Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: DuPont

April
4th

State Farm expansion would be a big deal for Tacoma

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

‘Like a good neighbor”? For downtown Tacoma, State Farm might be “like the best neighbor ever.”

Still stinging from the loss of Russell Investments, which had 1,100 employees at its peak about a decade ago, Tacoma now stands to gain about 2,000 jobs if State Farm expands on its existing presence in DuPont.

According to The News Tribune’s Kathleen Cooper, the insurance giant is finalizing plans to take over Read more »

March
7th

Lawmakers should intervene in rail dispute

Map shows Point Defiance Bypass route adjacent to I-5. (WSDOT)
Map shows Point Defiance Bypass route adjacent to I-5. (WSDOT)

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

A decision by the Federal Railroad Administration on the controversial Point Defiance Bypass is great for Amtrak. But it could be an economic blow to the future of several South Sound communities and add to the transportation nightmare thousands of commuters already face every day.

And it’s all to shave a few minutes off of Amtrak trains’ time between Seattle and Portland, and run a few more trains on that route. That’s an unacceptable tradeoff.

On Monday, the FRA gave the go-ahead to the $89 million bypass project that would reroute Amtrak trains from along the Puget Sound shoreline through South Tacoma, Lakewood and DuPont. A three-year study found that the project – which would extend by 3.5 miles the rail line now used by the Sounder train to Lakewood – would not adversely affect the environment.

Perhaps, but sending high-speed trains down tracks that cross at-grade intersections would certainly lead to accidents, huge traffic disruptions and economic impacts, especially to Read more »

Oct.
18th

Our endorsements in Pierce County Council races

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

At least three faces on the Pierce County Council will change after the Nov. 6 election, but the political makeup of the council is likely to remain roughly the same with Republicans outnumbering Democrats. The only question is whether the GOP majority is 5 to 2 or 4 to 3.

• The District 2 race won’t affect that equation; it’s between two Republicans – incumbent Joyce McDonald, a former state representative from Puyallup, and Jeffery Hogan, the mayor of Edgewood. The district also includes Sumner, Milton and Northeast Tacoma.

Hogan’s main issue with McDonald has been her strong support for creating a flood control district that could levy a small countywide tax aimed at preventing and mitigating flood damage. Given the vulnerability of so much of the district to a catastrophic flood, her position makes sense.

Hogan could be a viable candidate for this position in four years, when McDonald term-limits out. But for now, district voters should stick with the incumbent (they gave her 68 percent of the vote in the primary). She works hard for their concerns and deserves a second term.

Here are our endorsements in the other council races – all open seats:

Read more »

Aug.
23rd

‘We Can’t Wait’ for rail bypass? Job 1 is to make it safe


Red line shows new inland route for Amtrak trains if the Point Defiance Bypass is completed. Freight trains will continue along the shoreline. (USGS)

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

Maybe the Obama administration can’t wait to get started on the Point Defiance Bypass rail project. But South Sound communities that would feel the brunt of increased train traffic aren’t in a big hurry.

Under the president’s “We Can’t Wait” initiative, the administration is freeing up $473 million in unspent appropriations to expedite four construction projects – one of them being the $90 million bypass. Getting that federal money for the project is expected to move its timeline up about six months, with the state Department of Transportation hoping to begin construction in 2015.

The bypass – which would separate freight and passenger trains as they move through the South Sound – has long been on the wish list for Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Amtrak. It would allow freight trains to continue traveling along the scenic waterfront while rerouting high-speed Amtrak passenger trains inland – through not-so-scenic business districts in South Tacoma and Lakewood and on through DuPont. Read more »

Aug.
18th

The real election season shifts into high gear

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

The primary ballots haven’t all been tallied yet – thanks to the requirement that they only need to be postmarked by Election Day. But some things are already clear.

Just because it’s more convenient to vote now that the election is all-mail doesn’t mean people are suddenly voting in much higher numbers. As of Thursday afternoon, turnout was a lackluster 27 percent. In the last off-year election (2009), turnout was 19.2 percent.

Turnout this year wasn’t helped by the fact that voters in some communities might not have had much to get

Read more »

April
28th

Cities have valid concerns about rail bypass

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

It’s understandable that state officials are hot to get their hands on a share of the $8 billion in federal stimulus money available for rail projects.

The quest for federal dollars is why a plan to separate freight and passenger trains through the South Sound – one that originally wasn’t going to be funded until about 2019 – is being fast-tracked, so to speak.

That’s a serious concern for the cities that will bear the brunt of the impacts when 14 Amtrak trains a day start traveling at 79 mph through several busy intersections.

The plan is for those trains, which now take the Point Defiance route, to be rerouted through South Tacoma, Lakewood and DuPont, chopping all of six minutes off the Seattle-to-Portland trip and leaving the scenic route to freight trains. The state, which will get nearly $600 million for its Seattle-to-Vancouver corridor, could begin construction on the bypass this fall.

Lakewood stands to get the worst of the impacts, with seven different intersections affected – most of them paralleling the busy South Tacoma Way/Pacific Highway South corridor. That city’s officials have been vocal in trying to get the state to at least modify the rail plan to increase safety measures with overpasses, and now DuPont has joined the fight. It only has one crossing, near Fort Lewis, but it’s already a busy one even without the holdups involved with 14 trains barreling through. Read more »