OPINION: I-1631 is counterintuitive

Reducing carbon emissions is a laudable goal, but Initiative 1631 would make it harder to accomplish, due to the proposal’s extraordinary expense and lack of focus. There are more effective ways to protect our environment than I-1631’s massive tax increase, unaccountable politically-appointed board, taxpayer funded multi-billion dollar slush fund and nebulous plan. …

In Western Washington, traffic congestion creates some of the most significant environmental impacts we face. Reducing both carbon emissions and congestion is possible if tax resources are applied to road enhancements. …

Perhaps the most urgent environmental benefit I-1631 threatens is the state’s ability to replace fish culverts. Spawning habitat for salmon, which provide critical food for endangered orca whales, is blocked by hundreds of illegal culverts. The U.S. Supreme Court has recently ordered the state to fix these, at an estimated cost of $3.7 billion. Passage of I-1631 could make it nearly impossible to raise this money, due to the projected 57 cents per gallon gas tax increase I-1631 would cause. …

We encourage everyone to consider I-1631’s unclear environmental effectiveness, as well as huge economic and opportunity costs. We believe I-1631’s threat to investments providing measurable reductions in the transportation sector’s environmental impacts is reason to pursue a better alternative. Vote “No” on I-1631.

Victor H. Bishop, P.E. is the chair of the Eastside Transportation Association (ETA), a nonprofit group dedicated to relieving traffic congestion in the Puget Sound Region. He is a licensed transportation engineer, with 56 years of professional traffic engineering experience.

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