by MARKO LIIAS
In the next four months, critical decisions will be made to shape the future of transportation in our region for years to come. As a policymaker committed to creating viable transportation choices, I need your help.
Pierce County voters will make the first critical decision on February 8th as they grapple with how to fund local transit infrastructure. Unlike King or Snohomish County transit systems, Pierce Transit has not fully utilized the taxing authority that the state has granted it over the years. By approving this increase and matching the transit investments of our other urban counties, voters would save current service and allow for some enhancements.
If you live in Pierce County, you can also do your part for transportation choices by voting YES on Pierce Transit’s Proposition 1. If you are like me, and don’t live in the county, but care about our regional transportation system, you can support the Yes campaign at their website.
The second major decision that will be made in the coming months is whether we take action to prevent devastating cuts to Metro service and restore some lost service in Snohomish County. I will be introducing legislation to provide these local transit agencies with some short-term revenue options to help them survive the recession.
You can find out more about this legislation, including the bill number and the details, by following me on Facebook or Twitter. We are still working through the final legislative details; expect the bill to be introduced later this month.
Finally, the Legislature will continue grappling with the challenges of funding long-term investments in transportation, and this discussion will take time to develop. Across the state, our infrastructure is aging and our declining gas tax revenues are not keeping up. We need a 21st century transportation policy with sustainable funding.
You can help advocate for transportation choices and real investments in transit by reaching out to the many transportation advocates we are blessed with in this region. Transportation Choices Coalition is a good place to start, but there are many good organizations that need active supporters.
The future of our region depends on whether we can muster the political will to create a connected and diverse transportation system to mirror our connected and diverse society. I am proud to be pro-choice, transportation and otherwise!
Representative Marko Liias serves Washington’s 21st district, and is a vice chair of the House Transportation Committee.