The slow procession of cars leading into the Shell station at Queen Anne Ave. & Denny was evocative of the Carter administration. Only this time, the draw was a special free gas promo during rush hour, and the line up Queen Anne Ave. was a half-mile long -- sort of like the line sure to form while waiting for tolls should the Mayor's tunnel replacement for the Viaduct go through.
I'm not anti-toll, per se, but Governor Gregoire's motivation for implementing tolls seems to be driven by the fact that she's tired of jacking the gas tax. Screw that: keep jacking the gas tax. Jack it arbitrarily if you want -- at least for individual motorists (I could make a strong case for tax breaks for trucking companies here, fully conscious that I'd be subjected to heaps of contradictory blather from the same folks who want the Sonics to pack up and leave). There will come a point -- and we approached it last year -- when gas prices get so outrageous that people start genuinely committing to transportation alternatives. Tolls aren't really the answer here, and free gas sure as hell isn't.
And confidential to city health department officials and cops: If you want to make a dent in the city's open-air crack trade, put on some grubby clothes and stand outside the nightclub Venom on Western Avenue near Blanchard and the northbound 99 on-ramp, any weekday morning (this is obviously not the nightclub's fault). If you don't see a deal go down (or, as I witnessed this morning, a basehead lighting up) within ten minutes, I'll buy you a free tank of gas for your trouble.