This bill is getting a good deal of blasting in Washington, and it's not hard to see why - though it's positioned as (and could be in fact) a way to raise money for public services without raising taxes.
House Bill 2051 (as its digest describes) "Authorizes the sale of naming rights of the state's transportation facilities to pay for the ongoing operations and maintenance of the facilities and, when appropriate, to fund future capital needs of these facilities. Requires the transportation commission, as an alternative to the naming or renaming process and for requesting entities or persons willing to pay for such naming or renaming rights, to develop, set, and approve by rule the applicable fees and guidelines governing the naming and renaming of state transportation facilities."
A hearing on it was held Tuesday.
Backed by State Representative Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, the measure has already drawn a lot of sarcastic response. Representative Sam Hunt, D-Olympia: “I think of perhaps the CenturyLink Capitol Building or something like that. How far does this go?” Representative Jake Fey, D-Tacoma: “Would you contemplate that the part that says Tacoma Narrows bridge or Deception Pass Bridge would be gone, and it might be the ‘Chuck E. Cheese Bridge?’ Are you concerned about the loss of that history?” (And they, maybe, weren't even being sarcastic.)
The Tacomans might have had a little extra sensitivity there. A few years ago a run was made at selling corporate naming rights to the Tacoma Dome. It was a serious proposal and got close to passage, but community activists rose up and beat down the proposal. It's Tacoma's dome, they said, not the dome of some deep pocket.
Will be interesting to see how far this goes.