After reading through the article on highway widening and the environmental implications of it, I was reminded of an aspect of the transportation package being voted on in Olympia. Representative Hans Zeiger has made finishing highway 167 a top priority of his. Since he came into his office, this has been his number one goal, and each session he gets closer and closer to achieving this goal for his constituents.
Though the transportation package is much more comprehensive than this, widening highway 167 will be my focus in this post. This package comes with a 10 cent gas tax increase, which Zeiger has gotten a lot of flak for among his other republican legislators. In addition to transportation, Zeiger has listed environmental sustainability as one of his three platform policy issues. Since he has consistently voted for both issues, I am curious how he would respond to this article, which states that widening a highway places unsustainable burdens on the environment, through increased carbon emissions.
Every policy measure is about trade-offs, so one benefit will likely cause a natural cost. The issue for every legislator is to ensure that the policy survives a rational cost-benefit analysis before voting either for or against it. Because this is such a passionate position for Hans, as it affects his district tremendously, my guess is that he would support it regardless of what this article suggests. (Keep in mind, I am not saying that this is good or bad, just that for him, it survives a cost-benefit analysis between the trade-offs of transportation improvement and environmental impacts).
Since my article that was supposed to be published fell through, and I will have to take “Option B” for the final, I will be meeting with Representative Zeiger to discuss this policy in particular. I am interested in how he will respond, and I look forward to discussing potential changes to the transportation package that will account for the environmental impacts of the bill.