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Guest Columnist: Where is our vision for Kitsap in Transportation 2040?
If you drive in Kitsap County it may seem ridiculous to think of tolls on major existing roadways or fees for the number of miles you travel. Unfortunately, this plan is called Transportation 2040 and our county commissioners want it implemented through the Puget Sound Regional Council. While these fees will fund useful options like fast ferries, a large portion will be used for a fast track bus system as well as walking and biking lanes. Unlike most tolled roads these fees will be placed on existing highways and byways rather than new road construction. While the plan does not come to full fruition until 2040 it states that “accelerating the implementation of tolls earlier than 2020 wherever feasible is the desired method of implementation.”
I reviewed a poll taken by the council showing that currently 70 percent of people in the region are single-occupancy drivers. With the limits on driving included in the plan, we must assume that they are working from a foundation of assumptions rather than their own information. According to the plan, for the dollars spent we will save at best five minutes on the average commute. This is assuming that we are successfully bullied into using the three mass transit options mentioned above resulting in fewer cars on the roadways. Traffic will actually become worse if we maintain our commute patterns and roadways are not improved to accommodate that growth.
While this plan claims to address congestion, it is built on assumptions made by ideologues with no ties to reality or to the lifestyles of those in Kitsap. Before this plan is implemented it is my recommendation that we find out what the actual costs would be to construct lanes which hold the capacity needed by 2040, that we fully fund vanpools which are tremendously beneficial to rural communities with large employment centers like Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and that we create incentives for telecommuting wherever possible.
Whatever changes are made to our roadways they should be shaped by our vision for Kitsap rather than by unelected officials from across the water.
Abby Burlingame is running as a Republican for District 3 seat on the Kitsap Board of County Commissioners.