The Sound Transit bills are thick on the ground in Olympia. Josh Feit found this one, and it’s got the Senate Transportation Chair as a sponsor:
The legislation, sponsored by the Democratic contingent from the 22nd Legislative District in Thurston County around Olympia—senator Karen Fraser, D-22, Thurston County, and representatives Chris Reykdal, D-22, Tumwater, and Sam Hunt, D-22, Olympia— would allow Sound Transit to expand its boundaries west so that I-5 corridor cities which are in counties that are “contiguous” to existing ST counties, like Thurston county’s Olympia, could be included in the future if voters wanted.
The bill is SB 5780 and the House version is HB 1921. Aside from the 22nd District, sponsors include Senate Transportation Chair Curtis King (R-Yakima), Sen. Randi Becker (R-Yelm), and Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Snohomish).
If I read the text correctly, the ST Board and local councils would have to agree to annex. The new territory would form its own subarea and be taxed at the prevailing rate elsewhere in the district. Although it’s not entirely clear, I believe the only election would be in the annexed territory, not in the ST district as a whole.
I have mixed feelings about this proposal. I have no objection to ST Express or Sounder service to Olympia, and giving state employees a visceral stake in ST is probably wise for the agency’s long-term health. On the other hand, in practice the rail line is quite far from the center city. More fundamentally, a bigger district means annexing a relatively anti-transit electorate, likely raising the hurdle to pass a Sound Transit package.
Josh has lots of quotes about the bill.