Senate Transportation Chair Mary Margaret Haugen and House Transportation Chair Judy Clibborn have sent a letter to the Governor (PDF) requesting Gregoire not veto the private provider provision we’ve covered before.
The chairs claim, for instance, that local jurisdictions have “always resisted even an evaluation of the benefits of sharing these restricted facilities” – when several of these agreements have been adopted already, such as shared use of Overlake Transit Center. Interestingly, we’ve heard that the provisions here in the budget may even conflict with existing state law regarding agreements with private providers – the budget does not amend the existing statute, but instead creates conflicting guidance for transit agencies.
As we covered before, the language in this amendment would tie any WSDOT funding for transit to that agency opening their facilities to private operators.
We’ve heard Starline Luxury Coaches may be involved here – they’re smarting from the Obama Administration removing the public transit restriction for game service, and they’ve weighed in on that issue heavily, and were involved in creating the original Bush rule.
When voters approved local transit projects, they didn’t agree to taxes to subsidize private motorcoaches.