Thanks in part to all your phone calls and email, Representative Simpson’s first amendment (PDF) to the budget bill passed will almost definitely pass Monday! This amendment will strike Representative Clibborn’s requirement that the joint transportation committee assess the value of the I-90 express lanes before WSDOT can sign off on an EIS. Please check out the amendment and be sure to thank your reps – there’s a list of those who signed on at the top.

He’s followed it up with a second amendment we also like, which will also move Monday. Jarrett’s senate amendment would have required an asset assessment as well, but it was an unfunded mandate – he included no money. This new Simpson amendment funds an assessment, and ensures it’s conducted by ST and WSDOT, not the joint transportation committee. He also makes sure Sound Transit’s CEO has a say in who the consultant will be, and specifically calls out that it must account for the previous agreements made regarding I-90.

The best part? It has to be done by December 1st, meaning none of this mess would affect the East Link schedule. It essentially ties up all the loose ends that the Clibborn and Jarrett amendments created.

The next part makes me cautiously optimistic. All this attention may have made an impact across the board. There’s another amendment from Judy Clibborn, and it seems pretty simple – it adds $10.6 million to the R8A project in this biennium. She’s been saying this in constituent email for a couple of days, but I wanted to hold off on writing anything about it until I had a reference. The catch (notice how there’s always a catch?) is that it’s specifically restricted to funding preliminary engineering. I don’t know whether that meshes with Sound Transit’s funding for the project, or if there’s even $10 million of preliminary engineering to be done, so we’ll see whether this is entirely positive – but it is a small step in the right direction.

I’m not sure if either of these new amendments have had a vote yet, and as they’re both House-only, we’ll have to follow up with our legislators to ensure that they make it through the conference committee into the final bill.

So, to round up on the three big Sound Transit-related legislative issues:

  1. R8A funding appears to be partly replaced. This is good, the Clibborn amendment is similar to what the Governor requested in her budget, and there’s a good chance this will remain.
  2. This asset assessment thing isn’t dead, but the big danger of halting negotiation between WSDOT and ST seems to be averted. Clibborn has still said the valuation of the center lanes could be between “$0 and $2.8 billion” – and while she’s told constituents she expects it to be at the lower end of that range, I’ll be following up with some information about what might help determine that.
  3. Regional Mobility Grants are still okay in the Senate at $40 million, but gutted in the House. These are awarded competitively, and Sound Transit does very well. These could help with R8A, with Sounder to Lakewood, and with bus purchases. The House version shuts Sound Transit out entirely and overrides the competitive process. What concerns me here is that Clibborn could easily say she’s only willing to take her R8A amendment or the regional mobility grant language from the Senate. I don’t know that we’ll be able to get any information about this process before it’s over, but we’re trying.

Overall, there’s been some great progress here! If you have time, I urge you to take a moment to thank Representative Simpson for pulling transit out of the fire here, and your own legislators if they helped him out.

Whoops: The amendments are going to a vote on Monday, the first one hasn’t actually passed yet – but it has enough cosigners to do so. It looks like both of Simpson’s amendments strike Clibborn’s section 17, so the first one will probably be replaced with the new one.

47 Replies to “Some Good News From Olympia”

  1. Sending a thank you note to Pettigrew as we speak. Thanks for letting the sunshine in on this, STB.

  2. This is a complicated issue for our readers, so thanks for the clear post! The fight certainly isn’t over, but things are looking much more optimistic than they did a few weeks ago.

  3. The big problem with Rep. Clibburn’s amendment is that it restricts funding to preliminary engineering. It’s in direct conflict with language in the 2nd Simpson ammendment “The legislature is committed to the timely completion of R8A” because WSDOT has construction scheduled to begin in 2010. The effect of Rep. Clibburn’s poison pill is prevent WSDOT from going out to bid on the construction. At a time when jobs are coming in well under previous engineering estimates and the federal government is doing everything it can to fund projects that will create jobs this can only be seen as one last grasp at obstructionism.

    While I don’t think money for more studies is necessary in this biennium I would support Rep. Simpson’s second amendment. I believe it is very well written in calling out specifically what and how must be done and (best of all) puts a deadline on the action. Completing this now rather than later will hopefully end up saving money in the long run and perhaps allow the legislature to focus more on other crucial matters.

    1. There is still a lot of design work to be done on Stage 3 of R8A (Mercer Island to Seattle). I don’t know if it is $10M worth of design, but right now there isn’t any money to do it. This isn’t perfect, but it is at least a step in the right direction.

  4. Clibborn is still worrisome — Clibborn has still said the valuation of the center lanes could be between “$0 and $2.8 billion” – and while she’s told constituents she expects it to be at the lower end of that range,
    Ummm, yeah, the lower end of that range being the $1b that a certain other legislator wants to divert to the 520 bridge to pay for the most expensive project option.

    We’re not out of the wood yet.

    1. I really hope that the state government doesn’t use this “asset evaluation” as a way to extort money from Sound Transit. In the end it will be the taxpayer that they are screwing over. Taxpayers paid for the bridge, taxpayers pay for Sound Transit and taxpayers pay for WSDOT. It really would be robbing Peter to pay Paul.

      1. This is why the Simpson amendment laying out ST as part of the team that evaluates the assets is great.

        And yeah, it’s taxpayer owned. It’s ridiculous we’re even talking about how much it’ll cost.

      2. If WSDOT needed 3 acres of a State Park to realign a highway, do you think they should get it for free because it is state land? I don’t have a problem with ST paying for use of I-90 as long it is a realistic amount.

        About 5 years ago, ST lead a study of high capacity transit options across Lake Washington as part of the Trans-Lake process on SR 520. They came up with an estimate of $750M to build a dedicated floating bridge to Mercer Island, and that was year of estimate not year of expenditure dollars (most estimates you see today are year of expenditure estimates). I won’t be surprised if the value of the center roadway on I-90 is valued somewhere in that range.

        I’m worried that the State will get all of this money from ST and spend it stupidly, like on that highway tunnel under the Montlake Cut with the adjacent interchange in a hole in the ground that Frank Chopp supports. If WSDOT gets a couple hundred million from ST, the money should be spend on something useful to transit like HOV to HOV ramps at a major interchange.

      3. My understanding is no matter what the state and Sound Transit agree on for a price the federal government will get 90%.

      4. I don’t think the feds would actually take money – the money they contributed was for transit.

      5. Yes. In your hypothetical situation I do believe that WSDOT should get the land for free. If the voters approved building a highway through a state park then I believe that the voters are saying they value the land more for transportation then they do as a park. It’s state land (our land) paid for by you and me, why should we pay for it twice? The I-90 bridge was paid for by the taxpayer and the center lanes were intended from the beginning to be used for high-capacity transit. East Link, along with the new outer HOV lanes, will be adding people-moving capacity to the corridor, so the state can’t even argue that they need to be reimbursed for the loss of capacity. I understand what some legislators are probably thinking, I just don’t think that it is fiscally responsible.

      6. I suspect some see Sound Transit as a “cash cow” that can be extorted to pay for other underfunded projects. Dino Rossi proposed taking money from Sound Transit in his transportation “plan” and given the $1 billion plus price tag some are proposing for use of the center roadway I doubt he is the last. After all why would Sound Transit be charged $1 billion other than to fill a budget hole for SR-520 or I-405?

  5. To be clear, I don’t think the Simpson amendment has passed yet – because the transpo budget hasn’t been voted on yet. But it does look positive, like you said, because the amendment has 49 sponsors.

  6. So, when are you guys going to meet with Rep. Eddy to discuss her stance and the stated stance of her colleagues and what more can be done throughout this process like working on getting this into a supplemental budget or executive action?

    1. Not during session, AJ. What I offered was a sit-down with maps, budgets, financial plans, to walk through the issues AFTER session. Some of the what you are interpreting as outright conflict (and using pretty gross characterizations of the people involved) are completely to-be-expected tensions between different entities, individuals doing their jobs in defending their agency’s interests.

      You guys have an amazing grasp of detail, but lack some context. And I think that feeds into misinterpretations that feed some pretty harsh accusations. For instance, the SAME group of taxpayers did, do not and will not “pay” for ST, for I-90, for SR520. The financing mix in each is different, and, NO, the state cannot constitutionally give away the middle lanes. But Judy Clibborn will no more set that amount herself than the man in the moon. And the fact that ST is on the assessment committee makes it LOOK better, but certainly doesn’t guarantee any particular outcome. We still have a problem with deciding precisely HOW to value such a fuzzy sort of public good (you can’t exactly chop it up and sell it for scrap, so finding a “comp” is going to be hard).

      I think I explained the regional mobility reasoning elsewhere, but maybe not. The House chair, who just happens to be one of the hardest working and most thoughtful electeds out there, decided that the smaller transit agencies were just getting creamed financially and don’t have the clout (or staff) to compete for stimulus funds, so she gave ’em a boost in her budget. That would be TRANSIT agencies that are NOT Sound Transit. So, she gets trashed for that???

      Your devotion to ST is appreciated, but Judy is required by law to recognize and fulfill all of the state’s different roles and responsibilities – including taking into acocunt the needs of other regions – in executing her duties as transportation chair.

      And, John, I appreciated your comment elsewhere — sorry to be cranky, but it’s a long, hard session. I’m can’t say exactly HOW this could’ve been solved easier, quicker, because that would involve going into ‘way too much detail. But it saddens — and angers — me that a guy like Fred Jarrett who has devoted most of his 30+ years working tirelessly for a mass transit system got eviscerated by this blog.

      1. Well, no, I meant after as well. As to the rest of that paragraph, I’m not entirely sure you meant that for me? I wasn’t implying conflict any more than I was directing people to the fact that politics is, well, political.

        I figured that R8A isn’t something that’s a priority for the budget with such a time and priority crunch and that it could be worked out when the session closes. It’s why I’m a bit wary of trying to force it through at any cost, since there are so many other things coming down the pike that trying to make this one fit could end up blowing other things up. I say this, of course, only as an observer.

        And I can see that this session has been difficult and busy– from the way I hear tell, people should buy stock in whatever shoe brand you wear since you’re practically everywhere at once getting things done. In terms of people like Jarrett getting gored, I think that one was a lack of understanding of agendas and priorities, like how folks got all up in arms and blasted Doug MacDonald for wobbling toward the buses-over-rail side, myself included– and then I met the guy very briefly and saw he’s a pretty cheerful friendly guy who just has a different idea of how things should be done.

      2. Sound Transit routed a few miles of Central Link along the edges of WSDOT freeways — 599, I-5, and 518. Last I heard, the amount that ST paid to WSDOT for the required air rights was $0.00.

        Now the center lanes of I-90 might be different if ST were truly taking two lanes worth of highway throughput and just eliminating that much capacity. But they’re not; they’re moving those two lanes to the outer roadway, where they will be at least as productive, if not more so, than they were in the middle. Not to mention the ADDED capacity in the so-called off-peak direction.

        Not to mention that the 1976 interagency agreement, the one that committed the center roadway to future rail transit, said nothing about “selling” that part of the facility later to the transit authority.

      3. Transit Guy, with Sound Move, Sound Transit invested millions of dollars in the regional HOV system, which is part of the state highway system. My understanding is that investment has been used as ‘payment’ for their use of state right of way. So no cash may have been exchanged for their use of highway right of way, but they certainly didn’t get it for free.

        Also to be clear, with R8A there would be 10 lanes on I-90 but for East Link. R8A was developed independent of East Link with the understanding that eventually the center roadway would be ‘transit only’ That does not necessarily mean rail. The 1976 MOA and subsequent amendment were very carefully technology neutral. A BRT system could be built on I-90 and still be consistent with the MOA. In that case (assuming two-way use of the center roadway), there would probably be virtually no buses in the outer roadways and more capacity for carpools or a HOT lane.

      4. Hmm. So they made improvements to state highways at no cost to the state?

        Also, the MOA doesn’t say transit only – it says fixed guideway transit. It can’t be BRT without another agreement.

      5. Thanks for your comment Rep. Eddy-

        Rep. Clibborn wasn’t “trashed” regarding the regional mobility grants stuff on this blog. We have a difference of opinion on that issue. Certainly, I think un-funding those competitive grants is the absolute wrong move. If the state wants to help transit agencies based on a formula, then it should do so — I would totally support that. But for one hand of the state to “award” a grant and for the other to not fund that grant: that’s bad policy. And it seemed a little bit like picking on ST because they’re “flush with money” (stimulus, new taxes) — but they’re facing a huge budget shortfall like everyone else.

        We have been too harsh, and too personal, with Rep. Clibborn in the past. There was internal strife about the Senator Jarrett post, as well. Those aren’t good ways to reach out to our friends in the legislature, I agree.

        Something that complicates matters is that Rep. Clibborn, Sen. Jarrett, and the Senate chair of the transportation committee have been on record as opposed to light rail across I-90 (at least in the next decade). The honorable Representative I’m replying to doesn’t appear to support that alignment either. You’ll admit that it’s complicated to have that position and be controlling the purse-strings responsible for allowing light rail across I-90 happen with state contributions!

        More over, if this entire R8A mess was a way to get legislation about asset assessment, which I’m not certain of, I think the legislature could have handled the process a lot differently. I mean, if we’re going to use serious matters as leverage then sometimes you’re going to get serious questions from your passionate constituents. If I may be frank, this scenario does explain the lack of transparency during the whole matter. I think that, more than anything, is responsible for “this will delay East Link!” talk.

        I should note, Rep. Eddy, I am pleased with the results. A law saying that WSDOT and ST should decide the value of the center lanes is better than a law saying the Joint Transportation Committee should. It’s better policy. A law having that decision happen this year is better than one that doesn’t provide a date but bars any negotiations between WSDOT and ST RE: I-90 or signing the EIS until the cost is determined. A budget funding two-way HOV is better than one that doesn’t. So all this consternation and stress has created better laws for the region you represent, and you can be proud of that. And I don’t know if we’d have had the same result without a sometimes frustrating spotlight trying to shine on things.

        I have a feeling we’re going to be debating about the center lanes for a while, so I’ll save that for later. :)

      6. Thank you, John. I COMPLETELY AGREE. Still trying to bring that same sort of closure to SR520 and early tolling. Not quite there yet.

  7. Rep. Eddy,

    I appreciate and understand your defence of Olympia and our legislators out there and my few cents on this, would be really to add that there are many contexts we all need to address. Olympia speaks legislatively and sees everthing presumably as part of a micro legislative district-by-district context and also as part of what each legislator sees as a wider macro state-wide context. That which is done is as a result of what is deemed possible politically (this is your work and to get your work done efficiently and with an eye on the long rather than the short term you need to get re-elected with a constitutional frequency that belies both goals in my opinion) and legislatively.

    The Seattle Transit Blog by way of contrast speaks chiefly to Washington State transportation issues only and it too has its micro and macro ways of looking at things. I don’t speak for the Blog as I am not one of the owners of it, but from my understanding thus far, I do not think that the purpose of this blog is to set itself up as being an opposition force to our representatives in Olympia necessarily but more to provide a forum in which we can discuss the finer details and wider context for the things that most of us on the blog believe in very strongly and hope that Olympia adopts sooner, rather than later and at some point rather than never. There are real transportation issues, problems and choices out here and I am sure my fellow bloggers would agree that vigilance and advocacy for these issues is of the highest importance. We are not challenging Olympia , but merely in our own transportation realm seeking to provide a greater context and vision to issues and problems that seen through a distorting legislative lens, our legislators are ipso facto not able to see quite as clearly.

    Just to put a few areas forward to illustrate my points a little more clearly:

    Most of us believe that Sound Transit’s progress in developing a regional light rail network for the Puget Sound should proceed as unshackled as possible. These projects take a long time to bring to fruition and to be sidelined by issues such as the assumed ‘worth’ of the existing HOV lanes on the I-90 seems to most of us to be needlessly distracting of the greater purpose, however important they might seem from a legal or political perspective. With so much on the mind of the federal government right now, are they really going to make a huge fuss if we take a couple of miles of HOV lanes and use them for Light Rail. It is not as if we we want to turn the I-5 into a bike path between Seattle and Portland and then proceeding to do so behind the back of federal authorities! This is a good example of what I mean by the STB seeing a higher non legislative/political context for the areas we take special interest in. Even if we had to, we could argue convincingly that the voters have voted for light rail to Bellevue.

    Secondly, most of us here think that Olympia and WSDOT should show more of an interest in Amtrak’s future in Washington State. In particular, someone needs to be more involved in blasting through the red tape on a second train to Canada, additional train service to PDX and perhaps future additional service to Spokane beyond that offered by the Empire Builder which has unsociable hours for our state. I am writing these in order of what is close to reality fading slowly into what presently belongs more to the realm of dreams! Linked to all this, we think that funding measures to increase track speeds to Portland should be paramount and that funding the Point Defiance bypass in Tacoma is integral to both Amtrak’s future and future growth of Sounder to Lakewood (Olympia????!!! in years to come). So too is funding phase 2 of the renovation of King Street Station. In all these areas, we are seeing a wider context for what could be done with a combination of transportation dollars and political will.

    Thirdly, some of us feel that Mercer Street in Seattle needs to get some state funds. This is a key corridor to lots of different constituencies and interests in Seattle and a proper landscaped corridor would look great in this area as a gateway both to the Space Needle and to the future HQ of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

    Fourth, we need to fund our wonderful ferry system more. Our ferries are on a huge maintenance, renovation and renewal backlog, to say nothing of needing to make some of our ferry terminals look more special. The Coleman Dock looks like a cargo terminal rather than a pleasant gateway. The bridge over to First Avenue from the terminal is a frequent target for taggers so lets make the area look more inviting and a place to be seen in rather than one to hurry through. Hopefully once the viaduct comes down these points can be addressed.

    Now, I understand, that roads are important to Olympia and not just because nearly every constituent has a car and uses them, but also because they are key components of the state’s economic fabric, connecting cities small and large alike across the state, pumping needed blood into all areas. Funding road projects is a great way to look good to voters across the state and I don’t denigrate this. There are lots of great road projects out there but our purpose here is to keep the public transportation flame glowing as we think it is in our State’s best interests over the long term that everyone has transportation choices. People need to feel that they can leave their cars behind so they can take the train to Portland, leave their cars behind in the future so that they can take the train to Bellevue. These are choices, and it is a wider vision that we hope to get Olympia to see as of equal importance to building more and better roads. Think how much easier it would be to add more cars to a train and more trains when demand demands it, than it is to add yet more lanes to existing freeways. The 405 between Bellevue and Renton comes to mind here. Access Bellevue may have increased the number of ways of getting into Bellevue, but it does not seem to have made it any easier getting into Bellevue

    In conclusion, there are main lines along which our legislators travel to reach policy land and there are sidings too. I would like to think that at the STB we offer a second main line but one with plenty of switches not just to and from the main line traveled by Olympia (ideas flowing freely back and forth) but also to bring our legislators back from distracting sidings to their own main line.

    Yes, our dreams are not always rooted in available funds, but occasionally moments come alone (President Obama likes rail), replete with stimulus funds and political will. Let us seize these moments as they are all too few and make the best choices we can with them. At the Blog, we will continue I hope to offer good choices and our legislators, we hope will lend them an ear and hopefully do something with them when the funds come around, but always with one eye open for more funding sources to make more of our choices a reality.

    Thanks
    Tim

    1. Well written Tim,

      I disagree (strongly) with some of what you said (“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” would be hyperbole) but I do hope there can be a more civil tone enforced in the comments. I must say I for one (perhaps the only one) would like to have John Niles as a regular contributor to this blog. What he has said and the more reasoned responses have been very educational to me with respect to the history regarding how we have arrived at the point we are now.

      Your faithful troll,
      -Bernie

      1. You are not a troll at all. Your comments are great, and I’m glad you’ve stuck around.

        What frustrates me about John Niles, while clearly an intelligent, knowledgeable, and passionate person, he doesn’t seem to write with the intellectual honesty that I can respect. He’ll write things almost as if he’s an unbiased observer just noting facts — and it comes off as really manipulative to me. So, for example, he’ll say something like (not a quote), “So-called light rail vehicles are lower capacity than heavy rail trains. These light rail cars can hold up to 160 people comfortably and provide 30 seats. The remaining people will presumably remain standing for the duration of their trip. A trip from Lynnwood to Seatac Airport will take one hour and thirty minutes. Metro’s standard 60-foot articulated bus has 60 seats.”

        This stream of facts is not presenting an opinion, it’s an attempt to manipulate the audience, in my opinion. I try not to write like that. This was in a run-up to an election, mind you, but it just not a real argument to say that on one hand we need to have “real” heavy rail with greater capacity and on the other that everyone needs to have a sit on a rail network. It’s just throwing arguments, hoping they stick to someone like me (“not heavy rail?!”) or a reader who never rides transit (“STANDING for an hour and a half?!”), with really no concern for actually presenting yourself as a biased, non-expert source, and certainly no recognition that neither heavy rail nor sitting between busy stops are necessities for this region.

        However, I do like the idea of having some guest bloggers who aren’t convinced about the whole transit thing or the whole light rail thing.

      2. John,

        Your post addressed to Rep. Eddy appeared after I had submitted my last reply. I applaud your call to reason.

        My response to your comments with respect to your reservations about Mr. Niles remarks is that all too often the responses if not the actual posts on this blog are guilty of the exact same charges you object to. Some of that is OK (dead tree reporting called it Headlines) justified because it sparks debate. As I tried to express in the previous post, the debate this has brought out is not just interesting history it is very pertinent to today’s discussion.

      3. I should be more precise because many of things I said apply equally to us as Mr. Niles. It grates me that he often takes very subtle jabs at rail by presenting a handful of juxtaposed facts and having the reader fill in the substantive argument. I feel like it lets him get away with making arguments without justification.

        In my above example, there’s an implication heavy rail is better — light rail is giving us the shaft — without justification or evidence. And there’s an implication that many people will stand for an hour and a half, or that standing is actually a bad thing on a transit system, without actually saying that. And implying that a bus would fix that issue, without saying it and without noting the completely differing capacity. That is what bothers me.

        Plus he wants us to quit our jobs so we can blog Sound Transit Board retreats in Kitsap County. :)

        We often make arguments without justification. I think actually making the argument, rather than implying it, is slightly more transparent to criticism/analysis than Mr. Niles’ approach. This would frustrate me, though obviously less so, even if one who agreed with me used the same technique.

      4. Hey John, the LRVs have more than 70 seats. I think you can say more about Niles’ writing than calling it a stream of ‘facts’.

      5. That was a contrived example, so I wouldn’t hold Niles accountable for that. Blame me :)

      6. Ben by the way, LRVs last longer than buses. 25 years is the FTA requirement, although Portland can now retire the Type 1s, they are not, even though they are high-floor. They are putting them through a rebuild that will give them 20 more years. If Portland ever builds a subway and can run 4 car trains, it will make for some interesting consists. Imagine Type 4s(Siemens Avanto-type) sandwiching a Type 1.

      7. That’s a great point. Our Breda buses are teetering on the edge of failure, and those are 15 years old and have had a rebuild?

        I was just pointing out that making small ‘errors’ is common in Niles’ arguments. :)

      8. Rebuilding the Breda’s as ETBs doesn’t look like it was such a bright idea in hindsight. Surely there was a bus manufacturer out there who could have been convinced to offer an electric version of one of their articulated buses.

        Now ETBs do hold up a little better than diesel buses but not anywhere near like rail transit vehicles do.

    2. Tim: We mostly agree, especially when it comes to things like Amtrak. But, unfortunately, we have an 18th Amendment to our constitution, which limits our primary revenue source to be spent on highways — and I’ll be with you, when you guys launch the initiative to change that. Of course, we also have seriously constrained revenues right now, which complicates matters, plus about 100 different things that need done with the money we do have.

      BTW, Clibborn has managed to move the whole ferry issue forward — to the general applause of the ferry communities and representatives. I have no idea how she did it – I’ve not been going to those meetings. But the woman works incredibly hard. And now, the ferry communities are all urging approval of the transportation budget.

      I think that, as we move to EV and more transit and thus have to change how we “see” transportation finance, the discussion will get less helter-skelter and more systemic. Or at least, I hope so.

      Your goals are good here, and I applaud you guys for that. Just be VERY CAREFUL about who you turn into the bad guys. We all have our shortcomings, for sure … but we sure as hell are trying hard to make this a better place for us, our kids and grandkids. And that includes not only the sainted Geoff Simpson, but also the scurrilous Judy Clibborn. :-) (I’m joking here.)

      There ARE moments like last fall, when I’m traveling around Japan, jumping the bus/train to downtown Kobe to pick up some fish at Sodo’s food hall … that I say, “Oh, to hell with it. Let’s just move someplace where they have good transit and quit with the arguing back home.” But I don’t. Which must mean I’m some kind of sucker for punishment.

      I have NEVER worked an issue with an eye to the next election, but I do appreciate that is how it seems, with some electeds and with some issues. Not here.

      More later … watch the SR520 issue, and wish me well on that one. NO, we can’t get tolls diverted to transit now, but we can get a bridge built that actually serves transit — and that’s an important first step. And it isn’t actually a done deal, yet. /d

      1. Oh dear. I just confused a Japanese department store … SOGO … with the area south of the Kingdome – SODO. I will be very glad when this session is over.

      2. Given the size of the budget hole that needs to be filled, I’m sure this hasn’t been a fun session for anyone in Olympia.

      3. So if the gas tax has to be spend on roads I assume that means the ferry money comes from some other source. General funds?

        The ferry from Anacortes to Sydney B.C. has been on the chopping block for years. It seems inconceivable that given the depth of cuts in this years budget funding to continue a tourist boat that ships money to Canada (both tourist dollars and direct payments to the Canadian government for terminal use) boggles the mind. On top of this the State is looking at buying a new boat and commit long term to this obligation?

        New ferries are something that are needed. This isn’t the first budget where money has been appropriated for this. The problem is the requirement to have the boats made in Washington. Only one company submitted a bid last time and it was 50% higher than estimates. Some weight should be given to contracts that come from within the State but it should be the business of the legislature, starting with those on the transportation committee to be careful shoppers and get the most boat for the buck within our severely limited budget.

      4. Gas taxes can be spent on the Ferry system because ferries are considered an extension of the highway system.

      5. If that Logig gets Ferrys access to the Gas Tax, can we get a couple of car haulers added to Sounder to get some of that Gas Tax funding ;)

        Lor Scara

  8. Mr. McLellan,

    Thank you for writing to me about this issue. I believe you are referring to the amendment being offered by Rep. Simpson, which I did sign as a co-sponsor.

    Thanks again for taking the time to write,

    Bob Hasegawa

    WA State House of Representatives

    11th Legislative District

  9. I also got a response from my legislator (Jamie Pedersen) that he is a cosponsor of the amendment.

    I want to thank everyone at the Seattle Transit Blog for their work on this issue. It’s the first time I’ve gotten directly involved with my legislators on a transit issue and I wouldn’t have even known about this happening without you. I’ve learned so much in a very short amount of time.

    The comments here are also a gold mine of information and viewpoints and actually very civil compared to other Seattle blogs. The response by some of our legislators is also great to see.

    Kudos!

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