Initiative 985 concerning transportation

This measure would open high-occupancy vehicle lanes to all traffic during specified hours, require traffic light synchronization, increase roadside assistance funding, and dedicate certain taxes, fines, tolls and other revenues to traffic-flow purposes.


Yet another Tim Eyman initiative. While an ad hominem attack is generally not a good way to convince people of the rightness of one’s position, there’s truth to the proposition that a leopard doesn’t change it’s spots. All but one of Tim Eyman’s initiatives have been crappy unconstitutional initiatives. So the likelihood of his current one being the same is pretty high. So I’m not going to devote a lot of time to this one.

The obvious answer on this initiative is NO.

Opening up HOV lanes except for really small narrow hours is just dumb. It will prevent our already slow bus system from arriving on time at all. Which I suppose is fine with Mr. Eyman since he prefers to drive. One thing I heartily believe is that adding new miles of road doesn’t alleviate congestion. It will just fill up with additional drivers. Simple economics. If there isn’t a marginal cost to driving (and there isn’t with free roads), people will use the roads until the congestion builds up so much that they pay the cost in time. To increase capacity in a transportation system overall, a region needs to add capacity at an order of magnitude above the population growth. That can’t be done with roads. It can be done with rail (particularly subway or elevated), and possibly with buses (though I’m skeptical of that one).

The second objection I have is similar to the backing argument for the first objection. The dedication of funds to traffic-flow means taking money from mass transit and using it on road miles. Not a solution.

I think traffic cameras have the potential to be abused, so I don’t have huge problems with the initiative diverting revenues from them elsewhere, or for traffic light synchronization. But neither of those would would make a noticeable difference overall.

So, no.