So Queen Christine…oops, I mean Governor Gregoire has finally made a decision about replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct. This was supposedly an urgent problem a couple of years ago when she and the state legislature raised our gas tax–just in case you’re not paying attention, it’s one of the highest in the entire country. Even though they now collect $0.375 on every gallon of gas purchased statewide, the Governor and assorted other politicians are wondering how in the world they’re going to pay for the tunnel. [Incidentally, the tunnel is the most expensive option for replacing the viaduct.]
The entire state of Washington has been paying ridiculously high gas taxes for quite some time now. People in Eastern Washington are paying a disproportionate share of these taxes that go for primarily West side projects. The gas tax package was passed and a subsequent repeal initiative failed because these politicians fomented hysteria over “crumbling” infrastructure like the viaduct, the 520 bridge and rock slide-prone mountain passes. So where did all this money go? Down the rat-hole of state government, that’s where. And guess what? It wasn’t enough!
“A new package of tolls and taxes would pay for part of the $4.2 billion tunnel destined to replace Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct.”
What can you do but laugh?
“In addition, King County has asked legislators for authority to levy a 1 percent vehicle license fee to help raise its $190 million share of the project that will come in the form of additional transit service to substitute for reduction in the number of lanes and help commuters during construction. The tunnel would have four lanes; the viaduct now has six.”
Two things. First, why should vehicles be taxed more to pay for transit? Maybe the people riding the transit should pay the actual cost of hauling their bus-riding butts around! Second, the tunnel is the most expensive option to replace the viaduct and it will represent a net loss of capacity–four lanes as opposed to six. These people are criminally incompetent and yet, they keep getting elected! And, in the future, when the city is bigger and there is more traffic, how easy is it to expand the tunnel to accommodate more cars? Hey, maybe it’s a moot point–maybe cars will be illegal by then. Or perhaps they’ll be just too darn expensive to license and fill with gas.