Amazingly, reducing traffic congestion has not been listed as a transportation priority in Washington State since 2007. That’s because, in 2007, Democrat lawmakers created a list of six goals of transportation policy, while removing congestion relief as a funding priority for the state.
Liberal Democrats chose to make that bizarre choice despite the fact that the average Puget Sound commuter sits in traffic jams 48 hours every year. The Puget Sound ranks 8th worst in traffic congestion, even though it is just the 15th largest metropolitan region in the United States.
Facing these real problems, it is hard to imagine a scenario in which “reducing congestion” is not a goal of transportation policy. Except, of course, when the Democrats who created that scenario have as their top priority forcing everybody onto trains, buses and bicycles.
Last year, Republican lawmakers in the state Senate attempted to remedy the state’s lack of consideration for those Washingtonians who drive cars. They introduced a transportation plan that included “reducing transportation congestion” among the state’s transportation goals. Unfortunately, Democrats—who receive heavy financial backing from extreme enviro/transit groups with a vested interest in ensuring that congestion gets worse —refused to support the common-sense plan.
Well, all that changed today with the passage of bill that adds another victory point to Republican lawmakers’ 2015 scoreboard. Yesterday, the state Senate passed Senate Bill 5995 unanimously, adding congestion relief and freight mobility to the state’s policy goals. Today, the state House followed suit and approved the policy change. SB 5995 now awaits Jay Inslee’s approval.
Now we can wait to see if our green governor will stand with common-sense, or with his big green donors.