Cascade Bicycle Club’s Board of Directors recommends that King, Pierce, and Snohomish County voters reject the Regional Transportation Investment District/Sound Transit 2 ballot measure (Proposition 1).
While supporting the transit portion of Proposition 1, CBC’s Board finds that the combined package would have a net negative impact on bicycling. Rather than encouraging affordable, compact, bicycle and pedestrian-friendly development, RTID would lock us into another generation of increasing traffic, sprawl, and environmental degradation.
Through a large, regressive sales tax increase, RTID will raise billions for new highways, which will increase the number of cars on existing roads. Consequently residents would find it more difficult to ride their bicycles for transportation in the region’s fastest-growing areas, due to increased local traffic. It also neglects the need for system preservation and safety two principles that should be our top priorities for any new transportation spending.
Our decision was complicated by the legislature’s forced marriage of the Sound Transit 2 light rail expansion to the roads package. The Cascade Bicycle Club generally supports investments in transit as they extend the range and ease of bicycling trips. However, we cannot justify a “yes” position given the unacceptable consequences of the highway portion of this package. Fortunately light rail enjoys strong public support, and the legislature has empowered Sound Transit to propose an independent package to the voters should RTID fail in November. Cascade Bicycle Club will hold the Washington State Legislature accountable to its promise to offer voters a new chance to vote on ST2 in 2008.
Cascade worked with its allies in the transportation community and the Legislature for four years to fix the flawed RTID legislation. Though each bill was an improvement over its predecessor, the most significant failing was never addressed that the maintenance of our existing transportation assets is neglected in favor of new capacity. RTID would add new roads in a region that cannot afford to maintain those we use every day.
|Top reasons to vote NO on Proposition 1
The roads part of the package builds 182 miles of new highway lanes, many in places that need to be protected from sprawl, not given over to it. As a result, more traffic will be generated onto suburban and rural roads, making them hostile to bikes.
Proposition 1 provides little real funding for non-motorized projects. Walking and bicycling comprise 5% of trips in the region, yet receive a mere 0.3% of funds from this package.
Proposition 1 builds new roads without fixing the ones we already have. The package funds only one of the region's 34 most vulnerable bridges, the South Park Bridge. The majority of RTID spending goes toward building new highway lanes at a time when the region faces a road maintenance backlog of tens of billions of dollars.
State Law permits Sound Transit to come back on its own if Proposition 1 is not approved. Vote NO and feel better passing a clean transit package in 2008 without swallowing 182 miles of new highways.