And the hits keep on coming! Now we have Pierce County Councilman Tim Farrell, D-Tacoma, explaining why he would have voted for the new RTID plan dropping the cross-base highway from a regional roads-and-transit plan. Farrell emailed this message from Russia, where he’s traveling. His alternate, County Councilman Calvin Goings, D-Puyallup, voted against the new plan.
I support Shawn’s (Bunney) compromise plan that is being offered at Thursday’s meeting. This plan allows for key elements of the Cross Base Highway to be built now, leaving the more contentious section that actually crosses Fort Lewis to be resolved in the future.
This is a difficult choice for me. I have campaigned on supporting the Cross-Base Highway in the past and I still believe that some variation of this highway needs to be built in the very near future. I freely admit that there are environmental problems with the proposed Cross Base Highway design, but I am convinced that we can overcome those problems.
However, Shawn and I have simply run out the clock – there is not enough time to come up with a
solution. Given that reality, Shawn’s plan will allow the most expensive elements of the Highway to be put in place and buy us critical time to iron out the differences in our pro-transportation coalition.
I consider John Ladenburg to be a friend and mentor. Our disagreement is not personal, nor even political, it is strategic. John is a visionary leader and he is correct in saying that there has been a lot of misinformation coming from the opponents of this highway. The population IS already there. The sprawl HAS already occurred. Frederickson IS a solution to preventing further Port sprawl across critical farmlands in the Puyallup Valley. A letter from Shawn and I dated in March lays out that case well.
However, with less than 6 months left before the voters are asked to make an expensive long term investment in our economy, we do not have the time, nor an endless well of voter support, to continue this arguement. When faced with conflicting information before you make an investment, the logical solution is to vote no and wait. We cannot afford to wait on this important investment. We cannot risk a no vote by the voters in November.
If we do fail, if RTID and Sound Transit goes down to defeat, I expect that Sound Transit will go before the voters immediately with another package. It will be expensive, and it will take up most of the voter patience for new taxes … but I believe that the voters will pass it.
The roads package, however, will not be before us anytime soon. Any new roads will have to depend on a legislature that has committed itself to fixing the Alaskan Way Viaduct, the 520 Bridge, and improvements to I 405 and I 5 in Seattle / Bellevue. In short, there will be no money for the completion of SR 167, and you will NEVER, EVER, see that highway, or the 80,000 jobs it would
That, to me, is too much of a risk. Given the choice between building SR 167 and completing Cross Base, I have to choose SR 167. Under Shawn’s proposal, the Cross Base Highway will live to fight another day. Under the competing proposal, I am convinced that SR 167 will not.