Initiative 985 is the 2008 incarnation of Tim Eyman’s Annual Initiative Campaign as he plays citizen legislator. Eyman basically buys his spot on the November ballot each year by hiring a slew of paid signature gatherers to collect enough signatures to qualify for a spot on the ballot.
Most voters never read the back of the initiative and the fine print of what Eyman wants them to vote into law. They should because Initiative 985 is another one of Eyman’s Trojan Horse Initiatives. The Washington State Attorney General’s Office has done a terrible job of assigning a ballot title and summary to Initiative 985. It is misleading and misses the main use of the money appropriated under I-985.
Reading the ballot title lulls you into believing that this measure might actually reduce traffic congestion as Eyman’s seems to claim. It sounds like the $145 million or so Eyman wants to appropriate from the General Fund each year will be used to open car pool lanes, synchronize traffic lights and add emergency vehicles to clear roads.
After you put up a few signs saying car pools lanes are open after rush hour to traffic, get your computer synchronized lights set up and add a few more tow trucks in the first year what happens to the bulk of the $145 million collected each year in Eyman’s dedicated fund?
This is when you find out what Eyman’s plan really is. It is to dedicate millions of dollars more each year to just building more roads. This is above and beyond the already dedicated funds collected from gas taxes that is restricted to roads.
I-985’s purpose is not to solve traffic congestion but to eliminate all measures to reduce congestion except road building. It is another one of Eyman’s Trojan Horse Initiatives.
Hidden in the fine print of Initiative 985 is the fact that after you’ve synchronized traffic lights, opened car pool lanes and added some more emergency vehicles, the remainder of the $145 million collected each year can only be spent on “reducing vehicle delay by expanding road capacity and general purpose use to improve traffic flow for all vehicles”
This may sound O.K. until Eyman’s I-985 adds“Purposes to improve traffic flow for all vehicles do not include creating, maintaining or operating bike paths or lanes, wildlife crossings, landscaping, park and ride lots, ferries, trolleys, buses, monorail, light rail or heavy rail.”
Look it up yourself – this is hidden in the fine print of the initiative. The money collected to reduce congestion is put in a dedicated fund but can’t be used for buses or park and ride lots or bike paths. The state gas tax is already dedicated to road building and Eyman wants to add more money for road building.
Eyman is anti – transit and this measure will not reduce congestion but add to it by spending more money on road building rather than alternatives to get people out of cars and into more efficient modes of transportation like buses.
Initiative 985 needs to be rejected by voters. The public needs to vote no on more road building at the expense of other proven methods of actually reducing congestion. I-985 is not good public policy but is just another Eyman attack on public transit.
for more information see:
MajorityRulesBlog“Eyman’s Initiative 985 Adds $290 Million to State Budget for Road Building”
Initiative 985 ballot title and text – from Washington Secretary of State’s website
No on Initiative 985 – campaign site for No on I-985 campaign