Saturday, January 05, 2008

One possible outcome from Tim Eyman's congestion relief proposal

Something my camera found on a concrete wall.

Graffiti art could be a cheap substitute for publicly funded art that's associated with Washington State transportation projects. Some of it isn't that bad, but I'm not a big fan of most graffiti.

The latest Eyman proposal isn't as bad as some of his previous "slash taxes and government" suggestions.

This one calls for creating a special fund devoted to congestion relief on Washington roadways.
Initiative now has a number. It's I-984. (I added this note Jan.9).

Something like $85 million per year. Now estimated at 130 million.

Money would come, in part, from cutting funding for public art and sculpture. Currently, a certain percentage of money spent on capital projects, such as transportation projects in the state, is devoted to art associated with said projects.

This is just small potatoes.

A bigger part of those millions would come from the sales tax that's currently collected when new and used vehicles are sold in the state. 10%
(now increased to 15%) of that sales tax revenue would be diverted into the congestion relief fund, rather than going into the state's general fund where most sales taxes currently go.

Tim Eyman's latest initiative was filed yesterday.

$85 (even 130 million) is hardly a drop in the bucket for relief of traffic congestion. I keep saying that land has gotten so expensive, it's practically impossible for the state to build it's way out of congestion. The land that's under new highway lanes would be a budget buster.

I realize that his proposal is mostly about doing things like timing traffic lights better. Also things like pre positioning tow trucks for faster clearing of blocking accidents.

Small steps can sometimes make a big difference. It's not a totally bad idea.

Still, I don't think there's much we can do to relieve congestion short of getting rid of automobiles as the main form of transportation.

Also, for some reason, the framers of our state's constitution implied that education is the paramount duty of state government.

I know, I sometimes feel there's a lot of waste in education as well.

Education: the biggest priority of money in the general fund.

Diverting even just 15% of sales tax revenue on the sale of vehicles in our state would be like stealing food from the lion's cat dish.

When the lion's share of state funding goes to schools and the constitution roars in it's favor, watch out.

Yes, watch out.

Education? What good is it doing us?

Here might be another way to spell congestion relief in Washington State.

Not spelling it R-O-L-A-I-D-S, as the old Rolaids commercials would have it.

We can put the lion called "education" to work for us. Why can't we encourage our schools to teach alternative transportation?

Remember, "Bike To Work Day" is actually called "Bike To Work AND SCHOOL Day." The schools have already gotten involved to some extent.

There are a lot of things we can do to "learn better ways of getting around" in our state. We can do these things regardless of whether this Eyman proposal succeeds or not.

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