This was a tough vote. Local voters were asked to make a significant contribution to solving safety and congestion and I respect the decision of voters in the Puget Sound area. Congestion and safety remains a very real problem. I will continue to fight to solve our transportation problems. Safety must be our number one priority and the 520 bridge, a critical link in our transportation system, is one of the top regional safety issues. It is vulnerable to earthquakes and winds and it must be replaced. We have about a $2 billion shortfall that needs to be solved. I have directed OFM and WSDOT to work with both public and private entities to develop a full finance plan for the 520.Cue the earthquakes and winds! Note also the little hint about "private entities," which may be the coming way to fund the 520 bridge, assuming Speaker Frank Chopp could ever get over his adamant opposition to letting private companies build bridges and tunnels (and keep the tolls). Now here's Dino Rossi, framing the issue as being about taxes and the sacred right to keep and bear automobiles:
Voters yesterday delivered a loud and clear message to Christine Gregoire that they don't want her taking more of their hard-earned money without seeing results. Citizens didn't reject his measure because they are not concerned about traffic congestions; they rejected it because they have experienced one too many broken promises from this governor and don't trust her to solve the problem. Her mission is to force people out of their cars; my goal is to reduce congestion. The difference is clear.Lurking in those words is the Dino Promise: you keep on driving, congestion goes down, taxes don't go up, and I tell you my plan after you elect me. Rossi got away with a lack of specifics in his last race, largely because the Gregoire campaign wrote him off. This time he'll have to figure out how he can both convince voters they shouldn't trust Gregoire to solve the problem and can trust him. Running as a car-hugger may also indicate that Rossi is content to write off a lot of urban independent voters. All this focus on the 2008 election, including the Legislature (where Chopp Democrats will flee any association with raising taxes or coddling Seattle) means the political fallout of this week's election will last a full year, and solutions will be too radioactive to emerge until after the election.
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