The Seattle Port Commission unanimously passed a resolution urging voters to reject Initiative 912, which would roll back a gasoline tax increase approved by the state Legislature to fund transportation improvements.
Initiative 912 would mean a major step backward for transportation and efforts to clean up the environment in the state and Puget Sound region, according to the Port of Seattle Commission.
The gas tax increase—9.5 cents spread over four years—is funding $8.5 billion worth of transportation improvement projects throughout the state. Among them are projects of key importance to the seaport, airport and the region’s transportation future, including replacement of the Alaska Way Viaduct, according to the Port commissioners.
“It is essential to the future of our Port and our region’s economic vitality that we replace the Alaska Way Viaduct. If the Viaduct were to come down we would have no way to move cargo from our docks, to our rail facilities, across a wall of north-south bumper- to bumper-traffic,’’ Miller said. “It is clearly up to us to let the public know we cannot go backward on this issue.”
Ensuring access to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and the Seaport are important long-term strategic objectives for the Port, according to the Port of Seattle Commission President Bob Edwards.
“Our facilities at the seaport and airport are only as good as the transportation network that connects them to the rest of the state,” Edwards said. “Thousands of jobs throughout the state depend on those connections.”
More broadly, an efficient transportation system is critical to the state’s entire economy. Transportation congestion also wastes natural resources and increases air and water pollution.
“We are the most trade dependent state in the country,” said Port Commissioner Patricia Davis. “Whether its agricultural products from east of the Cascades, industrial goods from the Puget Sound region or timber from the Olympic Peninsula, getting our exports to customers requires a good transportation system. We must encourage the voters to reject this initiative.”