1. "The combination of drinking and driving ought to be fought like smallpox virus." So says the News Tribune's editorial board, arguing that the state legislature should enact all of Gov. Jay Inslee's proposals to crack down on drunk driving, including a ten-year ban on alcohol purchases after a third DUI; mandatory interlock devices when a person is arrested for DUI, rather than after conviction; and stiffer jail sentences for offenders.
The TNT also calls for random sobriety checkpoints. Those would require an amendment to the state constitution—the state supreme court banned them in 1988.
2. The Everett Herald reports that the state house passed a transportation package today that expands dramatically on the bare-bones senate proposal, paying for $8.4 billion in new transportation spending package with a combination of new gas taxes (10 cents a gallon, plus the potential for an additional 3 cents, to be imposed by the state transportation secretary) and car tab fees. The proposal, which also includes $300 million for new bike paths, sidewalks, and transit service, passed on straight party lines in the Democratic Party-controlled house.
3. Sightline, meanwhile, calls the proposal a "Cars First" plan that might have made New York City highway builder Robert Moses himself blush. The plan, which spends 92 cents of every dollar on roads and highway projects, "could well represent a low-water mark for the state’s already depressing transportation debate," the green think tank's Clark Williams-Derry editorializes.
4. And the Cascade Bicycle Club weighs in on one of the megaprojects the house transportation budget funds—the Columbia River Crossing, a proposed new I-5 bridge between Vancouver and Portland. Calling the project a "boondoggle," Cascade blogger Evan Manvel writes, "The mega-project would divert several billion dollars away from higher transportation priorities while fueling costly sprawl that’s bad for families who want to bike in their neighborhood."
5. As we reported this afternoon, the city council just adopted new rules allowing taller buildings in South Lake Union to developers who pay into an affordable housing fund or build housing in South Lake Union affordable to people making up to 80 percent of the area median income.
As Seattle Transit Blog notes, one point of contention in the South Lake Union discussions was whether 240-foot-high towers, which the initial plan would have allowed along the lakefront, would create excessive shadows over Lake Union Park.
Tower proponents lost that battle, but STB has a good rendering of the kind of shadows 240-foot towers would have actually produced; "judge for yourself," they write, "if this was worth forgoing more residents in the city, and more revenue through both developer height bonuses and additional economic activity."