Inside Opinion

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

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Tag: light rail

April
27th

A good choice for Tacoma Link light-rail extension

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

There wasn’t an obvious “best” among the options for extending Link light rail further into Tacoma. But the City Council has tentatively chosen a very good one: the “E-1 North Downtown Central Corridor.”

Now all the city needs is to formally vote for it, get approval for its recommendation from the Sound Transit board, win a $50 million federal grant and find another $50 million or so from some other unidentified source.

In other words, this proposed Link project – essentially a consolation prize for not getting a light rail extension from King County – has a lot of hurdles to overcome before it becomes reality. It hasn’t even completely won over the council members, some of whom prefer a route that would serve low-income East Side neighborhoods and provide service near an expanded Emerald Queen Casino. Read more »

April
17th

Could SR 167 sink in the Columbia River?

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Out of the blue comes a distant political squabble that somehow threatens the most important transportation effort in the state – the Puget Sound Gateway Project.

Gov. Jay Inslee supports the Gateway, which would knit together state Route 167, Interstate 5 and state Route 509, eliminating bottlenecks and creating a bonanza of jobs in the process. The state House of Representatives is prepared to invest more than $1.25 billion in it.

But suddenly everything might hinge on a spat over light rail in Clark County. Read more »

March
26th

Boe’s light rail option deserves a (quick) look

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

The Tacoma City Council has complicated an already complex decision on light rail in Tacoma. That’s OK – as long as it doesn’t also derail the decision.

Some background:

The regional transit package Puget Sound voters approved in 2008 didn’t give Pierce County a rail connection to Sea-Tac Airport and beyond. But the county did get a consolation prize: a promise to expand Tacoma Link, the small electric rail line that already runs from the Tacoma Dome north through downtown Tacoma.

The Sound Transit board is now poised to make good on

Read more »

Oct.
10th

I-1125 puts taxpayers on hook for local toll projects

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Tim Eyman makes his living selling initiatives, which means he’s got to churn them out regularly to keep his paydays coming. Some have contained the germs of good ideas; others have been folly incarnate.

Initiative 1125, on this year’s ballot, falls under into the incarnate category. It sounds wonderful: a law to protect drivers from unreasonable highway tolls.

Scratch and sniff, though, and it turns out to be a monkey wrench aimed squarely at the state’s efforts to keep cars moving on overcrowded roads.
Its biggest defect is so stupendous that it’s hard to believe Eyman or anyone else in his shop anticipated the impact.

Tolls are commonly used to repay bonds that finance big transportation projects, such as the state Route 520 bridge across Lake Washington. The Legislature – like other legislatures throughout the country – delegates toll-setting authority to panels responsible for making sure the bondholders get the interest and principal they’ve been promised.

If highway projects in Washington started looking like bad loans, private financing for future projects would dry up. Like it or lump it, that’s the way capitalism works.

I-1125 proposes to vest toll-setting authority in the Legislature; its supporters crow about making elected officials accountable for the fees.
Read more »

Aug.
6th

Bellevue billionaire buys himself an Eyman initiative

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

Whatever voters think about Initiative 1125’s attack on highway and bridge tolls, they should know this: The measure might not exist but for the bankroll of a Bellevue developer who hopes to kill a voter-approved transit plan.

Kemper Freeman Jr., the force behind Bellevue Square and much of the rest of downtown Bellevue, has given more than $1 million to the campaign run by professional opportunist Tim Eyman.

A full 86 percent of the contributions to Eyman’s I-1125 coffers came from Freeman’s company, Kemper Holdings. Without that money, Eyman might not have been able to hire the paid signature gatherers who qualified the measure for the November ballot. Read more »

May
28th

Nude beaches? In sub-arctic Seattle?

If you can believe an interactive website set up by Mayor Mike McGinn, the top priorities of Seattleites, in this order, are:

• More light rail.

• Legalizing pot.

• Opening nude beaches.

It’s a wholly unscientific, self-selected poll representing a small fraction of Seattle’s population. Which is a good thing, because I’d hate to think Seattleites in general were more concerned about restrictions on skinny-dipping and dope-smoking than about homelessness (Priority 25) or public safety (Priority 31). They can’t be that wacky … can they?

Tacoma doesn’t have a similar website. If it had one, some priorities

Read more »

Jan.
29th

Coming this weekend: Fighting child porn, making light rail work

Here’s what we’re working on for Sunday and Monday:

It’s not easy to prosecute those who view child pornography, but it could be a little less difficult if the lawmakers passed legislation requested by state Attorney General Rob McKenna. That legislation would give law enforcement an upgraded set of tools to fight despicable crimes whose evidence is shared across secretive computer networks.

A fight’s brewing in Bellevue that will affect how useful Sound Transit’s light rail is to South Sound users. The Bellevue City Council, backed by powerful downtown and anti-light rail interests, wants the line to either skirt downtown

Read more »