Jay Inslee, during an appearance on KCTS 9’s “Ask the Governor,” was asked, “Could you ever see a time when we would try to toll I-90?” He answered,
“Like I said, there is no plans or consideration of this. But I would not say that high occupancy, you know, lanes type of things or even time of day charges—those ideas have been used in other cities that have been drowning in traffic—and I would not take those off the books [he meant table] or off consideration.”
Prior to answering that question, Inslee briefly addressed the Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) Interstate 405 tolling scheme. Our green governor skated over the issue, failing to commit either way to a stance on the scheme’s success or failure thus far. However, the fact that Inslee was not willing to assure the public that he would not pursue similar tolling schemes on other freeways grants insight into just how far our green governor and WSDOT are willing to go to milk every penny possible from commuters and expand their anti-car agenda.
Never mind that the tolling scheme may not actually reduce traffic congestion. That’s not what it’s about. Rather, it has a lot more to do with the government acting like a nanny state and forcing commuters out of their cars and into public transportation.
Tellingly, Inslee goes on to hint at what he views at his solution to traffic congestion: light rail. Of course, the fact that even Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl admitted that more light rail will not provide congestion relief doesn’t quite fit his narrative so we can’t expect our green governor to mention that inconvenient reality. But, we can expect him to keep on pushing his special version of the truth anyway.
In the end, the Left’s top transportation priority is not to reduce traffic congestion—that’s why Democrats failed to list it as a priority for years. It’s about pumping taxpayer dollars into feel-good projects that have little impact on the vast majority of people. Nowhere is the Left’s intention more visible than in the City of Seattle.
This summer, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) announced it would rely on a “if you build it, they will come” delusion to deal with increased traffic congestion. Specifically, SDOT announced it would begin work on a network of bike lanes with the assumption that people will suddenly want to bike to work in the rain.
As KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz point out, according to a SDOT survey, a mere 3.1 percent of commuters use bikes to get to Downtown Seattle. The percentage is actually down from last year. Yet, SDOT still thinks it’s a good idea to invest in a transportation project that only helps a small segment of the population.
Adding insult to injury, SDOT officials recently unveiled their plan to takeover and expand a failing bike rideshare company from 500 bikes for 50 stations to 2,500 bikes and 250 stations. Mayor Ed Murray’s budget proposal called for a $5 million city contribution to purchase the 2,000 additional bikes.
These are prime examples of the Left picking its extreme ideology over reality. As Rantz put it, “The city really doesn’t care about the driver experience. They want to cater to the 3.1 percent at the expense of the 96.9 percent.”