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Taxes for Highway Funding Plummet: Washington State’s “What Me Worry?” Legislators to Forge Ahead With Overscaled 520

July 27th, 2008 · 6 Comments · 520 Bridge

Regarding the massive new 520 planned north of the existing bridge (massive, yet provides no additional general purpose capacity…) I’ve been agog over how Governor Gregoire and the WSDOT are somehow able get by with using 2006 cost estimates for the project, so here’s another astonishing revelation they’ll no doubt ignore as well.

The Wall Street Journal says people are driving less and as a result, gas tax revenues have “plummeted” nationally.

A report to be released Monday by the Transportation Department shows that over the past seven months, Americans have reduced their driving by more than 40 billion miles. Because of high gasoline prices, they drove 3.7% fewer miles in May than they did a year earlier, the report says, more than double the 1.8% drop-off seen in April.

Do you think the powers that be will modify their income projections to align with the new reality? Do you think the local press will push them for an answer? Don’t bet on it.

R-51 failed. Proposition 1 failed. RTID is dead. Concrete, steel, and asphalt prices have soared. Revenues are way off projection. Tolling I-90 is a non-starter. Time to consider realistic action NOW to save this failing structure. Float in a new span — replace the existing one, and retrofit the existing columns. Let’s get real before the thing sinks.

“The Perfect Is The Enemy Of The Good.” – Voltaire

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6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Peter // Jul 31, 2008 at 12:05 am

    I honestly think that the right solution for 520 is to not spend more money and add more lanes. I’m also completely against adding a toll. Rather, I would rather see the carpool lane continue across the entire span of the bridge. They should eliminate one of those normal lanes that goes across the bridge and reserve it for buses and carpool. I think if you want to see people make a change, then you should do something dramatic that will cause people to change their habits. If you’re going to go across 520 then it should be by carpool. The solution is not about how to pack more cars out there, it’s about reducing the number of vehicles.

  • 2 Jason Preston // Aug 1, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    @Peter – I think you’re right that a major component of the 520 traffic problem is the number of SOV drivers, but reducing it to one-way each lane seems like the “punish the minivan drivers” mentality that is all over the place right now with a lot of liberals.

    Just like the family of five might actually NEED a minivan, many people crossing 520 in their own cars don’t realistically have another option. Most people can’t simply find two additional people to sit in the car when they need to cross the bridge (remember 520 is 3-person carpool).

    I think we’d do better to rely on the carrot than the stick – high gas prices are already forcing people to drive less & carpool, now we might consider beefing up our public transit system so that it becomes a realistic alternative to driving alone. Better yet, add wi-fi to our buses so that people can get work done while they’re on their commute.

  • 3 Steve Broback // Aug 3, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Regarding minivans, I think government largely should exist to provide services to align with what the people want, not to “change behavior” so that the government gets outcomes it (or the childless) wants.

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