SB 6582 Appears Dead

Sen. Haugen

Senate Bill 6582, which made it all the way through both houses and a conference committee, is now likely to never get final approval from the Senate, reports Jerry Cornfield. As is so often the case, it’s been blocked by Senate Transportation Chair, Mary Margaret Haugen (D-Camano Island):

Rep. Marko Liias, D-Edmonds, [in the House version of the bill] proposed allowing counties to charge residents an excise tax of 1 percent on the value of their vehicles with the approval of voters. And if a county chose not to do this, a transit agency would be allowed to seek voter approval of a half-percent MVET of those living within the boundaries of their district…

Haugen didn’t like this idea. She preferred only transportation benefit districts be able to impose an MVET. Her opposition didn’t soften and by March 23 — the 12th day of the month long special session — Haugen forecast its fate.

“In my mind, I don’t see how we can move it,” she said.

The bill originally passed the Senate by a 1-vote margin, so there may be other Senators with veto power that aren’t speaking up.

Given successful public votes, the bill would have restored Community Transit’s mid-decade level of service and prevented deep Metro service cuts after the CRC authority runs out in 2013.

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.




Comments

  1. Avgeek Joe from Skagit County says:

    Many of you know I am a moderate Republican, I am disabled, and I support mass transit.

    I am no fan of this blockage. I am a HUGE advocate in this Eyman Era of letting the public have their wish of voting on taxe$. The death of this bill is a victory for the Norquist Nopes and those whom want to punish the disabled for being disabled.

    Off hot!

    • What angers me even more is the fact the one who blocked it is a democrat. [ad hom]

      • Avgeek Joe from Skagit County says:

        Doesn’t matter to me.

        Anytime we the people don’t get to vote on taxes either way, it’s a deprivation of liberty.

  2. Bruce Nourish says:

    If Haugen actually would support TBDs being able to impose an MVET (and isn’t just hiding behind this as an excuse), that could be a blessing for improved transit in Seattle (although it could be terrible for a lot of riders in the suburbs). Metro would be forced to execute the 600k cut scenario, from which most of the best Fall restructure ideas came, and Seattle would get to direct new capital and operations spending within the city. It’s possible that Seattle might totally screw that up of course, but I think it’s already been shown that Metro is almost guaranteed to screw it up.

    • Martin H. Duke says:

      I have no claim on knowing what goes on in her head, but she did sponsor and vote for the Senate version that passed.

    • Martin H. Duke says:

      But I agree that handing the money to Seattle (and submitting it to a more liberal electorate) rather than Metro seems to be a good result for Seattleites, although bad for Community Transit.

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        To me, the most important difference is that Seattle’s transit planning has focused primarily on two things (that are, in the final analysis, two sides of the same coin): improving service quality on high-performing corridors, particularly those zoned for growth; and making transit the mode of choice for >1/2 mile trips around the densely-urbanized part of the city. Some of the specific ideas in the TMP are terrible (e.g. at-grade rail through the CBD), but many of the others are great, and at least the goal is a good one, which is a big first step.

    • Metro would be forced to execute the 600k cut scenario

      Do you really think the 600k cut scenario would happen as planned? Given what we’ve seen over the past few months, it seems 10 times more likely that Metro will simply implement across-the-board frequency and span reductions.

      That said, I’m still 100% behind giving Seattle money instead of Metro. That way, either we can buy back the service we care about, or we can start our own routes to replace botched Metro ones.

      • That’s why the watering down of the Fall restructure is so maddening. Instead of making the hard choices and focusing on frequent, reliable service along productive corridors, they’ve kept the status quo. And they won’t be able to afford it after 2013.

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        It’s not a certainty, I admit, but I think it would give the King County Council and Metro an alibi to force real changes. One of the things I heard repeatedly from the public at open houses was “I thought the $20 fee meant we didn’t have to cut anything.” That wasn’t the point of the CRC, of course; in fact, it passed only because of loud public promises to aggressively pursue ridership-oriented restructures, but it’s hard to get traction with that message in the face of a room full of people waving signs saying “Save Bus #X”.

      • Mike Orr says:

        Metro will have to change the plan because the routes it was based on have changed. It’s not 100% certain that Metro will have to cut; I think there’s still time for the Legislature to do something next year, but it will be close to the expiration date. Metro would have done the same consolidations it’s doing now, but would have fewer service hours to work with so some productive routes would be eliminated. Metro will continue doing consolidations as the County has directed it to, with or without the cuts. It’s just that the result will be much worse with the cuts.

        For instance, I saw UW students at the meetings worried that the 71/72/73 would be eliminated. That’s ridiculous: Metro wouldn’t cut down on its most productive corridor unless the entire agency were shutting down. Instead, other routes would be deleted to preserve service on the UW-downtown corridor.

      • @Bruce: I sure hope so, but I’m not holding my breath. When the CRC runs out, I fully expect Jane Hague and friends to vote against a reauthorization (in fact, I would probably do so myself), and I fully expect Metro to present a proposal which eliminates all Sunday service after 7pm and cuts all buses to 30 minute frequency after 7pm and all day on weekends, because the political situation simply doesn’t allow Metro to make any cuts that seem like they’re “singling out” a neighborhood.

        @Mike: Obviously Metro won’t cancel the 71/72/73. But might they consider cutting it back to 15 minute service (45 minutes on each branch)? Sure, especially given that the ridership is predominately students (most of whom don’t vote in local elections, to their own detriment). They *shouldn’t* do that, but they *might*, because politics.

      • Avgeek Joe from Skagit County says:

        Aleks;
        Sounds like a good plan to me…

      • If we can hobble along just a few more years, the opening of new Link stations should greatly mitigate the impact of the upcoming cuts.

      • Tell that to the folks who adamantly opposed the trolley route restructure…don’t see a Link stop for QA, SPU or the CD anytime soon.

      • If Seattle has money to spend on transit, why would we want to spend it on more slow bus service? Why not invest in more transit lanes, signal priority, real-time arrival signs, ORCA VMs, and planning for the subway network?

      • Aleks: I strongly suspect the 71/72/73 will be split in the U-district, with the northern tails reorganized, the southern locals absorbed into the 70, and the southern expresses either consolidated into one route or deleted, depending on whether Brooklyn station has opened yet. It’s just a matter of when. Metro would rather impose one reorganization on people rather than two, so it’s just a question of whether reorganizing the 71/72/73 will be delayed until 2020.

        (I don’t think it’s possible to send the expresses to UW station: Pacific Street is already at capacity. But ridership on the 71/72/73X may drop by half when UW station opens, which would solve the overcrowding problem and buy time for a reorg, and allow Metro to reduce the frequency to 15 minutes without causing an entire busload of people to be passed up at stops.)

      • Seattle Citizen says:

        Why not invest in more transit lanes, signal priority, real-time arrival signs, ORCA VMs, and planning for the subway network?

        Better yet, how about firing the subway planners? We’re not going to build that boondoggle.

    • Seattle Citizen says:

      Seattle would get to direct new capital and operations spending within the city. It’s possible that Seattle might totally screw that up of course, but I think it’s already been shown that Metro is almost guaranteed to screw it up.

      As long as they put it to a referendum so we can vote it down, I’m happy.

  3. Kevin Phillip says:

    I would love to know what business anyone with a Camano Island zip-code has chairing Transportation for the Senate. Huge disconnect in my opinion.

    • Not really a disconnect, she represents my place on Whidbey and has worked on getting the new ferries for us. This part is a bummer however.

      As for competent challengers, forget it. I’ll be voting for her, since none of my GOP colleagues don’t come close on any other issue. Yes, I’m conservative, and pro-transit.

      • She also gets a huge pass from Dems because of her vote on Marriage Equality. Many people were shocked she was the one who broke the stalemate. She is now owed significant favors. Voila! dead bill…

  4. Good lord, it will be a bright day when she either resigns or is removed from office by a competent challenger. Sigh.

    • Avgeek Joe from Skagit County says:

      Agreed!

      Rep. Barbara Bailey is challenging her!

    • I said competent, not another hack.

      • I don’t care who is challenging Haugen, as long as she is gone. After all, Rep. Bailey is running to be a mere senator, not Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. Having any other Democrat be chair of that committee will be a huge improvement. Thank you, Barbara Bailey, for running!

      • Thank you Brent. I’ve met the Representative and hack is a smear.

        I think you’d agree we all need to clean up our language and be more moderate so we protect transit for all of us.

      • Why would I want to be moderate when Bailey is anything but an extremist like the rest of her party? If this budget mess is any proof of anything, it’s that the Republicans in particular seek to dismantle government the first opportunity they get and deny voters the democracy they voted for. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an endorsement of the Ds. But, if we’re going to do horse-trading, it should be a net benefit to the public, not regression.

      • Stephen;

        Extremist? I’ve met Representative Bailey several times and she’s no extremist. No Didier by any means.

        Your rhetoric sure is. It’s hard for me to lobby and frame transit issues for my fellow Republicans in terms of helping the disabled and economic growth with your flame-throwing rhetoric. “Regression”? “Deny voters the democracy they voted for” when most Republicans want taxes brought to a vote of the people and more things decided by We The People instead of a bureaucracy?

        Frankly sir, that kind of rhetoric turns people like I away. People like Councilmembers Hague and Lambert saved our bacon and deserve better than your kinda talk.

        Bottom line: As Republicans are on the rise in this state… I’d counsel moderation and cooperation. Together, we can grow the economy, help the disabled, cut congestion and protect the environment.

        There we go.

      • I’ll have to respectfully disagree with your…optimism if you can call it that.

  5. Mark Dublin says:

    What’s our next political move?

    Mark Dublin

    • Ben Schiendelman says:

      Fund long-term solutions and let Metro deal with this for the next year.

    • Show up at the hearing on the restructure, complain about it being watered down, point out where the waterings down violate the service guidelines (which is what I’m doing to try to spare the 60 from the VA hangman’s noose), and be there to watch the deliberations and vote.

      Democracy is about who shows up. None of the critics of the 42 showed up at the hearing for the June reinvestment. So, the council got the idea that nobody cared about getting rid of it.

    • Oh, you mean in regards to state funding? STB should take an editorial stand urging the good voters of the 10th District to vote against Ms. Haugen.

    • Would breaking metro off into its own PTBA be a wise move, along with reforming PTBA funding so they are not solely funded by sales tax?

  6. Jon Morrison Winters says:

    How is it that the transportation committee chair quite literally lives on an island?

  7. Is there anything that prevents Metro from raising fares? How much of Metro’s operating costs do fares cover now? 25%? 30%? How about letting the people who ride buses pay for their own trips, instead of taxing someone else to subsidize their bus trips?

    What exactly is the philosophical opposition to bus riders paying their own way, instead of leeching off taxpayers?

    • Andrew Smith says:

      Yeah! And while we’re at it, we should make those snotty little kindergarteners pay for their own #$%@ing education, why the hell are they leaching of the tax payers?

      Don’t get me started on the military. These arseholes should buy their own gear. You want to kill someone, buy your own bullets. No one’s giving me free bullets. You want to fly a fighter jet? Buy your own damned jet instead of leaching off me. I pay for all these jets and aircraft carriers and I don’t even get to fly them. I pay for all the nukes, where’s my button?

      The worst offenders are scientists at national labs. You want to cure cancer? Pay for the research yourself. Don’t come to me for a handout, you greedy shit.

      And for Haugen? She lives on an island, so she should get a boat. Why should we be taxed for bridges and ferries for those stupid island-dwellers? I didn’t tell them to live there, why the hell should I pay for any part of their transportation?

      • “Yeah! And while we’re at it, we should make those snotty little kindergarteners pay for their own #$%@ing education, why the hell are they leaching of the tax payers?”

        Actually, in Seattle you do have to pay for full day kindergarten.

      • And I suppose you want taxpayers to pay for your housing?

        You want taxpayers to pay for your food? Are you on food stamps?

        You want taxpayers to pay for your clothing?

        Is there anything you are willing to pay for yourself? Or you want to have everything you buy or use paid for by someone else?

        Motorists pay for their own cars, their own gasoline, their own auto maintenance, their own tires, etc. etc. And, they also pay taxes and fees on those things to pay for roads, and help pay for transit!

        [ad hom]

      • Andrew Smith says:

        Or you want to have everything you buy or use paid for by someone else?

        Yes, because the next thing in line after “A democratic society can choose to fund things it finds desirable, can afford, and are approved through the society’s public policy system” is “everything you buy or use paid for by someone else”.

        And we know we are all liars when we say motorists “paid for the roads”. The Aurora bridge was built in 1932, 80 years ago. Unless you are very very old you did not pay for that. Few people alive today did. But we can all drive across it. That’s because we live in a society where we value public goods.

      • Seattle Citizen says:

        Don’t get me started on the military. These arseholes should buy their own gear. You want to kill someone, buy your own bullets. No one’s giving me free bullets. You want to fly a fighter jet? Buy your own damned jet instead of leaching off me. I pay for all these jets and aircraft carriers and I don’t even get to fly them. I pay for all the nukes, where’s my button?

        The worst offenders are scientists at national labs. You want to cure cancer? Pay for the research yourself. Don’t come to me for a handout, you greedy shit.

        I think we can start by tripling bus fares, and adding a surcharge to cover the damage they do to the city streets. Once the system pays itself, we can look into the other subsidies you object to.

    • Matt the Engineer says:

      The same philisophical opposition I have to fire service users paying their own way instead of leeching off taxpayers. One of the core functions of a government is to gather funds and pay for services that benefit everyone. Without public transportation our streets would be clogged (wait, what streets? I mean the privately funded toll roads), and our mobility and economy would be significantly harmed.

      Looking only at farebox recovery, Seattle does much, much better than the suburbs. I’d be ok with upping the fare for long distance routes, as long as you don’t mind sharing the road with more cars.

    • Get your own internet, you leech!

    • [ot]

    • @Norman – why don’t we tell the people who park in Metro/ST’s parking lots to start paying their own way, instead of leaching off taxpayers?

      • You mean those people who use park and ride lots are not paying for the parking? I think you have a good idea.

    • Yay, Norman is back!!! *Auto-scroll*

    • Seattle Citizen says:

      What exactly is the philosophical opposition to bus riders paying their own way, instead of leeching off taxpayers?

      Leeches don’t have philosphies. They have little teeth, or so I understand.

  8. [ad hom]

    • Maybe “ad hom”, but one thing that noticeably separates the USA now from the rest of the world is the average age of its legislators and elected officials. And the generational split between the Boomers and the millennials is not something to be taken lightly anymore

  9. Seattle Citizen says:

    This is an excellent result. Now we need to make sure that any attempts in either Seattle or King County to soak the drivers of cars to pay for the selfishness of parasitic transit interests be put to a public vote.

    And when that happens, you people had better be prepared for endless repeats of last year’s resounding defeat of Seattle’s Proposition 1. The arrogance of the transit advocates is hitting a brick wall. You won’t like it, but that’s just too bad, because you’ll live with it whether you like it or not.

    And as you sit within the wreckage in a few years, you can then ask yourself what you might have done differently. Karma’s not a nice gal. You get what you give, and then some.

  10. Warren Bare says:

    Haugen is going to run for another term and the Democrat’s control of the senate is perilously close (think State budget) so although she is difficult except for ferry transportation she is accepted rather than the alternative who would be elected if she weren’t committee chair.

    And if you want to travel some roads improved in this State over the last few years drive I-5 to the Hwy 532 and go west to and around Camano Island.

    • Seattle Citizen says:

      Warren, don’t mention any road improvements. This blog hates cars, drivers, and roads.

  11. [ot]

  12. [ot]

  13. [ot]

  14. So, if the votes aren’t there in the Senate, why isn’t the House passing the Senate bill, and sending that on to the governor?

  15. “And, they also pay taxes and fees on those things to pay for roads”

    Drivers pay for perhaps half of the cost of roads, they are massively subsidized. As, of course, are transit riders. That’s the way infrastructure and public goods work.

  16. “And I suppose you want taxpayers to pay for your housing”

    Taxpayers do pay for housing in many way, in the form of building highways and streets (without which there’d be no single family houses, or apartments), the mortgage interest deduction, requiring parking lots, section 8, public housing, etc. Whether you rent or buy, whether you live downtown or in the burbs, you are being subsidized.

    “You want taxpayers to pay for your food? Are you on food stamps?”

    Taxpayers also subsidize food in other ways, such as payments for growing grain, guaranteed dairy price supports, restricting sugar imports, payments for growing _nothing_, not making trucking companies pay for all the damage they do to roads, etc. It’s likely that I, as a middle class person, get as much subsidy or more than the poor person on food stamps.

  17. cascadianone says:

    The persistent belief that our entire economy from the literal ground up (agriculture and oil) is not heavily subsidized- even socialized- by taxpayers, is laughable conservative rhetoric. I politely request that the ultra-conservative set on here research how much corporations are really costing us in terms of direct subsidy, tax break, etc.

    If the ultra-conservatives here are proposing total ideological purity: a ban on taxpayer-expenditure to special interests at all levels of our government, then I have some bad news for Boeing, ConAgra, Shell Oil, global grain prices, etc.

    Besides, building a system that will force poor people off the highways and streets of greater Puget Sound, down into some dank tunnels where the elite no longer have to look down on them SEEMS LIKE it would be an ultra-conservative’s wet dream…

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