When Senate Republicans ousted Washington State Department of Transportation Director Lynn Peterson, they took a step for accountability at an agency that, for years, has been out-of-control. Part of the problem is the reality that Democrats have controlled WSDOT for the past 32 years, with Democrat governors appointing directors ready and willing to push a very specific (and highly partisan) agenda.
Indeed, the I-405 tolling debacle wasn’t so much the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was more like, in the words of syndicated columnist George Will, the “accumulation of straws.”
Democrats have a specific plan for the future of transportation in our state. The I-405 debacle was part of that plan — though, given the public backlash, it didn’t quite work out in Democrats’ favor this time around.
And just what is in the liberals’ plan? It’s simple: toll all the major highways in our state to push motorists out of their cars and onto public transportation.
The goal may sound far-fetched, but WSDOT’s recent actions help prove the case. Then, of course, there’s the small fact that Democrat officials quite literally admitted to the plan back in 2008.
The Washington Policy Center’s Bob Pishue points to a 2008 presentation by the Puget Sound Regional Council for evidence. Pishue recently told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson “that the council reported the state would need billions in revenue to improve infrastructure, and further that a large chunk would come from tolling every highway by the year 2040.”
According to Pishue, the idea “was to transition the state’s highways into a network of toll lanes.” The council projected the state would collect billions from the scheme. Via MyNorthwest.com,
“‘It’s all major highways…’ Pishue told Dori, noting congestion would decrease, but that’s because people would be priced off major roadways. Traffic on local roads would increase. ‘Congestion will get bad.’”
The plan has been stymied so far due to federal law. However, Democrat lawmakers are “trying to loosen laws to allow for more tolling.”
Democrats have a very specific, highly partisan agenda. They don’t care how much achieving their agenda would cost working families in Washington, just as long as they see it come to fruition. It’s an extreme agenda that has infiltrated WSDOT, leading to the serious failures we have seen for decades.
Democrats and WSDOT officials displayed their complete lack of concern for working families during the unraveling of the I-405 debacle. Jay Inslee failed to step in and urge Democrat State Representative Judy Clibborn to allow debate on a bi-partisan bill that would fix I-405. Then, he viciously attacked Senate Republicans for doing their jobs and holding his transportation secretary accountable.
Most recently, he completely dismissed voters’ concerns over the entire tolling scheme by curtly suggesting those dissatisfied drivers “talk to their legislators” to discuss their complains. As if that’s not exactly what they have been doing.
Democrats are out-of-touch with Washingtonian voters, and they’ve produced a transportation agency that is out-of-touch with Washington commuters. It’s time for a change in Olympia, and it’s time for serious reforms at WSDOT.