Remember all those funny acronyms from last fall’s mainstream media coverage of the Roads and Transit campaign? YOE, for year of expenditure was a favorite of many of Seattle’s newspaper writers and columnists. They were fixated (examples here, here, and here) on slapping the Roads and Transit plan with as high a price tag as they could by including inflation into the total price tag of the plan, not just the price tag in current year dollars. By doing so, they held the Roads and Transit plan to a standard never before seen for a tax measure or capital construction program in our region.
Yesterday Dino Rossi released his transportation fantasy and said it would cost $15.5 billion in 2007 dollars. Keep in mind, that’s in last year’s dollars.
I have done a little bit of “back of the envelope” math (you know the kind that Rossi’s Republican, anti-light rail pals did when they fed the media their scary cost numbers on Prop 1) and the results I get are staggering. Rossi’s $15.5 billion plan, when you account for 4 percent annual inflation over a 30 year construction schedule, suddenly balloons to $50 billion dollars. And this doesn’t even include the interest on the bonds that would be needed to finance all of Rossi’s made up project cost estimates. So we would have to add all of the interest payments to the $50 billion number to get the true cost, well at least according to our friends in the “traditional media.”
You can do the math yourself with this handy little inflation calculator.
UPDATE [Lee]: This part from a post by Martin at the Seattle Transit Blog made me laugh:
So I looked to Dino Rossi’s Transportation Plan with hope and anticipation. I shouldn’t have. This document was first sent to me by a Gregoire operative; when your own campaign literature is being gleefully distributed by the other side, that’s a bad sign.