The phrase,'Unsound Transit', was coined by the Wall Street Journal to describe Seattle where,"Light Rail Madness eats billions that could otherwise be devoted to truly efficient transportation technologies." The Puget Sound's traffic congestion is a growing cancer on the region's prosperity. This website, captures news and expert opinion about ways to address the crisis. This is not a blog, but a knowledge base, which collects the best articles and presents them in a searchable format. My goal is to arm residents with knowledge so they can champion fact-based, rather than emotional, solutions.


Monday, October 28, 2002

Slate Gorton argues in favor of Ref 51..."an imperfect solution"

Referendum 51 raises serious debate on Seattle University campus

October 28, 2002

On Wednesday, October 23, former Senator Slade Gorton, who currently co-chairs the "Yes on Referendum 51" campaign, participated in a panel discussion at Seattle University's transportation forum held in Wyckoff Auditorium. The event, which was co-sponsored by the College of Arts & Sciences and Albers School, provided Gorton with an opportunity to present a pro-Referendum 51 view, while at the same time fielding questions from a panel of students and the audience.

Referendum 51 is an issue that will appear on the November 5 ballot as a method of paying for a statewide 10-year, $7.7 billion transportation program. Changes that would be created by the passing of Referendum 51 include a one-time, 1 percent surcharge on vehicle sales, raising a weigh fee on trucks heavier than five tons, and increasing the state's gasoline tax by 9 cents a gallon over two years. The taxes used from these increases would be used to address problems such as traffic congestion, improving the safety of what the state Department of Transportation calls 2,037 "high accident" locations, and also repairing over 900 earthquake susceptible bridges. "Referendum 51 will not solve all of our transportation problems," said Gorton in his address. "It is the foundation for the house� it's not the house itself."

Gorton emphasized that the government would be accountable for each expense purchased with Referendum 51 money for the next ten years. "I can't remember any state legislature ever doing this before," said Gorton. "If this form of accountability works here, it can, and will, probably be applied to other forms of legislation as well."

In addition to the points brought up by Gorton, the student panel raised some topics for the former senator to speak upon as well. Shelly Fayette, a senior theology and religious studies major brought up the topic of mass transportation several times, asking why more money wasn't going to mass transit when it presented a more viable solution to the problem of traffic congestion. She also mentioned that Referendum 51 didn't present a very cost-effective solution for those with lower incomes. "Public transportation is a social justice issue that our state legislature should be concerned with," said Fayette.

"Under Referendum 51, a greater percentage of money will go to buses than the actual percentage of people who use the bus," replied Gorton. "The legislature is concerned with it [mass transit]. You'll soon have the option of a monorail . . .the problem is, you can't ask the people of Spokane to pay for a monorail in Seattle." Gorton also went on to state that a large amount of opposition towards Referendum 51 stems from the fact that it is not a "perfect" solution. "Perfection is the enemy of good," said Gorton. "I suspect that many people have better ideas� I have better ideas� but we aren't going to destroy them all by voting for this modest proposal in front of us right now."

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