Election Endorsement for Washington State

It's time for election in the US. As usual, there are plenty of referendum and ballot initiatives in Washington State. Please don't read into this blog post if you are not a voter in Washington State.

If you are a Washington resident, I urge you to vote against I-1125. This initiative is aimed at preventing the state to implement variable toll on freeways such as SR-520 and I-90 bridge over Lake Washington. The toll is not only a critical source of funding to replace the 520 bridge but also a very effective tool to reduce congestion and air pollution. Although the court is likely to rule this ballot initiative as unconstitutional, it is critical as a voter to support variable toll to maintain existing infrastructure, to reduce traffic congestion, and to improve air quality. In addition, there is a secret clause in the initiative to prevent light rail from reaching Bellevue and Redmond. The expected population increase in the entire Metro area necessitates mass transit, and light rail is also an effective tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector. If you think any of these are important for you, please vote no on I-1125.

In addition, for residents of Seattle, I recommend "yes" vote on Prop 1. This proposition is to enact additional vehicle license fee to fix streets of Seattle and to provide more funding to build sidewalks, bike lanes, and transit improvements. Anyone who believes Seattle needs better transportation infrastructure, ranging from pavements to sidewalks, should vote for this proposition. Critics argue that a fixed vehicle license fee like this is regressive, meaning low income residents must dedicate greater proportion of income. Although I acknowledge that it is not an ideal source of funding, it is the only funding authority given to a local municipality in Washington State. Furthermore, low-income residents typically don't have a car to start with, so they should be protected from this tax increase. This proposition is probably more like a bridge measure to fund transportation projects in Seattle until Washington State drafts a comprehensive transportation package, likely in 2012. Until then, I hope the successful passage of Prop 1 would help Seattle build better streets for every road users.

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