Letters to the Editor

Transportation: Beware of Referendum 51

I am often amazed with the glaring failure to tell both sides of the story on local news or in the newspaper when it comes to political issues. As a voter, I would prefer to hear both sides of the issue and decide for myself, than to be spun one side of the picture in hopes that I would buy into it.

A few weeks back I read an article in the Whidbey News-Times about how Referendum 51, the Washington State transportation improvement package, was such a great deal. I am writing today to challenge that viewpoint.

Let me liken Referendum 51 to buying a car. Imagine if you would, sitting down with a car salesman and when you ask him how much the car is going to cost, he tells you not to worry about the total cost, instead asking you to focus on the down payment. Without the ability to discuss the final costs of the car, would you continue negotiations with this salesman when all he is willing to discuss is the down payment?

Please do not take my word for it, read the Referendum 51 web site yourself. I would encourage all registered voters to go to Washington State’s website on Referendum 51 (http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/

r51/default.htm) and examine the small fraction of money that the referendum actually dedicates toward each of the numerous transportation projects. Referendum 51 is nothing more than a down payment to get countless (I use the word countless, because I grew tired of trying to count them) transportation projects started. Once started, these projects are going to require a great deal more money to complete them.

Keep in mind, on the website where the state says that the project “will require additional funding for future stages” without giving the amount of money, this means that the state does not know how much it is going to cost. Where the state does know the completion cost, they list the additional funding required for completion. Check it out!

Would you buy a car, without knowing how much the car was going to cost? Why then would you approve Referendum 51 if the state won’t tell us how much it’s going to cost? Yes the state needs to fix its transportation problems but Ref. 51 is not the way to do it. Why then has the Whidbey News Times chosen to endorse this referendum? I am of course assuming that the paper has read the state’s Web site on Referendum 51.

Ken Ellison

Oak Harbor

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