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Tim Eyman will file a “traffic congestion” initiative Friday

Post by Joe Turner on Jan. 2, 2008 at 1:29 pm with No Comments »
January 2, 2008 1:29 pm

The professional initiative promoter sent out an e-mail today to let reporters know he’ll be back in action this year.

Eyman plans to file the Reduce Traffic Congestion Initiative at 11 a.m. this Friday, 10 days before the start of the upcoming 60-day legislative session. He said he hopes to start collecting signatures by mid-February.

Here’s what it would do:

Open carpool lanes to everyone during non-peak hours, midday and evenings on weekdays and all day and all night on weekends, require cities and counties to synchronize traffic lights on heavily-traveled arterials and increase funding for emergency roadside assistance to clear out accidents faster.

Sounds like good stuff, doesn’t it?

Here’s the poison pill that will align almost all of officialdom against Eyman: He wants to divert existing state sales tax into a special anti-congestion account.

That, of course, means money that now goes to public schools and welfare moms and prison operations would be used to pay for traffic stuff. Most legislators and governors don’t like that.

Eyman does propose a logical nexus. He wants 10 percent of sales tax on new and used vehicle sales dedicated to a special account. But it’s still sales tax. He estimates $85 million a year from those taxes.

Eyman will have until early July to collect signatures of 224,880 registered voters to qualify for the Nov. 10 ballot.

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