At one of the News Tribune blogs, David Seago reports on Gov. Gregoire’s visit to the editorial board. There’s good news and bad news.
The bad news:
The governor said she was prepared to introduce her own RTG [Regional Transportation Governance] legislation for the 2008 session, but she agreed to let state Sens. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, and Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, take the lead in crafting a proposal…
RTG means no more Sound Transit, no more Regional Transportation Improvement District – bodies comprised of elected city and county officials from Pierce, King and Snohomish counties.
Daimajin has discussed at length why this is a bad idea. Briefly, I oppose it strongly because (1) new agencies tend to be paralyzed by indecision and incompetence for several years, while Sound Transit is now operating smoothly; (2) Any new entity is likely to both dilute the vote of pro-transit Seattle and lose most of its rail transit focus; and (3) an elected board is unlikely to approve the taxes necessary to build a good rail system.
By the way, Ed Murray is the one you can thank for the ST2/RTID marriage in the last election, in spite of representing one of the most liberal districts in the state.
I was led to this blog entry via David Brewster on Crosscut, who adds:
The first political showdown will be Sound Transit’s decision next February whether to go back to the ballot in 2008, this time with no roads component. House Speaker Frank Chopp opposes the 2008 submission, fearing that some of his Democratic candidates in the suburbs will be forced to take a stand on a tax increase. Olympia has threatened Sound Transit that if they go ahead with the 2008 vote, they can expect to be punished by enactment of a regional governance entity that will weaken Sound Transit’s autonomy and its dedicated taxes. Waiting to 2010 for the Sound Transit II vote may also give enough time for the regional governance entity to be enacted.
How far back has the Prop. 1 failure set us? A generation?
A wee bit of good news via Seago:
And the notion of “sub-area equity,” Gregoire said emphatically, has got to go. That gave us a little shudder, because the principle that the money raised in each county should be spent each county is pretty much Holy Writ in Pierce and Snohomish counties.
Sub-area equity prevents us from building a system that serves the most riders. If key leaders are starting to recognize that, it’s a good thing.
Still, in state races I’m pretty much a single-issue voter on transit, and the Governor has yet to give me a reason she’d be better than Dino Rossi, which is pathetic.
UPDATE: Sen. Murray has a fair response in the comments, that you should read. It is certainly true that he renounced his support for the ST2/RTID marriage quite some time ago, which is something I should have pointed out in the original post.
As for his claims about opposing RTID from the start, he sponsored this bill about RTID, and Section 8 (an amendment added by the Senate) is where the linkage is established. Judge for yourself (I’m no journalist), but to me that’s ancient history. I’m glad to see our Seattle delegation standing up for a 2008 ST2.1 vote, and that’s what matters.