Monday, October 22, 2007

Local Politics: Road Work

So, the mark of a good compromise is that it cheeses off all sides equally. For that reason, Sound Transit/RTID Proposition 1, also called the Roads and Sound Transit Initiative, is a good compromise, because it is taking (and shrugging off) hits from all sides. The Proposal in short says we want to raise a lot of money to build more light rail and road improvements. You want 'em? Pony up.

Actually, it is a pretty crafty bit of legislation, in that it lays out in detail a lot of its plan, which is usually the first thing that everyone attacks a transit plan for. It also neatly divides its most vocal opponents into two mutually antagonistic groups. Big D Developers hate the plan because it gives a LOT of money to Mass Transit, in the form of expanding the Light Rail system. Enviros like the Sierra Club hate the plan because its gives a LOT of money to congestion-fueling highways which will fill up immediately. Each is convinced that, if they shoot down the plan, THEIR part of it will pass easily next year (Here's the story on that: It wont' happen).

But that division of foes leaves a lot of people in the center, who are good with the ideas presented, can live with the price being paid, and willing to go forward. I'm in that category.

No, I'm a little more passionate than that. I think we need MORE Roads and MORE mass transit. Both, together, working in a coherent plan. Each one alone won't do the job. Go to this site, between 6 and 10 AM or between 3 and 7 PM, and look at the lower right-hand corner, between Bellevue and Renton along 405. That's my commute. You've got congestion - either a staccato of red and black blockages or a solid line, dark as a shrimp's intestine. Even when the rest of the system is green this chunk of road is still cycling from yellow to red to outer space vacuum. So I'm good for this BECAUSE of both the improved mass transit (which would be nice to come down my way sometime) as well as increasing road capacity.

Now, being even handed here, there IS another option here to reduce congestion that does not need any more construction, and we won't have to raise any taxes.

A recession. A nice, long one. No, I'm serious - when I started working up in Bellevue with the WizKids, the traffic was light(er), and heck, even small game companies could get good office space in Bellevue. So if we don't want to pay for better transportation options, a recession will solve the problem for us. Fewer jobs mean fewer commuters which mean fewer vehicles on the road. Problem solved!

In the meantime, we are already at the straining point, with these repairs still years away. Now is the time - vote YES on Proposition One.

More later,