Letters to the Editor

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TACOMA: City’s wrong to use utility as a cash cow

Letter by Donald J. Fritz, Tacoma on Oct. 30, 2013 at 11:13 am | No Comments »
October 30, 2013 11:13 am

A profitable public company from which a government extracts funds for purposes unrelated to the company’s operations is called a “cash cow.” That seems to be how Tacoma uses Tacoma Public Utilities.

Does the law creating TPU in fact permit this? Is it really legal for the voters to authorize extracting funds from TPU for road maintenance? If legal, are there at least legal limits to using TPU in this manner?

The U.S. government has concluded that road users should pay for roads, including, most basically, funds needed to maintain road systems in good condition. The funds collected are distributed to all the states and are sufficient at the very least to cover road maintenance, although states divert portions of these funds to new construction, so that maintenance backlogs often result.

The Tacoma government has not shown that funds received for road maintenance are not adequate for that purpose. Proposition 1 should not only be defeated but ought to be so by an overwhelming vote.

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