Pierce, Community Transit Relief Survive the House

The effort to attach amendments to the Transportation Benefit District bill to allow additional license fees for transit has met with partial success.  Andrew Austin at the TCC’s blog reports the amendment for Pierce and Snohomish Counties was successfully added and passed the full House.  The King County equivalent did not come to a vote.   The amendment passed 54-44 on a straight party-line vote, except for 7 dissenting Democrats: Finn, Green, Hudgins, Hurst, Kelley, Morrell, and Probst.   The vote was the same for the whole bill, except Hudgins flipped to vote Yes. Now it’s on to the conference committee, and the amendment’s survival is questionable.

If I’m not mistaken this closes the door on explicit relief for Metro this session, although they may gain from reduced sales tax exemptions.  In any case, Metro doesn’t really hit the wall until 2012, so there’s one more session in which to do something.

About Martin H. Duke

Martin joined the blog in Fall 2007 and became Editor-in-Chief in 2009. He is originally from suburban DC, but has lived in the Greater Seattle area since 1997. He resides with his family in Columbia City and works as a software engineer in Lower Queen Anne.


  1. I see the amendment applies to counties of population 600,000 or more. I don’t see anything in the bill that keeps it from being applied to King County.

    Hudgins is one of my representatives. I have no idea what he was thinking, but I know of little in his legislative career to commend him.

    • Bill LaBorde says:

      The amendment only applies Public Transportation Benefit Areas (PTBAs) in counties of 600,000 or more. Only Pierce and Community fit that description. King County Metro is not a PTBA, it is a county transit agency – the only one of its kind in Washington state.

      • How much would it cost to change that?

      • Ben Schiendelman says:

        Changing that would likely have other, much less desirable impacts.

      • The first thing that might have to happen if King County went to a PTBA would be a new representative board similar to the old Metro governance.

  2. University of Alabama Birmingham? But what’s the 460 for? ;)

    • The average SAT score for incoming UAB freshmen? :-) I joke, but I’m a product of the Alabama state university system and it was good enough to get me the heck out of the South. Actually, Anc, based on some of your past posts, I suspect we grew up in roughly the same next of the woods.

      • When you say Alabama state university system, I hope you don’t mean…. that other school… you know…. the one in the City of the Damned (Tuscaloosa)?!?!? ;)

        As to woods… born in Opelika, first two years were in Lanette, then grew up in Atmore (on 65, about an hour north of Mobile), got kicked out the honors college at Auburn, finished up at Spring Hill in Mobile and then the Army.


      • I grew up in Pensacola, FL and went to undergrad at South Alabama in Mobile. Got the heck out of the south after that (grad school in Illinois) and only go back every few years to visit family, etc.

  3. Jessica Clark says:

    If this passes, does CT keep Sunday service, or is it too late (
    since the board voted already)?

    • Martin H. Duke says:

      If they’re anything like Metro, they’re already launching into assigning shifts, generating schedules, and so on. They’ll certainly be deep into that by the time Snohomish County could actually act to raise the tax.

  4. So this looks like it will be to late to save Snohomish County, but Pierce County could benefit. Assuming this passes the Senate, what would happen next to get Pierce Transit some extra money?

    • Martin H. Duke says:

      Well, for starters, the Governor has to sign it. She’s vetoed similar bills in the past, so that isn’t a given.

      If that happened, than the Pierce Transit Board could vote to impose a $20 fee or put a larger fee to a public vote.

      • Thanks
        I guess I’ll call down to her office after it clears the Senate to let her know that I’d be willing to chip in a little more tax revenue if that would mean we could continue having transit in Pierce County.

  5. Does anyone know the rationale for why the King Country version didn’t make it to a vote?

    • Adam B. Parast says:

      Well probably a lot of reasons but I think the biggest one is that Metro has been able to fill its funding gap for at least then next year or so.

  6. It’s difficult to get a group of people who never use transit to support transit.

    The state recognizes half of all GHG emissions come from motor vehicles. Our legislators do a fine job telling us how they want to do “something” about this critical problem. Until it comes time to actually produce results, if course.

  7. if they were serious about it, it would mean electrifing urban mass transit in the region, constructing a high speed BARTD type system along the highway 5 and 99, 167, 405, corridors with light rail on the 90 and 520 corridors. big bucks.


  1. [...] License Fee by Martin H. Duke If you’re interested in why the Pierce and Community Transit relief passed, Metro relief didn’t, and the license fee’s overall prospects in the Senate, please read Erica Barnett and Larry [...]

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