In contrast to the awesome Senate Bill 5128, on which Senator Marko Liias (D – Mukilteo) collected the signatures of 19 Democratic colleagues to support granting Sound Transit authority to take a new package to the voters (commonly referred to as “ST3”), Senator Bob Hasegawa (D – Beacon Hill) found a way to get a hearing for his Senate Bill 5343: Go ask the committee chair who decides which bills get hearings in that committee.
Indeed, Sen. Curtis King (R – Yakima, and Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee) is signatory #2 on SB 5343. Smart move.
This bill is textually identical to last year’s SB 6489, which STB covered extensively.
The bill would make Sound Transit pay for the cost of residents’ parking permits in Restricted Parking Zones, which are created by cities, at the request of area residents, within the general area (undefined) of Sound Transit facilities and construction sites. Residents would be privatizing the public asphalt in front of their houses, making Sound Transit pay the City for this privatization, and not having to pay a dime for storing their cars on the public right-of-way, while denying non-residents the ability to park in the neighborhood.
Seattle has a low-income rate for parking permits of $10 per vehicle (for two years), answering objections that RPZ fees hurt low-income residents. The legislation is incompatible with the City’s program that sabotages the feasibility of this bill because there is no limit on the number of vehicles for which a resident can get a permit.
Meanwhile, Sound Transit is taking a much larger step to improve affordability for residents living around light-rail stations by introducing a $1.50 low-income fare on Link Light Rail, starting March 1.
SB 5343 merely subsidizes car ownership in these neighborhoods, and does nothing for the poor. It is being heard in committee Tuesday afternoon (January 27) at 3:30.
We continue to reach out to Sen. Hasegawa’s office for comment on the issue, but all requests have been ignored for nearly a year. For the record, I am a constituent of Sen. Hasegawa’s, I donated to his first State House campaign, and I have voted for him every time his name has been on my ballot.