Commenter “railcan” illustrates what can happen when your humble correspondent only really started paying attention in 2007…
“The results were terrible” This is a very short-sighted view. I don’t expect everyone on this blog to have a long memory, but Ed can credibly make the claim to be one of the people with foresight who helped save Sound Transit at its greatest moment of peril. Sure the agency turned itself around with good leadership at the local level and strong support from Patty Murray in DC. But at its darkest moments, Ed Murray saved ST by killing every attempt in Olympia to gut the agency in 2001-2004 as chair of the House Committee. He was mano-a-mano against the Kemper crowd in a very lonely fight when ST had zero friends in Oly. Jim Horn sent a bunch of anti-ST bills out of the Senate when ST was trying to convince FTA to restore federal funding for Link. Ed buried every one of them. You don’t always get a lot of credit for playing defense, but it is not a stretch to say that without him, we may well not have the Link system you see today.
And former State Rep. (and STB all-star) Geoff Simpson:
Ed Murray has done more to provide funds for transit in this state than any single person has ever done to my knowledge. I served with him as his vice-chair of the House Transportation Committee from 2003-2007. It doesn’t take much research to find the genesis of the State’s Regional Mobility Grant program. It was Murray’s 2005 legislation, HB 2124 (http://is.gd/sbl0xs). It’s provided $143.5 million since 2006, which has leveraged a lot of other funding – not sure any single person in state history can match that. That bill just barely scratches the surface of Murray’s transit credentials. Some of it can be attributed to behind the scenes efforts, like the First Hill Streetcar. I know for a fact that Murray himself made that happen. Ed Murray has probably forgotten about more of his personal transit successes than all of his opponents have actually delivered, combined. I won’t take any shots at the current mayor or his ability to get things done, but at least get your facts straight about Murray.
For reference, the “Congestion Relief Charge” was supposed to generate about $27m a year entirely for King County, vs. about $20m a year statewide since 2006. It’s not transformative, but it is a bill that has helped transit while not attached to huge highway spending, and has funded King County projects like Route 120 improvements, Brickyard P&R expansion, and the South Lake Union Streetcar.