Where’s the congestion? Seattle, mostly

July 24, 2008 by · Comments Off on Where’s the congestion? Seattle, mostly
Filed under: Analysis 

I-985 raids $125 million per year from the state general fund, to pay for pet congestion relief projects. Some of those projects aren’t such bad ideas, but most won’t do a darn thing about congestion — and some could even make the state’s transportation problems worse.

But perhaps the most galling thing about I-985 is that it siphons money from all over the state — from local town and city coffers, even — to pay for what’s predominantly a local problem that’s concentrated in a narrow corridor in Puget Sound. This state map of congestion, from p. 74 of this state congestion report (pdf link), lays out the story:

It’s a pretty crummy map, since “up” is southeast, not north. But the story is pretty clear: according to the state, the worst congestion problems are found in Puget Sound, mostly in greater Seattle.

And yet I-985 forces the whole state to decide on how to manage Seattle’s congestion — and also expects the whole state to contribute tax money to the solution. I-985 even prohibits many of the solutions that Puget Sound residents are demanding to help them manage congestion.

It’s not fair to the rest of the state, and it’s not fair to residents of Puget Sound.