Nearly everything about the way transportation issues are decided in Olympia puzzles me. In King County — and Seattle in particular — voters have fairly consistently shown support for transit in general and fixed-guide-way transit in particular, going back as far as Forward Thrust* in 1968. However, Olympia pays for nearly no transit here, and recently hasn’t done much to give Seattle, Bellevue or King County realistic means to expand transit. Meanwhile in Clark County, it seems voters and a number of elected officials don’t want light rail to be a part of the Columbia River crossing project, but Olympia putting $450 million into and has fought vigorously for $850 million in federal transit (FTA New Starts) money for the project.
That’s more federal money than any transit project in the history of the state has received, including U-Link and Central Link. I understand that the FTA New Starts money is needed to help complete the automobile part of the bridge, but still it’s confusing to me that the state leadership in the Olympia has put so much energy into transit projects with so little support and so much opposition, but have done so little in our area where help isn’t just wanted but needed.
*Forward Thrust failed at the polls because it required a 60% super majority to pass, but had majority support at 50.8%.