PubliCola reports, adds interesting details:

The bill has been substantially modified from its original version, which would have allowed King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties to pass a $30 license fee by a majority vote of their county councils. The bill that passed today pared the charge down to $20, excludes Pierce and Snohomish Counties, and requires a supermajority two-thirds vote of the King County Council, or a vote of the people, to pass the fee. (That last amendment was tacked on by Sen. Tim Sheldon (D-35), who ultimately voted for the bill.)

Aside from several rural legislators with unhelpful modifications and comments about a bill that only affects King County, interesting developments include Sen. Rodney Tom (D-Medina, Kirkland, Redmond, Crossroads) voting against the bill, and Transportation Chair Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen (D-Camano Island) sounding very positive about it. As a matter of speculation, the latter might be because a short-term bill like this one doesn’t interfere with her rumored plan to bind roads and transit together into a ballot measure next year. Sen. Tom did not respond to a request for comment.

The bill still has to pass the House. I figured earlier that the $20 tab fee would just about avert Metro cuts for the next two years.

The supermajority requirement means that the Council would need at least one Republican vote (likely Jane Hague), but it could still pass with Seattle and inner suburban districts only. A strict party line vote means it would go to the ballot, incurring additional delay and expense. This might also affect the horse trading around Metro’s proposed policy guidelines.

9 Replies to “Emergency Transit Bill Passes the Senate”

  1. “A strict party line vote means it would go to the ballot, incurring additional delay and expense.”

    but the council is nonpartisan.

      1. TRUE non-partisan elections are an independent’s dream. Sadly, all we have now is pseudo-non-partisan elections. Anybody who reads the voter’s pamphlet can pick out the Republicans and Democrats pretty easily.

      2. Wouldn’t “true” non-partisan elections require a wholesale change of our politicians? Good luck getting that anytime soon even if every single person desires it.

  2. Does anybody know why Snohomish and Pierce Counties weren’t included? CT needed this and were pushing for it. We are facing more cuts in Feb 2012 and more than likely, many of us will be without a job!

    1. The legislation as adopted today only applies to King County, leaving Pierce and Snohomish Counties without access to emergency funding. Haugen said she didn’t feel comfortable extending the fee authority to those counties because they hadn’t done the same due diligence as King County to identify potential cost savings.

  3. So the very thought of this bill probally helped kill pts prop 1 and than they dont even get to benefit from it…. lots of thought went into this one i see.

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