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November 02, 2006

Seattle can have a tunnel and transit

Seattleites don’t need to choose between a tunnel for the downtown waterfront and improved transit in this region. The framing of a choice between the “tunnel” and the “surface and transit alternative,” is a false choice.

Seattle can have a tunnel and transit. Much of the potential funding for state highways comes from the gas tax. Alternately, transit funding comes from a variety of local, county, regional and state sources. Pro-transit leaders need to be clear about what the current and potential sources of funding are for transit improvements and work together to secure that funding, regardless of highway projects.

If the tunnel is rejected, and the proposed surface alternative is adopted, the state will reallocate existing earmarked funding for the viaduct replacement to other highway projects. As the debate over the replacement intensifies in Seattle, I have no doubt that pro-highway expansionists in suburban areas are salivating at the prospect of shifting viaduct replacement funds to I-405 or other suburban highway’s. Such expansions will only increase our regional congestion problems.

Increased funding for transit is critically important regardless of what happens with the viaduct. As a region we must work to create a transit system that offers an alternative to our car-based transportation system, and the timeline for making dramatic improvements is NOW. Funding must be accelerated so we don’t have to wait 20-30 years to complete several rail lines and create frequent bus service.

Cross Posted on Urban Transit

Posted by EzraBasom on November 2, 2006 at 08:33 PM in Policy | Permalink

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