Northwest NEWS

March 20, 2000

Editorial

Eyman's I-711 bad for property owners

   There were many reasons to vote for Tim Eyman's I-695 last November, like stopping highway projects by knocking $1.2 billion out of the Washington Dept. of Transportation's 1999-2000 budget, something even the environmental community couldn't have dreamed of.

   Thanks to Eyman, widening and new interchanges for SR-522, SR-18, SR-167, SR-9, and US-2 have all been put on the "cancel" list. Or like halting growth in outbound counties like Kitsap where curtailment of ferry service will help stop urban sprawl in its tracks. As a highway and growth stopper, I-695 has proved a big success.

   What we do not need from Tim Eyman, however, is his proposed I-711. This initiative would not only undo all the good anti-sprawl impacts of I-695 by requiring that 90 percent of all transportation funds be spent on road construction and improvements, it is a direct threat to private property rights.

   Think about it. Where does the WDOT obtain the land for new highway or widening projects? From private property owners. Worse, WDOT has the ultimate weapon over private property owners: the power of eminent domain. This means that WDOT can condemn your property and offer to pay you their assessed market value and you have to go to court, not to get your property back, but only to argue about the amount on the check that WDOT is willing to send you.

   A massive highway construction program in this state is going to mean massive taking of private property, unlike running more buses on existing streets, or running a monorail down the I-5 right-of-way. So remember two things: I-711 is nothing more than a private property grab, and if highways were the answer, Los Angeles would be paradise.

Dave E. Ortman, Exec. Director, Wise Use Movement