The Washington State Capitol
The Washington State Capitol by aidaneus/Flickr

If you want your voice heard by our legislature, then this Thursday please go down to Olympia and give public testimony in front of the Senate Transportation Committee.

Sightline yesterday did a great write-up on how the bill’s priorities are almost completely opposite of what the public wants.  Getting funding priorities in line with the actual people’s priorities would be a good start.  Some other possible comments you could bring up:  Direct funding for transit.  Local funding being councilmanic instead of requiring a public vote.  Increased funding authority for Sound Transit.

Agenda.  Links to relevant documents. Location:

Senate Hearing Rm 4
J.A. Cherberg Building
Olympia, WA

Leaving 2nd and Washington on the 9:31 ST 594 and connecting at the Tacoma Dome to the 10:37 IT 603 (15 minutes to transfer) will get you to Olympia at 11:34. Plenty of time to grab a bite to eat and get signed in for testimony. If you plan on heading to Olympia, coordinate with Ben who’ll be down there for Seattle Transit Blog at 206-683-7810.

27 Replies to “ACTION ALERT: Give Public Testimony on Republican Transportation Proposal, Thursday 1:30PM, Olympia”

  1. Just got sent to members of the media and quite a few State legislative Republican contacts, I gotta go catch my bus. BYE

    You’ll want to read this and check out the hyperlinks.

    As I am about to embark on the 1st of 3 buses to volunteer in Oak Harbor for an emergency situation, thoroughly disappointed in my fellow Republicans to put too much emphasis on roads when:

    a) That’s not what the folks of this state want
    b) That’s not fair to those whom have disabilities in my case
    c) That’s not right when “transit agencies” are in dire straights and only getting the crumbs of local options.

    Making this right means at least $1,000,000,000 competitively given to as they’d say “transit agencies” and not having a double vote on transit funding while only a single vote on road funding – putting people with disabilities at the mercy of the many when there is still much, much prejudice in our society. This isn’t palpable to me, this is a hostage situation using transit voters and (mostly) King County votes as leverage for a state transportation package to fund roads in state legislative districts that don’t want to pay the taxes for said roads.

    If you cannot do that, then give UNLIMITED power to transportation benefit districts (TBDs) for local counties to raise their own funds as a levy the way K-12 school levies have to face the voters every 2-4 years.

    To my State Republican friends reading: Put on your war paint and fix this.

    1. Good luck and thanks.

      The school levies bring up an interesting comparison. The argument against school levies is pretty simple — if that is your primary way of funding schools, then rich districts get lavish schools, and poor districts get squat. That has been the way the state has funded schools in the past, and it was illegal (school levies are supposed to pay for extra things, while the state is supposed to pay for basic education). This is why the state was sued twice, and lost both times.

      So I understand the argument against simply letting each district pay for their own thing. If you do so, then rural, poor districts might get nothing. I think there is a much stronger argument for local control. The people in King County, for example, want more public transit. They would rather pay more for transit than roads (and they’ve shown it at the ballot box). So, take away some of their road projects, and replace them with transit projects. In other areas, there is support for more of a 50/50 approach. This can, and should be done via the representatives. I urge the Republicans to reach across the aisle and figure out what the bulk of the Democrats want. Right now the coalition they are seeking means spending a lot on projects that have the backing of most of the Republicans and a handful of Democrats from suburban districts that are worried about getting nothing. If they pursue a more bipartisan approach (some roads spread out throughout the state, with more emphasis placed on maintenance along with a lot more transit) they can be a lot more successful.

      1. Quite welcome RossB.

        Just got home from my volunteer commute, now I have to work online until probably 3 AM our time for an international company. Had three buses (3) – two Skagit Transit, one Island Transit – either break down while I’m on them or pass the one Island Transit bus. Safety first by those agencies much appreciated.

        I just think frankly we need either a fair shake from the state or all local control for transit.

  2. I just notified all my Republican representatives — this bill is great! Just what we need! Go Transportation Bill — build us some roads for once!

      1. It’s where, and when, I’d like to drive and with how much traffic I want to be in, and how fast I’d like to get point to point. But also, how many cars I do not want on my neighborhood streets so I can walk and ride my bike with some degree of serenity.

    1. So, you have zero interest in road maintenance, then? Just build them and then let them crumble?

  3. Spending on road maintenance doesn’t get you any votes come re-election time, but spending on new roads does. This is purely the R’s trying to improve their re-election odds, and maybe satisfy their ego a bit.

    I find the comments coming out of Clark County to be hilarious. They fought massive state spending in their county because the CRC plan contained tolls and Light Rail, but now that WA isn’t paying for that project they are complaining that they aren’t getting enough for “their” tax dollars. Totally hilarious.

    1. Some people can’t be helped, but many of the more centrist or center-right folks can have their opinions changed by experiencing something. Invite your friends to ride the bus with you. Encourage people to use public transit for sporting events, special events, etc. I always encourage my friends and family to give Amtrak a try between Seattle and Portland. “You don’t have to drive”, “You can drink a beer”, “No parking and traffic” etc.

    2. I think the main lesson from these comments is that direct democracy is a shitty way to run anything. We live in a complex world, and the only reason our world works as well as it does is because decisions are made primarily by people who have developed the skills and experience to understand the thing they’re in charge of. It would be ridiculous to have everyone vote on how Google runs their data centers, and it’s similarly ridiculous to have everyone vote on how we design a bus network.

      1. LIBERAL ELITIST HOW DARE YOU SAY THE PEOPLE DONT KNOW WHATS GOOD FOR THEM GRAR~! Seriously, even the “experts” don’t always know what’s the best course of action. To put a spin on a phrase, if men were all-knowing no government would be necessary.

  4. Other than emailing our representatives (already done) and going in person (which some of us simply can’t manage) what else can we do?

    1. And if we did go to Olympian, the transit opponents would think we didn’t have jobs, even if we had taken time off from our job to go there. This would probably add to their stereotype – – some of them seem to think transit riders don’t pay any taxes.

      1. I pay plenty of taxes. I also have a day job, so I can’t just randomly take a Thursday off (especially not with the holiday approaching).

        There are plenty of folks who work full time jobs that *want* better transit, and would definitely use it if we had it. Its just difficult getting your voice out when you have a full time job as well. When we don’t speak out though, it seems the presumption is that we all want more roads (because those folks are certainly very vocal).

        I want to do more here but I am a little bit of a loss of what exactly to do. Suggestions anyone?

      2. I thought of that as well. My schedule at work has me off on Thursdays. I’ll try to go, fully decked out in logowear from my employer, complete with badge lanyard, baseball cap, and hoodie.

      3. We didn’t make transit a partisan issue. Republicans did. We can’t do anything to change that.

  5. While I completely “get” you that priorities need to be re-aligned, is it safe to assume that the reason the proposed allotment to road construction is so high is because they are trying to pay for the 520 rebuild? Does this have any viaduct funds as well?

  6. Oh thanks Charles. I had seen the headline a few days ago when the story was up, but didn’t click on the itemized list. You’re right.

  7. So it looks like we have a pretty good idea of what is going to be in the bill, but is there an official piece of legislation yet? I’d like to know all the details.

  8. I will head down. Perhaps a mother of 2 who drives for her job, works with vulnerable adults, and is a transit advocate might be some use.

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