Afternoon Jolt: People Who Rely on Transit on 405 Lose Big

By Afternoon Jolt March 31, 2011

Graphic via WSDOT.

Today's losers: People who depend on transit to use I-405.

The senate transportation committee rewrote and passed the 405 tolling bill today, which would toll single-occupancy vehicles to use HOV lanes. Here's the change. In the original version, revenues from tolling could fund transit.

However, the rewrite says the tolling money must go to the motor vehicle fund, which pays for roads.

Today's winner: City council member Mike O'Brien.

O'Brien isn't today's Jolt winner on the grounds that he actually won; we just feel like giving him props for being a class act.

When we arrived at the pro-tunnel press conference today the first elected official we saw was O'Brien, smiling and making his anti-tunnel case to attentive reporters. The rest of the elected officials in the house, seven of them, were backstage preparing to go on. The seven-to-one breakdown and the contrast between hiding backstage and mingling with the masses, are both clear metaphors—in good ways and bad ways.

Bad: He's politically isolated (he told us he learned about the Holmes suit by reading PubliCola while his colleagues got the heads up from Holmes himself).

Good: He's standing up for what he believes, a noble outsider, hanging with the crowd instead of being backstage.

Metaphors aside, O'Brien---simultaneously goofing with his supposed nemesis, Gregoire advisor and tunnel supporter Ron Judd, after the press conference, while amiably telling us that city council president and tunnel fan Richard Conlin "was lying"---remains the anti-tunnel faction's classiest politician.

Re: this "lying" business. During the press conference, Conlin said that hidden in the city's budget shortfall, according to the mayor's own numbers, was a $1 million cost to run the referendum. Erica unpackaged some of this debate in her piece and Chris Grygiel gets deeper into it at the PI.  But basically, the mayor's office now says it won't cost anything or, in the worst case scenario, $50,000 to add a page to the ballot.

The $1 million was for a special election not for a regular primary of regular election.
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