There's only one way to describe the $12.3 billion transportation funding package state senate Republicans have proposed: economic terrorism. Funded by a regressive 11.5-cent hike in the gas tax, 73 percent of the proposed spending would go to building new roads. Only 20 percent goes to road maintenance and safety, while a bare 4 percent goes to transit, bicycle, and pedestrian improvements combined. Only 4 percent! That's not just the opposite of what Seattle wants, it's an intentional insult. And Olympia insiders tell me that Republicans have refused to budge on transit funding.
"Ha-ha, fuck you, Seattle," the Republicans are laughing. They think that Seattle is so desperate to save Metro bus service, we'll approve any package that includes a Metro deal. In particular, many Democratic lawmakers are seeking the authority for King County to approve a motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) of up to 1.5 percent on the value of vehicles to shore up bus funding, thereby dodging a 17 percent transit cut. "You're so desperate for your Metro-saving MVET that you'll accept anything!" the GOP seems to be saying.
So how should Seattle reply?
"We don't negotiate with terrorists." That's the message Seattle-area legislators and voters need to send to Republicans in Olympia.