn. But I digress.
Here’s the little factoid I want to consider:
Among Washington’s 39 counties, only four receive less than Clark County for each dollar it contributes for transportation projects.
The Washington Department of Transportation last week generated a new county-by-county comparison that shows Clark County gets 79 cents in transportation projects for every dollar it contributes in taxes, mainly in gas taxes.
Eric Hovee, an economic and development consultant in Vancouver, noted that the comparison shows big counties around Puget Sound receive just about exactly what they contribute. (King County is the only one in the state that receives exactly $1 in projects for every dollar contributed). Hovee scanned to the bottom of the list, where rural counties reaped large dividends.
So King County and Puget Sound area residents are basically getting their money back, Clark County residents are getting the short end of the stick (so what’s new?) and the smaller counties are getting a great benefit. This kind of imbalance only fuels resentment and makes it that much harder to fund things down here.
Just something to add to the mix.