Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Capitol Hill) says there are three reasons his viaduct bill doesn't include any mention of the $120 million in motor vehicle excise taxes for expanded transit that were supposed to be part of the tunnel plan
1. "No one asked for it," Murray said, explaining that he wasn't approached by any of the environmental groups who are pushing for the money or by any one from King County. (King County was originally promised the $120 million in MVET money for signing off on the tunnel deal with Governor Gregoire).
While Murray's "No one asked for it" line might sound like a jokey answer, and could imply that the missing money was a minor oversight, and it's still on the way (which is how the County played it when I asked them about this in my earlier post), the rest of Murray's comments should probably alarm those who are counting on the money
2. "520. All these [I'm not going to repeat Sen. Murray's adjectives] environmentalists need to think about more than the Viaduct," Murray says. Murray went on to explain that the six-lane 520 replacement is going to "tear through" and "destroy Seattle neighborhoods" and there needs to be environmental mitigation money for that. "Why aren't the environmentalists focusing any energy and attention on 520?" he asked, making the case that 520 mitigation is a bigger issue than the Viaduct. With limited sources, Murray said flatly, MVET taxes might have to go to 520 and not the tunnel plan.
Murray's third reason was the one that could prove the real death knell for the $120 million in transit expansion:
3. "With the economy collapsing, I'm not sure we can go asking for millions in transportation taxes," he concluded.