Initiative pro Tim Eyman this morning filed his still-unnumbered 2008 ballot measure: a proposal based partly on the suggestions contained in a recent state performance audit of the Department of Transportation.
What it would do:
-Allow all motorists to use carpool lanes at "non-peak" times, which Eyman defines as 18 hours a day.
-Require cities and counties to synchronize traffic lights on major streets.
-Boost funding for emergency roadside assistance to clear out stalled cars or fender-benders.
-And create a new "Reduce Traffic Congestion Account" in the state treasury, funded partly by a 10 percent slice of the sales tax on new and used cars (about $85 million a year, Eyman says). Also going into that fund would be any tolls paid by solo motorists to use car pool lanes at peak times -- something the state doesn't yet allow -- as well as the money that would otherwise be spent on required public art and fines from red-light cameras.
With by far the worst congestion in Puget Sound's core, it remains to be seen how much interest Eyman can rouse in Eastern Washington, home to his administrative operation. He and Spokane associates Mike and Jack Fagan say the synchronized-light requirement will resonate with frustrated drivers.
"It's not just people in Seattle who are saying that. It's people stuck on Division," Eyman said, referring to one of Spokane's most-clogged arterials.
Eyman's also planning a rising-tide-floats-all-boats argument east of the Cascades, arguing that it hurts everyone if the state's economic powerhouse is awash in idling traffic.