Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg just issued this statement castigating the decision to drop the cross base highway from a regional “Roads & Transit” package going to voters. I have no details on the RTID executive committee vote today, but evidently Pierce County Councilman Calvin Goings voted against the plan.
Goings was serving as an alternate for fellow Councilman Tim Farrell, who is vacationing abroad. Farrell supports the new proposal. The full RTID planning committee votes on the plan June 8, then it goes to the Pierce, King and Snohomish county councils.
I am sorry to hear that the committee has decided to force onto Pierce
County this last minute change to the RTID that was hatched in the back
room without public comment. I had hoped that when faced with the fact
that the Executive is opposed to the plan, along with several Council
members, the committee would defer. Eliminating the Crossbase is an
over-reaction to mis-informed envirnomental groups, many of whom would
oppose the package in any event.
It is the ultimate irony that the Crossbase highway is actually the
most environmentally sensitive of the three projects in Pierce County.
The inclusion of hundreds of millions of dollars to expand Highway 162
through some of our most critical farmland, while refusing to build the
Crossbase Highway which has already passed environmental review, is a
disaster for Pierce County. Neither Crossbase or 167 would face the
same financial problems if 162 were eliminated. I applaud Calvin Goings
for seeing this issue clearly and attempting to help me save the
Puyallup-Orting valley from being paved over.
For over two years this has been part of the package you advertised to
the public. Now in the final weeks, a new plan is released on the day
of adoption. That is plain wrong. To pretend that is is some kind of
“wink and nod” deal with the opponents of Crossbase and that we are
still committed to build it, just not the part “crossing the bases” is
nonsense. Saying the money will be found elsewhere is wishful. The
voters are not that stupid. Your own polling says that over 70% of
Pierce County citizens say they want the Crossbase in the plan.
Catering to the few at the expense of the many is hardly good politcal
I hope that when the all the County Councils meet together, you will
realize that this is a disaster.
I cannot and will not support this plan. This last minute back room
deal is likely to kill the ST/RTID package and given all our hard work
that is a shame. This is an unnecessay controversy that could have been
I will veto the package you are sending. If it makes the ballot I will
actively raise money and campaign against it in the region as I have
been committed for six years to proper landuse planning, saving open
space and preserving our farmland. This runs counter to all of these.
John W. Ladenburg
Pierce County Executive