Sen. Haugen (D-Camano Island)

This is somewhat paraphrased, but overheard on the Senate floor from Senate Transportation Chair Mary Margaret Haugen: “There is no one on the floor of this senate that has done more for transit than I have.”

Noting, of course, that the Regional Mobility Grant program Senate Transportation just stripped funding from was created by Senator Ed Murray…

I’m going to let this be an open thread tonight.

55 Replies to “Quote of the day, believe it or not…”

    1. Hey what is the backstory on her. How did she get this coveted position?

      1. She’s been in the Legislature since 1982 and in the Senate specifically since 1993. These things are usually about seniority and she’s been there for a while, so I would guess that’s the main reason.

  1. LOL, why don’t I believe her? ;)

    If this is an open thread, what’s the deal with my city council (Bellevue)? Why can’t they get together and vote on something–anything. I can only theorize what’s happening behind closed doors.

    1. Special interests have taken over your precious city council, and have become the “axis of evil”, imho…

      But alas, whatever the Bellevue City Council does, Soundtransit has the final say, that’s the most important part

  2. If by “transit” Haugen actually meant “freeways” then that statement is accurate.

    Otherwise, this is the most ridiculous thing I HAVE EVER HEARD.

  3. FYI folks:

    Link light rail service will not run through the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (DSTT) and parts of the SODO area this weekend as Washington State Department of Transportation contractors remove scaffolding supporting a new off-ramp over the tracks and station just south of downtown.

    1. They said that the weekend closure will be better than a month of nightly closures to get it done. Speaking of freeways, more clutter for SODO in the case of the on and off ramps.

      1. This area looks very pedestrian unfriendly. It is kind of sad that it is right near a Link light rail station, which deserves better development

      2. True, Carl, but it’s also a key freight route between the Port of Seattle docks and the freeways. I’m not thrilled about the ramps, but I’d be even less thrilled about losing more of Seattle’s working waterfront, and if we can’t tunnel the rails…

  4. I remember Haugen saying something like this in a (televised) hearing years ago when the subject of transit and light rail was being discussed in her committee: “I don’t care what Seattle does with their transportation planning – all I care about is being able to drive THROUGH the city.”

    Welcome to the Washington State Legislature, where the Democrats are just as progressive as Kemper Freeman when it comes to transportation.

    1. Then she’ll be happy with the SR 99 tunnel, with no exits downtown so she can spend as little time in the city as possible, and underground so she won’t have to see anything unpleasant. But she may be unamused at having to pay a toll.

      1. The tunnel doesn’t even connect to I-5 at the north end, so it’s really just if she’s in Olympia and she wants to get to, say, Greenwood.

    1. Especially closing a station gap in the area between Mount Vernon and Everett, by adding the station at Stanwood. Although I am sure some would say that is because it was in her district. Amtrak Cascades could be better, but it has been pretty good the past decade and a half.

      1. better than no train at all. I’m sure the stanwood station was a bit of bringing home the bacon, but afterall isnt that the point of any leglislator?

      2. That is what I thought it used to be, but today, seems things have changed.

  5. I should add that things would have been 500% better had Ed Murray become chair of Senate Transportation when he moved from the house. But, thanks to Olympia’s “dinosaurs rule” protocols, we end up with Haugen. And Chopp.

      1. Holy ****. Now THAT is a streetcar network (page 50).

        Wish Seattle planners had the balls to put forward something like that.

      2. Anc, that will never happen because the city is too busy installing parks to keep the network growing…

      3. No no. They applied “screens” to that map. The final streetcar system plan is on page 63. I think the inner green parts make sense but the further out yellow lines need something faster than a streetcar.

      4. Good catch Adam, still that is a much grander vision for Streetcars than our current Network Plan. Considering how much more dense we are than Portland, we should have an even more extensive network planned.

        I am REALLY hoping that McGinn’s 2.1B plan includes a decent amount for Streetcars. I realize alot of people in Seattle don’t fully understand the motivations behind the SLUT and regard it as a failure, but a decent public education effort (and examples from Portland) and hopefully soon the First Hill line could quickly turn that around.

  6. Everything she does has a provincial motive behind it.

    Her idea of being transit friendly is sponsoring a bill to allow rural transit providers to stop at passengers’ request between the distant scheduled stops – but that was only because it directly addressed the concerns of Island Transit, in her district during… during an election year…

    Sure, she’s rail friendly – but only to the extent of closing a station gap in the area between Mount Vernon and Everett by adding the station at Stanwood. But guess what? She lives in Stanwood!

    And in her mind, Washington State Ferries is transit. Fair enough, but even then, she uses her position to skew priorities towards the Keystone – Port Townsend run, which serves her district. The first new ferries in decades are all small boats that are only suitable for that route.

      1. I think it started in early February. The car deck seemed like a huge, empty cavern, especially since the Sealth is an unmodified Issaquah 100 class ferry.(I was playing with my ORCA card, using it for a trip to Tacoma but via boat and bus this time instead of taking SOUNDER). The Rhododendron is probably the right size ferry for the Pt. Defiance/Tahlequah run for now. Especially since Tahlequah looks like the smallest terminal on the system.

      2. The Sealth is scheduled to be down there through the end of April. The Rhododendron is on stand-by for use on the Steilacoom-Ketron Island-Anderson Island route if needed (I haven’t seen anything as to if or when this will happen).

      3. How ironic, the State is lending Pierce County the Rhody while borrowing the Stellacoom for use up in Pt. Townsend. The state probably had that in the agreement.

        An irony about the Sealth, you have a ferry named after Seattle’s namesake serving out of Tacoma, and a ferry named after Tacoma running out of Seattle.(THe Tacoma, being one of the biggest, would never be serving out of Pt. Defiance anyway).

      4. Didn’t she at first push for the relocation of the Keystone dock to an area with deeper water so they did not have to purchase a specialized shallow-draft boat, and standardize the new-builds around a 144-car design? Then the cost came in to make the special boat look cheaper.

      5. And we are still saddled with pier 52 and it’s giant parking lot of idling cars. Carbon neutral city? Not on the waterfront! Time to move the car ferries far away from downtown – nobody drives from Bremerton to Winslow into Seattle to park here – they are all passing through if in their cars – let ’em use Kingston – Edmonds or the Narrows Bridge. Yo! Mary Margaret!! Larger, faster passenger ferries, the sooner the better.

      6. At least improve dockside transit connections. The overflow lanes for the Fauntleroy dock are the shoulders of the street. I wonder how those property owners like paying for part of the foot ferries from Vashon? If all the passengers on one boat, and they seat about 150, were SOV commuters, that is 150 cars not idling in line for the ferry at Fauntleroy. Too bad the KCFD Demo routes are on hold, possibly forever. I would like the Waterfront Streetcar restored, or something like it, so Colman Dock can be plugged into the Regional Rail network. THe 16 and 66 bus are good, but not good enough.

      7. Oppertunites abound for intergrating public transportation into the ferry systems, especally the boats into seattle. However, remember that the ferries are extensions of the highway system…

        Ideally, you would build large (8-1200 car) vehicle parking structures (lets think about fee’s people, used in the bay area and east coast – especally during the weekday) at the bremerton and winslow terminals to capture traffic that would normally take the boats and than on the opposite end rebuild the terminal to be more like bremerton (Transit deck above the auto queing areas), plus re-instate the WFSC rail connection to the DSTT.

        In addition to the local service serving the terminal, you could than terminate some of services such as the 545, in addition to the 16 and 66 at the terminal since in reality its not terrably far away from IDS, or add speak peak service to/from everett nas/boeing, bellevue, redmond etc. going directly to the ferry terminal.

    1. WSF are sort of transit, EXCEPT that the state can take Fuel Tax revenues to help fund it, which it can’t for any other “transit” mode. Of course, seeing what has happened to the WSF passenger-only fleet…

  7. In a perverse sort of way this quote is correct. As Transportation Chair there’s very little that gets through the Senate about transit that doesn’t at least get her acquiescence. Sharon Nelson can drop all the bills she wants, but that doesn’t do squat if Haugen squashes it.

      1. Adam, if you don’t have the time to come to Olympia and watch how this place works, at least read the State constitution and maybe the procedural rules for the house and senate. In truth, if the chair of a committee doesn’t want it to happen … it doesn’t happen. Arcane, maybe, but that’s our system of government. The problem is (1)insufficient revenue (and shrinking fast), and (2) the 18th Amendment to the State constituiuton. Within those parameters, both house and senate transportation committees have done a pretty good job.

      2. Rep. Eddy,

        While it’s true that Haugen wields enormous power, my remark shouldn’t be construed to mean that she’s done a good job for transit. Increasing taxing authority for local transit is entirely orthogonal to the State’s budget crisis and the 18th amendment, yet it doesn’t appear to have happened.

        Even conservative counties like Walla Walla have voted to increase transit taxes this year to save bus service, so it can’t even be described as political cowardice. That really only leaves ideological opposition to further transit revenue as an explanation.

    1. So I know this is an open thread, but your comment has absolutely nothing to do with transit/transportation.

      1. If you’re lamenting the senseless death of Tuba man caused by the beating he received from young thugs, fine. However, knowing you, you’re probably trying to tie the death in some way to the use of public transportation. Using that logic, we should ban cars and roads because they are frequently used by young thugs to burglarize homes, sell drugs, and perform drive-by shootings. Feel free to correct me if I have misjudged your motives.

  8. ‘Noting, of course, that the Regional Mobility Grant program Senate Transportation just stripped funding from was created by Senator Ed Murray…’

    That would seem at odds with the Legislative record wherein Haugen introduced SB6839 in 2006 codifying the Regional Mobility Grant Program.

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