This morning, state Senator Dan Swecker (R-20, Lewis County) dropped a very short bill that probably won’t go anywhere, but I want to bring up to point out just how out of touch some of our legislators are with regional priorities and, well, the future in general. Despite the passage of Proposition 1 and ongoing negotiations to get East Link light rail built, Swecker seems to feel it’s a good idea to waste time and public money in a tightly scheduled session to tilt at windmills. The meat of the bill is simple:
A light rail system or any other rail fixed guideway system may not be constructed or operated on the Interstate 90 floating bridge.
Given that most of the I-90 bridge was paid for by the feds under an agreement that the express lanes were for transit, and as that agreement was updated in 2004 to specify light rail, I have this question for the Senator:
If you’d like to break this agreement, how, exactly, do you plan to pay back the feds for the contribution they made? Inflation-adjusted, it would some $900 million. I suspect the cities involved, who only allowed the I-90 bridge to be built under this agreement, might have some mitigation requests as well.
A call into Senator Swecker’s office was not returned.
Update: It looks like Senator Val Stevens (R-39, North Cascades National Park) has also signed on. But why?
Update 2: Stevens’ office returned my call – saying the Senator declines to comment on why she signed on, and that I should talk to Swecker – who still hasn’t returned my call.