It's an election year and my political antennae are up. So when I saw this story in The Seattle Times, my first thought was: This is a gift to Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi.
The story is about a new National Traffic Scorecard by Kirklind-based Inrix that places Seattle among the top 10 most congested metropolitan areas in the U.S. (Seattle ranks No. 9). The report also names the Highway 520 corridor — from Seattle across the Evergreen Point Bridge on Lake Washington to Kirkland and Redmond — as the wost traffic bottleneck in the region. The survey is ammo for Rossi's campaign, which has made congestion relief and Gov. Chris Gregoire's record on transportation a top issue.
A quick check of the state Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) Web site confirmed my suspicion that there's a political angle here. It turns out that back in February, Inrix CEO Bryan Mistele contributed nearly the maximum of $2,800 to the Rossi campaign. The money's nice, but Mistele's bigger contribution might turn out to be the congestion report.
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