Letter: Don't sell tolling opposition short

Published:

 

The May 27 editorial asserts that opposition to tolls "might be shrinking." No facts support this assertion.

The only election results this editorial referenced -- the 2009 Vancouver mayoral race -- show (then) anti-tolls candidate Tim Leavitt beating his pro-tolls opponent by 9 percent. The editorial ignored Clark County's 58 percent approval of Tim Eyman's toll-restrictive Initiative 1125 in the November 2011 election (which, remarkably, lost statewide, with only 47 percent "yes" votes). Local opposition to tolling is unusually strong and persistent.

Pro-Columbia River Crossing, local politicians' evident reluctance to schedule a referendum on light rail operations and maintenance funding further underscores that pro-tolling local elites believe they cannot win a vote on an issue so closely linked with tolls. The facts justify linking light rail with tolling.

Fact: the Feb. 29 Columbian reported that $1.2 billion will be sought from the feds for light rail construction;

Fact: Light rail construction boosts total estimated CRC project costs by 34 percent -- from $2.3 to $3.5 billion.

Fact: Since one-third (33 percent) of light rail-bloated CRC costs are to be covered locally by tolling, blocking light rail and using its funds for a cheaper, vehicles-only CRC would make unpopular tolls unnecessary.

John Burke

Vancouver