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Originally published Thursday, October 30, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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10 reasons to reject I-985

In a noisy campaign season, the many arguments against Initiative 985 are often overlooked.

Initiative 985, the Reduce Traffic Congestion Act, is a dog's breakfast. In a noisy campaign season, the many arguments against this flawed proposal are often overlooked. The top 10 unfunny reasons to vote no on I-985:

No. 1 — I-985 would reduce safety. Local communities have installed red-light cameras at dangerous intersections to prevent car crashes with pedestrians and other vehicles. This initiative forces local communities to give camera revenues to the state. Result: Most cities will yank the cameras, so more accidents.

No. 2 — The initiative could cost the state millions of dollars in federal funds, according to a letter from federal transportation officials.

No. 3 — I-985 will increase congestion as the plan dumps too many single-occupancy vehicle cars into HOV lanes during nonpeak hours — peak hours are defined unrealistically as 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Result: More vehicles in HOV lanes, for example, westbound Highway 520; slower travel time; people give up the bus; more congestion.

No. 4 — I-985 robs sales tax revenues on vehicles in Eastern Washington and gives the revenues to the Puget Sound area for traffic relief.

No. 5 — I-985 kills plans for paying for a new Highway 520 bridge. Complicated language supposedly prevents tolling on Interstate 90 to pay for Highway 520. Too many cars will be diverted to I-90 and there will be insufficient revenue to pay for a new bridge.

No. 6 — Traffic congestion relief is best left to the experts.

No. 7 — I-985 zaps the general fund to pay for congestion relief. Result: Further cuts in education and health care.

No. 8 — I-985 allows the state to interfere with local communities' public-safety decisions.

No. 9 — Direct-access ramps built along Interstates 5, 90 and 405 currently allow buses and car pools to enter and exit the freeway from HOV lanes. Those projects obtained federal approval on condition they not be open to general traffic. Result: The ramps would be closed during the time HOV lanes are open to general-purpose traffic.

No. 10 — The initiative is several subjects wrapped in one. It is headed for court, thus wasting precious time for moving forward with regional transportation improvements.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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