State government attempts to get past rhetoric to a transportation plan | Cornfield

Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and Republican Sen. Curtis King may have set down their poison pens but are no closer to forging agreement on a transportation funding package.

Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and Republican Sen. Curtis King may have set down their poison pens but are no closer to forging agreement on a transportation funding package.

Their exchange of stinging missives last week on low-carbon fuel standards continues to punctuate negotiations and imperil chances of a bipartisan deal getting inked this session.

King, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, is convinced Inslee will wait until lawmakers depart Olympia in March then unilaterally impose tougher standards for the level of carbon allowed in fuel sold to motorists.

He insists this will drive up the price of gas and wants the governor to categorically deny he would act in such a manner.

Inslee unquestionably views a low-carbon standard as a mechanism for developing cleaner fuels and a critical weapon in the fight against climate change which he’s made a signature issue in his first term.

But he said he’s not discussed adopting any specific standard nor proposed anything resembling what King calls a “carbon fuel tax.” In other words, there is nothing up his sleeve and thus nothing to deny.

What sparked the vitriolic scrap especially when it seemed the sticking points between the House, Senate and governor were on things like what to do with the sales tax on road projects and the amount of money going to transit districts?

It is the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy signed in October by the governors of California, Oregon and Washington, and the premier of British Columbia.

As documents go, this is a fine specimen of political speak, an iteration of lofty promises and an escape clause for leaders to not keep them.

In one section it says “Washington will set binding limits on carbon emissions and deploy market mechanisms to meet those limits.” Translated, that’s a pledge for a cap-and-trade system which is a very divisive issue in the Legislature.

In another part on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, it reads “Oregon and Washington will adopt low-carbon fuels standards.”

No surprise King and his colleagues are inflating much import to those words to keep the governor on the defensive about his intentions and derail any attempt at enacting new rules.

Inslee is doing what he can to deflate the significance of what he signed saying repeatedly there’s no proposals drafted and none will be pursued before studies are done and public hearings held.

Moreover, the pact itself seems to bolster his case by concluding with a clear statement that nothing in it is “legally binding” on Washington.

That disclaimer isn’t proving to be a calming influence in Olympia where already slim chances of reaching an accord on a transportation funding package worsen as long as there are unresolved differences between Inslee and King.

Ironically, moving forward on a package is the one thing both men agreed upon in the nasty letters they sent each other.

Political reporter Jerry Cornfield’s blog, The Petri Dish, is at www.heraldnet.com. Contact him at 360-352-8623 or jcornfield@heraldnet.com.



In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Opinion

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He recently retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and now lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.
Silver lining from Washington’s brutal heat wave | Brunell

How about some good news coming out of our record-breaking (extreme) heat… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Cities can help solve the homelessness challenge | Roegner

Each one of the cities outside Seattle faces the same problems Seattle… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Politics of homelessness have taken a nasty turn | Roegner

A common stereotype is that homeless people are all hooked on drugs… Continue reading

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Lifting restrictions doen’t mean pandemic is over

We have work to do to increase the number of vaccinations.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Races for Congress will include a few twists | Roegner

A few weeks ago, we looked at local races for King County… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Thoughts and prayers just aren’t enough | Roegner

The violence must stop. And our elected officials have the ability to stop it.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
City and school board races highlight local elections | Roegner

A record 646 candidates in King County cities have filed for local offices.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
King County Council elections could be more exciting this fall | Roegner

In most King County election races, the incumbent has all of the… Continue reading

Spring Chinook Salmon. Photo courtesy Michael Humling, US Fish & Wildlife Service
Editorial: Act now to save salmon, regardless of dams’ fate

With a plan to remove dams on the Snake River shelved, leaders must commit to broader-based actions.

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Parents have decision to make on vaccinating kids

With one vaccine now approved for kids 12 and older, parents shouldn’t wait for a school requirement.

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He recently retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and now lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.
Rethinking a natural gas ban in Washington state | Brunell

Sometimes being first isn’t good. Such is the case with legislation making… Continue reading