In the News Tribune article $8.5 billion roads plan gains ground, Shawn Bunney (a Pierce County councilman and chairman of the executive board of the RTID) does an excellent job of adhering to the message as defined by our pavement/realtor/developer masters.
His statement "This is about staying in front of the growth, the 1.2 million people who are coming to this region” hits the nail on the head. Remember politicians -- the people are coming anyway, there is nothing anyone can do about it! We're all headed for 3 hour commutes each way, unless we start paving now!
Of course, anyone who's taken Econ 101 knows that can't happen. There is a little thing called equilibrium that's being forgotten. Commutes will reach a point where people will just not want to move here, and will choose other jobs in more livable areas (Bend Or, Boise ID, etc.)
Of course with Microsoft bringing in over 90% of all new hires from out of state, that's the real issue the let's-turn-Seattle-into-Los-Angeles contingent fears yet does not want to have featured too prominently. They realized this when they pushed that issue years ago, and the R-51 referendum was trounced. Voters just don't care that we might prevent hundreds of thousands of people from moving here by not building infrastructure. In fact, there are a lot of people who find preventing that pretty darn attractive. People are smart enough to realize that small clogged freeways are better than higher taxes, tolls, and big clogged freeways.
So, the drumbeat has been "they're coming--no matter what happens!"
Then in the same Tribune article, P.K. MacLean, (executive director of the Fife Regional Chamber of Commerce) blows it all, and says "Without the improvements, trade-related jobs that could go to South Sound residents might be diverted to other states." Arg. P.K.! Ya gotta follow the playbook!