At the meeting of the 41st LD Democrats last night, Rep. Judy Clibborn, state house transportation leader, discussed the gas tax, tolling I-90, and auto tab fees. She said that the gas tax will be raised maybe $0.10, and eventually I-90 and other roads will have some sort of tolling.
I asked: but will Republicans in the state senate support a tax hike and tolling? Yes, she explained, the Republicans “get” transportation because many of their districts are in eastern Washington and the farmers need roads to transport their goods. Similarly, business interests realize that without intelligent management of congestion around Seattle, freight won’t move.
Though Republicans get transportation, they don’t yet get the need for public transportation and may oppose car tab fees and other ways to pay for transit. They like cars but not so much trains and buses. The state constitution specifies that gas taxes can only be used for roads and auto ferries, not for public transit.
Similarly, Republicans don’t seem to get the need for public education and public health care. Without educated citizenry, companies will not be able to compete. At best, Wall Street firms will prosper as jobs and profits are offshored, and foreign workers take over high tech jobs here. Our competing nations overseas have well-funded public schools. (More on this in a separate article soon.)
Likewise, if people have no medical care and if mentally ill people are wandering the streets, with easy access to guns, life will suck for many of us. Republicans don’t get the need for gun control.
Republican policies promoting low taxation, deregulation and few government services lead to uneducated workers, crowded roads, dirty air, sick citizens and increasing concentration of wealth. The public needs to realize that low taxes and our regressive tax system are not in the interest of the vast majority of citizens. I sure wish our political leaders (Gov. Gregoire, Gov. Inslee, and other lawmakers) would take a lead in educating the public about this.
Clibborn also discussed efforts to stop the competition between the Port of Seattle and the Port of Tacoma. (Sounds a bit like price fixing, but it makes sense.)
Before I-90 can be tolled the state will need to get federal approval, since I-90 is an interstate. Such approval is probably forthcoming.