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.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sound Politics reviews local media coverage of Rossi Plan

The Gubernatorial Meta Story of the Week

Somewhat lost in the immediate partisan examination of Dino Rossi's transportation plan has been the net effect of the news coverage. In general, it has been copious and remarkably fair. For Republicans, that tends to be about as good as it gets in the Puget Sound region.

The Seattle Times gave the story exceptionally prominent placement on front of the local section.

The Everett Herald splashed "Rossi has plan to fix U.S. 2" at the top of its front page with a pretty decent picture too.

The P-I gave prominent attention to Rossi's belief that "Seattle ought to get back their waterfront."

The TNT's coverage was decent and balanced.

Local radio and TV coverage seemed equally abundant and reasonably well balanced, discussing Rossi's plan and noting the critics.

All that crosses two important thresholds:

1) The enduring theme of all the coverage was that Rossi has a transportation plan. Like all such plans in this state and region, it has its critics. But, it comes across as a legitimate attempt to discuss a highly identifiable problem.

Keep in mind that a notable portion of the general populace has reached a default mindset that Republicans don't have a plan on transportation, or other kitchen table issues, other than opposing tax increases. Fair or not, that perception has been a problem for Republicans and they have the legislative minority to prove it.

Thus, simply having a serious, well-publicized plan is an important step forward.

2) The other threshold crossed is that many in the voting public see a demonstrable void in leadership capable of producing transportation solutions at the state and regional level. The current crew of elected officials isn't getting the job done on this issue. The public gets that. Rossi now has to convince them he can credibly fill the void, even though he's one of those knuckle-dragging Republicans. Putting out a serious transportation plan is a start.

Sure, the usual cast of characters have and will object. The anti-sprawl, pro-transit activists. The urban-enviro crowd. And all public officials with a "D" next to their name. Yet, the objections of these denizens of the left-of-center status quo are fundamentally objecting to Rossi's plan because it deviates from that very Democratic establishment thinking.

That garners earnest nods at party meetings and interest group gatherings. But at a certain point, real voters without a serious partisan bone to pick just want their concerns addressed. Rossi's rollout this week was an important step forward in a long process of laying out his case to that demographic, despite the challenging baggage of running in a Democratic state.

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