Northwest NEWS

September 30, 2002

Editorial

Elected officials need to know

there is a price-tag limit on
   environmental spending
   We won't get the maximum bang-for-the-buck from our road taxes unless and until we voters persuade our elected officials that indeed there is a price-tag limit on environmental spending.
   Two recent items illustrate the road-construction spending extremes required by adopted environmental laws.
   The first is about the state Department of Transportation's having to remove and then relocate stonework on the bank of Issaquah Creek, below the high-water mark, to support a new Sunset Interchange bridge. This expensive re-work was required even though no environmental damage was found.
   The second item is about the 12 acres of Sammamish Valley farmland that has been turned into new wetlands and streambed for a no-name streamlet that originate on a nearby hillside. This $1,440,000 project was required by law as mitigation for the widening of N.E. 124th Street across the valley.
   These are just two of the current and previous environmental mitigation projects that eat up our road dollars. Another is the six million dollars for the creek and wetlands creation at the east end of SR 520 in downtown Redmond.
   We must inform our lawmakers that yes, we do want to pay for what's necessary to protect the environment. But we do not want to bleed the treasury in an attempt to uniformly restore the landscape to pre-European conditions. Get the word to your legislators, because they do appear to believe that there is no price limit on environmental spending.
   Maxine Keesling, Woodinville