The Seattle City Council Transportation Committee is considering a bill today from Councilmember Rassmussen that would cut off funding for updating the city’s Transit Master Plan without further council approval.
The bill says that while the Mayor already has the authority to coordinate with the City “Council and Council Central Staff to frame for Council review and approval the vision, goals, schedule, and scope of work to update the,” the bill would disallow the executive from actually working to “implement the update” to the Master Plan “until authorized by future ordinance.”
Rasmussen has recently come under fire from some greenies for being skeptical of the Nickerson Street “road diet.” He told PubliCola that he didn’t see the Council taking action to stop that project.
Updating the Transit Master Plan is one of the planks of the “Walk. Bike. Ride.” initiative that Seattle Mayor McGinn announced last month, and McGinn has said the update will include a study for light rail expansion to Ballard and West Seattle.
Rasmussen may be trying to separate the Mayor’s light rail election promise from an update of the Transit Master Plan, which would otherwise focus on how to align bus service in the coming years. Another motive could be a turf war: in effect, letting the Mayor know that the council should have a big say in the parameters guiding the Transit Master Plan update. Note the “Council review and approval” in the bill language.
Update: PubliCola has Rasmussen on the record for why he’s proposed the bill. Speaking of the record, the fizz got the story up before us so make sure to give their post a read.