On The Road To 2008 - Commentary on issues as we countdown to the next opportunity to change the direction of America

Thursday, September 29, 2005

I-912 Republican Flip-Flop Politics

Now that the Republican party has officially decided to support I-912, the initiative that would kill the funding package for the landmark transportation bill passed last spring, it is educational to look a little closer at who voted for the bill.

The bill passed in the state Senate 26 to 22, and in the House 54 to 43. This was a bill that received bipartisan support, with 7 Republicans in the Senate voting for the bill, and 11 Republicans in the House voting for the bill.

The graphic below locates the districts those Republicans represent:

Districts where Republicans voted for Transportation Bill

As you can see, they didn't just come from the Puget Sound area. Legislators in districts 8, 13, 14, 16, 18 and 20 were in support of the transportation bill, and the funding package, including the gas tax I-912 would repeal. Why would these people vote for a bill their party wants to kill?

Perhaps the folks from the Yakima area understand the need for improved roads and safe bridges. Maybe the populations of Grant and Kittatas counties recognize huge impact the transportation package will have on improving I-90 and the traffic that stems from being a crossroads in central Washington. Probably the constituents of Benton county have learned the need for safer roads and congestion relief.

Whether you are heading north and south, or east and west in Washington state, there is an urgent need for the money this transportation bill will raise so as to fully fund over 240 projects throughout the state. These legislators understood the importance of that need, and voted against their party's general stance then, and official opposition today.

That included Bill Finkbeiner, ranking minority member of the WA Senate. Finkbeiner understood the need for this bill and the tough decision to increase the gas tax, not just for his constituents in King county, but as the leader of his party in the state Senate.

It included Rodney Tom from the 48th District, who stated:

"This revenue package is a step in the right direction, but we’ve still have a lot more work to do. The 520 bridge replacement is still linked with the viaduct, which was my focus. Both projects will need the voter’s approval on a regional package in order to be built."
On his own Web site he adds:

Common sense says that if we spend our transportation dollars on those projects that are designed to relieve congestion and improve safety, the transportation problems that are plaguing our state can be resolved. The time for thinking about it is over. The time for bickering about it is over. The time for working together and taking action is now.

This is not a game. Our transportation needs are real and urgent. I-912 is bad policy, and very bad politics. 18 Republican legislators understood that back in the spring, during a very contentious period when the Governorship was under dispute, yet they held firm to their convictions and voted in favor of a healthier, safer future on Washington's roads and bridges.

So when the Republican leadership chooses to endorse I-912, you must consider why these legislators didn't vote against the bill I-912 wants to kill, and whether they will stand firm behind that vote, or wither like weeds under the scrutiny of us, their constituents, who want strong leaders, not sycophantic party hacks.

4 Comment(s):

Comment by: Anonymous Jimmy

I am frogging at the mouth to get home and write about this. I really like the map. It truly shows the link between the transportation corridor and the republican leadership voting for the tax. Now, if I can just get our local folks to come out against I-912.


9/30/2005 10:26 AM PT  
Comment by: Blogger Daniel Kirkdorffer

Agreed. There is a clear link along the I-5 and I-90 corridors.

9/30/2005 11:13 AM PT  
Comment by: Anonymous Tech@ydwa.org

Brilliant. I linked to this from the Washington State Young Democrats website. YDWA.org

10/04/2005 3:38 PM PT  
Comment by: Anonymous Anonymous

Please vote in favor of I-912. It will be the best thing that ever happened to Western Washington highways. After I-912 wins let's go all the way and cut the statewide down to what is needed to maintain the Interstate highways and let all other roads be supported by local taxes. That's what Eastern Washington wants, isn't it?

10/31/2005 2:49 PM PT  

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