Seattle Chamber: I-985 a step backwards

September 22, 2008 by · Comments Off on Seattle Chamber: I-985 a step backwards
Filed under: Analysis, Endorsements 

The Board of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce recently voted to oppose Initiative 985 because the increased traffic I-985 would create isn’t good for our workforce or our economy. Here are a few of the concerns cited by the chamber in its opposition statement:

Negative fiscal impact: The state’s Office of Financial Management estimates that I-985 would redirect approximately $600 million in state funds over five years. This could push the state budget deficit past $3 billion, which runs counter to the Chamber’s longstanding support for statewide fiscal responsibility and is unwise in a time of economic uncertainty. I-985 could also harm the state’s already stretched transit agencies, stripping an estimated $20 million over five years in federal transit funds as a result of opening HOV lanes to all traffic during non-peak hours. Additionally, the new account mandated by I-985 specifically bans the use of its funds for park and ride lots, ferries, buses and rail.

Untenable situation for SR 520 and I-90: The Chamber is playing a central role in the 520 mediation process. Although substantial progress has been made, financing the replacement continues to be an open question. Most finance plans assume more than $1 billion will be generated by tolls. Tolling 520 and not I-90, as this initiative would mandate, could have disastrous results for regional congestion.

Traffic light synchronization: Many cities across the state have already enacted the synchronization mandated by this initiative. Currently, fines from red light violations go to those cities or local jurisdictions. Under the initiative, they would be redirected to the new state “Reduce Traffic Congestion Account.” While this account does allow funds to be spent on synchronization, cities and local jurisdictions that have already installed cameras stand to lose $40 million over the next five years.

 The NO on 985 Coalition is a diverse group of Washingtonians from many different backgrounds fighting to preserve and enhance the Evergreen State’s quality of life.

Only four out of Washington’s thirty nine counties have HOV lanes

July 26, 2008 by · Comments Off on Only four out of Washington’s thirty nine counties have HOV lanes
Filed under: Analysis 

I-985 turns the management of HOV lanes into a statewide decision. Yet only 4 counties have HOV lanes: Pierce, Snohomish, King, and Kitsap.

Because of a technicality, Kitsap county’s lanes aren’t even affected by I-985. So why are voters from all across the state deciding how to manage a local traffic issue that only affects three counties?

More from the mayor of Wenatchee

July 24, 2008 by · Comments Off on More from the mayor of Wenatchee
Filed under: Local Leaders Speak Out 

Mayor Dennis Johnson has more to say about I-985’s proposal to take local red-light camera revenue away from local governments, and give it to the state.

“The purpose is to stop red-light violators. That’s what we want to do,” Johnson said. “If the state wants to take that incentive away from us, that’s not a good thought process.” 

Unfortunately, you won’t know that this is I-985’s agenda unless you read the fine print.

Wenatchee mayor opposes I-985

July 24, 2008 by · Comments Off on Wenatchee mayor opposes I-985
Filed under: Local Leaders Speak Out 

Wenatchee mayor Dennis Johnson doesn’t seem to like I-985:

Eyman’s newest initiative, I-985, would take money that cities generate from red-light-camera tickets and send it to a statewide transportation fund.

The cameras would be installed at busy intersections in an attempt to improve traffic safety by catching drivers who run red lights.

“Quite frankly I have no problem with the money being used locally for traffic-congestion projects,” Johnson said Tuesday night. “But there is no way the city of Wenatchee will become a tax collector for the state of Washington. It certainly is not acceptable from my point of view.”