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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 17, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Ferry funding: Did Washington need stimulus dollars?

We should be questioning, not applauding, pork spending

In your editorial [“Murray stimulates state ferry funding,” Opinion, July 16] on how Sen. Patty Murray has righted the “error” where Seattle did not get our fair share of the stimulus money set aside for ferries, the author stated: “Murray has helped right the balance by securing the extra $7.6 million. It is for these sorts of rescues that we have senators.”

This entire stimulus process feels like the story of the frog sitting in the water when the heat is turned up to the point that frog gets used to the heat and boils to death. The editorial staff is like that frog that has become so comfortable with the premise that the stimulus package is justified that instead of simply questioning stupid spending and returning it to taxpayers, the argument is “our spending is less stupid than your spending so we should get a bigger piece of the pie.”

I just can’t tell you how disappointed I am that there is such widespread acceptance that the stimulus pork is right and justified, and it is our senator’s and congressman’s jobs to “rescue” us from our not getting our share of wasteful spending. I would have hoped that the author of this editorial would have at least questioned whether spending the money in the first place made sense. I would have hoped that they would have at least considered that our senators should act as stewards for the entire country’s tax dollars and eliminating wasteful spending is ” … the sort of rescues we have senators for.”

Maybe we have just come so comfortable with the idea of soaking the rich to pay for everything that we forget we are taking money away from some hardworking American to pay for this pork.

— Doug Ralphs, Seattle

Different ferry requests would have brought better results

There is nothing surprising about the Washington State Ferry System getting shut out of stimulus funding and then receiving only a portion of what it asked for. According to a Seattle Times article [“Feds snub biggest ferry fleet,” page one, July 15], $60 million was the allocation for funding programs from the entire 50 states.

Washington put in a $26 million proposal to replace the Anacortes Ferry terminal, almost 50 percent of the potential funds. In addition, it asked for $9 million to rehab a Bremerton/Seattle ferry, whereas the largest single funded grant for a ferry was for a brand new one in Texas — and it was $2 million less.

Notwithstanding the fact that the Anacortes terminal and facility is not in that poor of shape, it services primarily island locals and visitors and not daily commuters. The grants funded were much smaller and went to areas that had serious economic downturn and where the funds would assist getting people to and from work.

Smaller, more appropriately targeted grants would have faired much better. Washington may have the largest ferry fleet in the U.S. but the logic used by the ferry system and the governor’s office in this grant submission cycle was flawed.

— Bob Squaglia, Seattle

More work from representatives would have brought results

Sen. Patty Murray’s seniority and influence was very useful in getting a whopping $750,000 for the Guemes Island ferry despite the fact that Washington has the largest ferry system in the country.

I personally hate the entire stimulus package, but since it passed you would have figured that our ferry system would have gotten a large share. Murray loves to mention her influence and ability to get projects done in our state, but seemed to have missed the mark when it truly counted.

I know what could have helped: Sen. Murray and Sen. Maria Cantwell along with Rep. Norm Dicks, Rep. Rick Larsen, Rep. Adam Smith and Rep. Jim McDermott should have walked into Secretary Ray LaHood’s office with shovels in hand to demonstrate “shovel ready.”

We can make Gov. Chris Gregoire the foreman!

— Todd Welch, Everett

In recession, ferry pork is better spent elsewhere

Stimulus money should be used to provide jobs now. Using it to design a ferry that won’t be built for years is just plain pork.

That money could be used to hire workers, directly or though contractors, to fix roads, maintain parks, keep state and local workers on the payroll or do a number of other things that would enable people to earn wages. Now.

— Tom Difloe, Camano Island

Shouldn’t Murray not have to ‘rescue’ us?

I am responding to your editorial in which you concluded, “It is for these sorts of rescues that we have senators.” Why does Sen. Murray always feel the need to rescue us. Does she have to be underdog?

This is the second time that Murray has not been proactive in getting something major for businesses in our state. It wasn’t long ago she had to push and push for reconsideration of a government project for Boeing.

We need her to be our cheerleader and advocate, looking out for us and securing what is needed as it is being considered. Our senators should be proactive, not reactionary. If she truly did her job, we wouldn’t need rescuing.

— Jane Bennett, Bellevue

Comments | More in Congress, Economic stimulus bills, Economy, Federal bailouts, transit, Transportation


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