This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.

The News Tribune has a good story on the aftermath of the last-minute effort to keep the cross-base highway from derailing the entire $17B RTID/ST2 package. I noted on Friday that the legislators essentially kicked the can down the road.

Here’s what I mean by that:

First, RTID/ST2 will probably pass. The CBH will get funded. Then, the mediation process between all the relevant parties will start January 2009, which, as the TNT points out, is exactly when Pierce County exec Ladenburg — whose “negotiating style made progress difficult” — leaves office. In all likelihood, Council member Shawn Bunney, who’s thought to be angling for Ladenburg’s job and has a good shot at it, will replace him.

After a year or two of mediation, if they don’t get what they want, the environmentalists will sue, send the project to the courts for a few years. Construction wasn’t even scheduled to begin before 2019 anyway.

So I guess what I’m saying is that, for those of you who think the Cross Base Highway is so bad you want to scuttle all 50 miles of rail to protest it, think long and hard. The project is still not fully funded, and it has many hurdles to cross before concrete starts flowing. Given that tenuousness, it’s hardly worth killing rail over it.