[nfbwatlk] transportation state government

Jacob Struiksma lawnmower84 at hotmail.com
Tue Nov 19 05:18:49 UTC 2013

Olympia's Whacked Out Transportation Priorities
Nobody loves new roads like the Senate Majority Coalition.
Jennifer Langston
 on November 18, 2013 at 4:39 pm
Email Post

Last week, we argued that the rest of the Washington state
should simply walk away from a $12.3 billion transportation package
 being floated by the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus. This chart 
explains why: Its priorities are exactly the reverse of what people say 
they want.

        Transportation priority chart

Click here to embiggen.

new public survey from the Washington State Transportation Commission
 released last Friday offers a reality check on negotiations underway in 
Olympia about what new transportation investments should look like. The 
actually asked people if they had 100 points to devote to transportation 
priorities-or in this case, let's call it a dollar-how would they want 
want to
spend it?

The public favors a balanced transportation system. State residents would 
opt to spend 26 cents of every dollar on maintaining our current 
system; followed by 23 cents on building or expanding roads and other 
capacity; 21 cents on expanding travel options through transit, bike, 
and HOV projects; 16 cents on increasing safety; and 14 cents on reducing 
pollution and boosting environmental benefits.

By contrast, how would the Washington Senate Majority Coalition Caucus 
leaders spend each dollar generated by an
11.5-cent gas tax increase they've proposed?
By spending 3 times more money on highway expansions and new roads than 
their constituents say they want.

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Given the same priorities, their transportation package would spend a 
whopping 76 cents of every dollar on building or expanding highways and 
roads, plus
a tiny bit of new ferry capacity. That leaves
precious little left over for everything else.
In the most generous analysis possible, their transportation package would 
spend 17 cents on maintenance, 2 cents on safety, less than 2 cents on 
projects, and arguably 2 cents on environmental benefits (more on that in 
the notes below).

Ironically, the
Majority Coalition Caucus
 made up of Senate Republicans and led by Sen. Rodney Tom came up with its 
proposed transportation package after a much touted "listening tour" of 
the state.
Clearly, they weren't listening very well.

Notes on Methodology:

While the Washington State Transportation Commission survey asked 
respondents to limit their total number of points to 100, they apparently 
had trouble
choosing among the priorities, as their collective point total adds up to 
111. We adjusted the percentages in the chart and analysis above to total 
which is why they differ from the numbers in question 6 of the survey.

To arrive at comparable percentages in the Senate Majority Coalition 
proposal, we included the following line items from their
 Transportation Proposal Balance Sheet
 in the following categories. In the interest of fairness, we tried to 
assign credit wherever possible to non-capacity-related categories, and 
assumed only
40 percent of local distributions would be used for road building. In 
reality, the MCC proposal would likely focus a greater share of its 
resources on
highway building than our analysis shows:

list of 5 items
 Improving capacity: Improvement projects (highway and road), a new ferry, 
debt service, and 40 percent of direct distributions to cities and 
Maintenance: Highway preservation, facilities, traffic operations, new 
ferry terminals, county road improvement board funding, 60 percent of 
direct distribution
to cities and counties. Safety: Any highway improvement project with the 
word "safety" prioritized in the title and Washington State Patrol 
funding. Transit/bikes/pedestrian
projects: Grants for transit, vanpool, bicycle, and pedestrian projects, 
Safe Routes to Schools + Complete Streets Environment:  The Senate 
Majority Coalition
Caucus proposal would actually spend zero money from the gas tax increase 
on environmental benefits. It eliminated funding for culverts that help 
safely navigate roads and would pay for stormwater projects from a state 
fund that's supposed to help clean up toxic sites.
list end

About 5 percent of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus proposal would 
fund priorities that are not specifically mentioned in the public survey, 
such as
freight mobility.

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