Dori: Congestion pricing is not only stupid, but immoral
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, as we know, wants to toll downtown streets through congestion pricing. Her argument in favor of it? Congestion pricing has been very successful in places like London and Milan.
I know that if you become a U.S. attorney, you probably aren’t dumb. But I’ve got to ask — when Jenny Durkan says something like that, is she really that dumb? In London, you can get anywhere via the London Tube because it is a fully built-out mass transit system.
When we went to London for the Seahawks game in October, we were staying in a little village about 45 minutes from central London. You get on a train in a place like that and you can get within about three blocks of anywhere you need to go.
Seattle is not London. We do not have anything like the Tube. Sound Transit is 20 years away from providing anything even similar to that.
Let’s say you have a couple in Skagit County, who didn’t get to vote on the people running Seattle, and one of them has cancer. They have to come to downtown Seattle once a week for treatment.
We’re going to toll them $10, or even $20 every time they come into the city? They can’t jump on a mass transit system. What are they going to do, drive to a Sound Transit stop in Everett, then take the train to King Street Station, then take the light rail to Westlake Center, and then walk 12 blocks to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance? Come on.
We won’t have a public transport system like London’s in our lifetimes. London started building the Tube in the 1800s; it’s fully-developed, you can get anywhere. For Seattle, congestion pricing is a way to just tax people.
This isn’t just stupid. This isn’t just wrong. This is immoral. It’s immoral to tell people who are battling health problems that they are going to have to pay $20 every time they go to an appointment.
The greed of people like Jenny Durkan is mind-boggling. For her to compare our city to cities that are 120 years ahead of us in mass transit development is ludicrous. I don’t think she’s that stupid, but I do think she cares more about money than about people who have health crises, who have tight family budgets, who have trouble making it from paycheck to paycheck.
Our colleague Jason Rantz on KTTH has a piece on how bike ridership is not just down in this region, it is significantly down. We’ve spent $100 million on bicycle infrastructure, and cycling is dramatically down, by over 20 percent.
Meanwhile, we have gridlocked the region by taking away car lanes and putting in these bike lanes that have clearly done nothing to increase ridership. When Jason asked the Seattle Department of Transportation about the cyclist decline, a spokesperson said it was likely due to the city’s rainy weather.
What? Did it just start raining the last few years in Seattle? It rained just as much before the 20 percent drop in ridership as it did during that period. How can they say things like that with a straight face?
We are dealing with immoral leadership here, where money trumps everything. That is their alpha and their omega: Getting your money.