It’s pretty clear to objective onlookers that the Republican-controlled state Senate managed to dominate this year’s legislative session by sticking to a reasonable, rational approach on every issue ranging from the budget to the transportation package. The reality is that Republicans won on the no-new-taxes budget and on the consumer protection provision infused transportation package. Democrats and their far-left supporters know it; they just cannot quite admit it.
Such appears to be the case with far-left blog PubliCola’s recent piece suggesting that Democrats won the transportation debate. The reasons cited for the assertion include the facts that the transportation package includes a gas tax increase and a “$15 billion investment in light rail.”
First, the gas tax increase could be tallied as a win for Democrats. Certainly, Republicans did not want to increase the gas tax. They compromised on the tax in order to prevent a $1 plus gas tax—something they successfully accomplished via their consumer protection provision, which Democrats labeled a “poison pill.” Getting an eleven-cent gas tax, but failing to procure what they wanted (a $1 plus gas tax) is hardly a win for Democrats.
Second, Democrats did not secure a $15 billion investment in light rail. What they secured was the ability for Sound Transit to ask voters for $15 billion to expand light rail (ST3) on the 2016 ballot. By no means does that translate to Democrats securing the funding for light rail. In fact, given what just happened in Vancouver B.C. and Sound Transit’s track record of broken promises, the pro-ST3 campaign will find it difficult to convince voters hand over more of their hard earned tax dollars to the cause of light rail.