Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sounding Off: Initiative 985

This measures allows for the opening of HOV lanes to all traffic during rush, increases funding for roadside assistance and dedicates certain taxes, fines and tolls to traffic-flow purposes.

So I really have not made a decision on which way I am voting on this one so I decided to go out and read some
arguments for and against and this is what I found:

Argument For:
Reduces traffic congestion 6-7%
Same measures in other states have proven reduction in
Traffic congestion is a priority of 80% of Washington's citizens, their money should strongly support their priorities.
It does not raise taxes. It dedicates a small portion of vehicle sales taxes for transportation-related projects to reduce congestion. It guarantees that tolls will not be used for non-transportation spending.

Argument Against:
This measure takes away money from things Washington badly needs.
Washington doesn't need help with traffic congestion?
This measure takes millions in sales taxes from taxpayers all across the state to pay for Seattle-area traffic problems.
Okay, I can understand this argument. If I were living in, say, Kennewick Washington, why would I want my taxes to go toward traffic problems in Seattle.
The state is already facing a budget deficit, paying for this will require new taxes.
I understand their process of thought here but from what I understand about it, it is only using money from existing taxes and not give the power to enact new taxes.
There has not been sufficient thought put in to what could happen with bus service once cars take over the bus routes.
Good point. Hmmm...
The initiative does not tell us exactly where the
congestion funds will be spent and should not be so vague.This is the one thing that really bothered me about the initiative. It is a little vague as to where that money is going to do. It just states transportation problems related to congestion. That could mean just about anything. It could mean that whoever handles the transportation problems in our state might decide they need a raise and just go ahead and approve it for themselves, using money out of this fund.

I'm still not sure which way to vote on this one. I am all for relieving traffic congestion in Seattle but in the first place I don't really think people in Spokane should have to pay for it so in that respect I think I should vote against it. However, my gut tells me to vote for it because traffic is ridiculous here and I am interested in knowing if this initiative could help it. I wish there was more time before the election because if there were, I would suggest some sort of trial period, or test run. They could try this out for a month or so and see if it does relieve congestion at all and if it does, then go ahead and let the people vote on it. If it doesn't work, toss the idea. I know that is some kind of wishful thinking. However, whatever tests they have run have proven that it has working in other parts of the country. I wonder what other cities have done this and which of these cities had traffic problems beforehand even worse than our own.

I dunno. What do you guys think?


  1. I think opening the HOV lanes during rush hour is completely contrary to why we have them in the first place.

    The whole reason they made HOV lanes is to encourage carpooling, thereby reducing traffic and emissions.

    If they open the lanes to everyone, there's less incentive to carpool, which leads to more traffic. Which means the HOV lanes will be full too.

    No solution there!

  2. Very good point. I wonder why nobody from the arguments for or against this Initiative have brought this up. Hmm......