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, September 18, 2000

WS Labor unions oppose Init 745: claims it will impact education, housing, jobs

Resolution #11

WHEREAS, Initiative 745 mandates that 90% of public transportation dollars in Washington State be spent on "road construction and road maintenance", and widely defines "transportation funds" as "government funds spent on transportation purposes, including, but not necessarily limited to, the transportation fund, the highway fund, public transit and ferry operating accounts and reserves, local government transportation accounts, public transportation authorities, (and) transportation benefit districts", thereby usurping the budget authority of local governments and undermining the ability of cities to accommodate growth in a manner consistent with maintaining a high quality of life for its citizens; and

WHEREAS, Initiative 745 would divert 90% of the sales tax revenue now dedicated to local transit systems to non-transit purposes, which would likely cripple Public Transportation's ability to provide any significant transit service to city and county residents, prevent cities and counties from achieving their Comprehensive Plan public transportation goals, leave little option for replacing lost public transportation service, and severely limit the ability of local governments and transportation systems to leverage federal matching dollars for public transportation purposes; and

WHEREAS, with dramatic losses in local tax revenue and matching federal dollars many local transit systems will be substantially reduced and/or eliminated, resulting in dramatic losses in fare box revenue, leading to accompanying financing problems of adequate funding to service bonds, with the potential of bankruptcy for some public transit agencies and the elimination of bus service in some areas of the state; and

WHEREAS, by having to divert 90% of its revenue to road building and maintenance, Initiative 745 would cause the termination of Sound Transit operations, undermining the will of the voters who approved the system in 1996, just as the Sound Transit Regional Express bus service, which started in September of 1999, has started carrying up to 14,000 people per day, and shortly after the start of the Sounder commuter rail service in September of this year and just a few months shy of groundbreaking for the Link Light Rail System in Spring of 2001; and

WHEREAS, Initiative 745 provides sales and use tax credits to road builders at the expense of general fund programs such as education, human services or affordable housing; and

WHEREAS, Initiative 745 undermines the Growth Management Act (GMA) by requiring all local comprehensive plans developed under the GMA and all six-year transportation plans required of state agencies to "reflect the provisions and priorities" of the initiative; and

WHEREAS, by eliminating the availability of environmentally sound public transportation choices, Initiative 745 greatly increases the possibility that the Puget Sound and other regions will be held in non-compliance of the Federal Clean Air Act, which would, ironically, result in the loss of all federal funding for new road projects; and

WHEREAS, Initiative 745 cripples transportation mobility for the most needy of our citizens, affecting those without the income or ability to own and operate private vehicles, such as seniors, people with disabilities, those not old enough to drive, and people on low incomes who rely solely on public transportation; and

WHEREAS, Initiative 745 proponents inaccurately label I-745 as a "populist" initiative when its effects would be the opposite by diverting 90% of all of Washington's public transit funds, which were supported by local, voter approved ballot measures; and

WHEREAS, the "No on I-745" Campaign is endorsed by the League of Women Voters, Washington Conservation Voters, Action: Better City, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, the Washington State Audubon Society, Transportation Choices Coalition, Washington Environmental Council, Alliance for Voter Approved Education, Lighthawk, Amalgamated Transit Union Workers, WashPIRG, Livable Communities Coalition, and 1000 Friends of Washington; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, oppose Initiative 745 and urge its affiliates and all voters throughout our state to vote against the initiative.

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