(published also at the Bellevue reporter)
The March 21st edition of the Bellevue Reporter has a political cartoon by Shiers, Jr. titled “Why the legislature can’t pass a transportation package….” It shows a farmer driving farm equipment on a field of wheat. The farmer is saying “Why should my taxes go up … to pay for more buses and bike paths in Seattle, not to mention a lid over a highway with tennis courts on top of it?”
This is so wrong-headed. First of all, as a report by the Office of Fiscal Management shows, King County contributes far more to counties out east than they contribute to King County. In other words, there’s a large net flow of tax revenues to rural counties from King County. Why should you and I pay for long, underutilized roads in the eastern part of the state? [See also Who are the welfare queen counties?]
Secondly, without adequate transportation the farms and industries in the eastern parts of the state won’t be able to ship their goods to King County and elsewhere.
Thirdly, 97% of climate scientists believe that climate change is a serious threat. We need to encourage drivers to drive less, carpool, take public transportation, and buy more efficient vehicles. Decreasing our dependence on oil will help the trade deficit, improve our health, and decrease the need for wars.
Lastly, the state senate also rejected a “local option” for transportation funding. But thankfully King County voters now have the option, via Proposition 1, to rectify the lack of funding for transportation. It’s a regressive tax, but unless voters are willing to institute a progressive income tax or deal with even more traffic congestion, they should approve it.