We hear a lot of interesting conspiracy theories here at The News Tribune. But this one takes the cake.
According to a letter writer on Vashon Island, Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg supports the cross-base highway project because he wants McChord Air Force Base shut down! It’s all part of Ladenburg’s ingenious plot to build support for a gubernatorial campaign.
Yeah, being responsible for McChord getting shut down should make him a shoo-in for governor.
Anyway, here’s the letter. Needless to say, it won’t run in the print edition.
After reading of the Nisqually tribe’s interest in acquiring part of Fort Lewis, and of the return of the Fort to Pierce County if any of it should ever be closed, the reasons for the importance of the cross-base highway project to John Ladenburg finally became clear to me.
If the proposed highway is built, it isolates McChord AFB from the rest of Ft. Lewis; and, if closed, McChord would offer the Port of Tacoma its own freight terminal (much the same as the less-efficient Port of Seattle now has, at Sea-Tac). The Port of Tacoma is a major property holder at the Frederickson industrial park, where Boeing is a principal employer. This is the stated terminus of the cross-base extension.
However, if cross-base were to continue a few miles east (&/or be connected to 200th St. E), then it’s in place to serve Greater Orting, including the new developments planned on the plateau east of Orting, (eg Cascadia) as well as Graham and the rest of the prairies east of Fort Lewis. (This may explain why the proposed work on State Rte 162 stops at the bridge a few miles north of Orting, even though the bottomland between the Carbon & Puyallup Rivers is rapidly filling up with houses.)
If Ladenburg has plans to run for Governor, this one project could cast him in a favorable light to the Port of Tacoma, Boeing, Weyerhaeuser, construction contractors, the building trades, and the “pro-growth” boosters, generally- at the cost of possibly a splintered environmental movement and those who hold dear the strong local military presence. No wonder the Cross-base proposal is more important to him than a regional mass-transit expansion- and all the other roads projects put together!