Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for November 8th, 2007

Seattle metro voters reject roads-transit tax plan

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Seattle Post Intelligencer


The legislatively forced package of roads and transit for the Seattle-Tacoma-Everett region did not pass. And I cannot say I am surprised. I wonder what would happen if the similar package being touted by our provincial government – the billions of dollars for the Gateway roads program, with a little bit for transit as an afterthought – were subject to the same democratic discipline? Because what the Seattle proposition showed was that for those on the right wing of the political spectrum, though they might like the idea of more freeway lanes, when it comes to paying for them, they hate increased taxes more. And probably tolls and road user fees too, as the artfully organized petition to 10 Downing Street showed on congestion charge proposals in Britain.

Instead of propositions to voters, BC has its “environmental assessment process” – which apparently Kevin Falcon thinks is an unnecessary burden. Actually it has never yet actually said no to any proposal – though a number got withdrawn when it was clear that they could not be made acceptable. My impression of what I have seen so far of the EA submissions from the Gateway folk is that they think the amount of documentation is an acceptable substitute for quality of information or rigour of analysis. I would like to think that the EA Office will seize this opportunity to break their duck – but even with my most optimistic spectacles on, I cannot see that happening. It seems about as likely as Gordon Campbell saying in public “I was wrong. It is a dumb idea.”

Written by Stephen Rees

November 8, 2007 at 12:43 pm

Posted in Transportation