Today, I handed nearly $75 over to the State of Washington.
I’m not entirely sure. I certainly didn’t get anything in return for it.
You see, I have a 200lb scooter, which weighs less than most American people. A scooter that cannot ride on the freeway, cannot ride on bike paths, cannot trip stop lights (I have no choice but to run reds frequently), cannot safely display parking receipts, and which pays a 600% premium for parking. A scooter which has a negligible impact on infrastructure, thins traffic, and helps the environment and fuel prices by burning less than two gallons of fuel in a typical month.
When it comes to vehicles, scooters are the redheaded stepchildren of the road. Somewhere just north of zero dollars are devoted to us. Cars get roads, bicycles get paths, pedestrians get sidewalks, and we get a huge municipal dick up our ass.
It probably goes without saying that I held my nose while paying this year’s extortion, I mean “vehicle registration” renewal.
Paradoxically, however, I wish I had to pay more.
You see, King County has proposed a $20 tab fee increase to support mass transit … and believe it or not, I want to pay it. Not because I have excess money laying around (believe me, I don’t), but because I wholeheartedly believe that mass transit and alternative transit is the only solution to Seattle’s transit woes.
Even if I commuted to work every day in my own private car, I would support the tab increase. If I sat on gridlocked streets everyday, the last thing I would want is 17% (the amount of service METRO would have to cut) more people crowding the roads. I would burn far more in gas than $20/year, and the time would be unrecoverable.
I would also support the fee because I personally like to breathe clean air. Ironically, I’m not even an environmentalist. I am skeptical about global warming, I don’t recycle (it harms the environment more than it helps), and I don’t go to Earth Day rallies … but not even I want a 17% increase in spewing tailpipes in King County.
Not to be outdone, the City of Seattle has proposed an $80 increase in car tabs which they may put to the voters next month.
I am less enthusiastic about this proposal. While some of the money would go toward bike lanes and sidewalks, the lion’s share would go to road projects. Roads for cars, cars, and more cars. This is on top of the $3 billion that is already being spent to build a tunnel under Downtown. A tunnel that will make traffic in Seattle worse, and a tunnel that will encourage people to drive even more than they do now.
I will concede that the roads in Seattle suck. As a two-wheeler, nobody knows the dangers of Seattle roads better than I. Bone-jarring potholes, gaps, protruding bricks … to say that Seattle streets are hideous would be an understatement. That being said, I wouldn’t spend a penny to fix them. I’d rather swerve and hang on in the rough spots rather than endure the massive gridlock and traffic that a new wave of road construction would bring.
The roads are harsh, but they are navigable, and they will get you where you are going. We need decent mass transit way more than we need to make my commute more comfortable.
When and if these issues go on the ballot, I will probably be one of the few voters to split my vote on the car tab fees.
Yes to the $20 fee.
No to the $80 fee.
While I am on the subject of the tunnel, please note there will be an anti-tunnel march this coming Monday (August 1st) from 4pm – 6pm starting at Alaskan Way and King Street:
If you can, please show up.
If you can’t, please at the very least vote ‘NO’ on Referendum 1 next month.
The corrupt City Council and State Government has succeeded in selling out Downtown Seattle for corporate cash, but maybe … just maybe … you can make them re-consider it. It’s a longshot, but it’s better than nothing.
Last, but not least, if you have yet to do so, please consider supporting Protect Seattle Now:
Without them, there would be no referendum on which to vote.
That is all.