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State Senator Barbara Bailey, R, 10th LD

Dear State Senate Republicans;

Just a polite reminder of some painful facts from one Seattle Transit Blog Page Two writer.  Especially since Island Transit Boardmember & Island County Commissioner Jill Johnson pointed out in a recent Island Transit board meeting some of you State Senators want to lash out at transit users for Mary Margaret Haugen’s antics* when chairing the Senate Transportation Committee.

  • In 2012, the Seattle Transit Blog HQ was so sick of Mary Margaret Haugen’s antics the Seattle Transit Blog leaders endorsed State Senator Barbara Bailey.   We didn’t expect to see the Tri-County Connector defunded as political retaliation to transit users in the north Puget Sound area for backing your candidate for that position.
  • Senate Republicans got the gavel as a result of many efforts, including reminders to Whidbey progressives & independents of the Seattle Transit Blog endorsement.
  • In 2014, this Seattle Transit Blog Page Two writer endorsed several Republicans.

I mean, this run has received grant funding since 2001.  Also the State Senate Transportation budget has allocated more money for regional mobility grants.  Although yesterday in the genuine section of the Whidbey News-Times the new Island Transit Board Chairman points out your concerns on the genuine needs to right the fiscal ship and charge fares, the reality is that the new Island Transit Board has only had three months to right years of incompetence and ignorance.  Last November, Island Transit staff decided to withdraw a grant application without the previous Board’s deliberation, consultation, input or affirmation – two days before Senator Curtis King warned, “they would have to apply for funds just like every other agency would have to apply which had not been the case before that” as I put in my November timeline of events.

Is it really fair to punish this route’s users – many of whom are veterans seeking to get to the Mount Vernon VA or aviation tourists going to/from OLF Coupeville – for the Island Transit fiascoes?  Or do you legislative Republicans want to be perceived as the bad guys in a swing legislative district, possibly also harming our farm team of county & city politicians?

Granted, Island Transit could run a few runs on their own.  But certainly with the blame for the dramatic cutback from 13 round-trips currently to maybe 3 or 4 to/from March’s Point placed on you if even that level of service as punishing Senator Bailey’s constituents and those of neighboring districts such as the 39th & 40th for past grievances certainly in good faith either have worked or will work to address.

Ultimately State Senate Republicans: You’ve already decided to increase transit funding via grants and all reasonable transit advocates, many with reservations, thank you for that.  Why not put Island Transit on a performance contract with a carrot to make sure the talk and small actions becomes strategic change under (mostly) Republican fresh leadership?

Yours;

Joe

—FOOTNOTE—

*I think we all can agree an Amtrak Cascades station in the middle of nowhere qualifies.  We also all can agree that fundamental reform of Island Transit is necessary and thanks to fellow Republicans in the trenches like Jill Johnson, Rick Hannold and Rick Almberg that now need your cooperation are executing!  It’s going to take backing the reforms to get ‘er done!


A few things for the commentators…

  1. I am an advocate for more transit.  Not going to snipe at any transit run that’s safe.  I ask for the same from you, especially as Regional Mobility Grants are used all around the state.
  2. I helped “back the attack” for a new era for Island Transit.
  3. I have this post scheduled after April Fool’s.  This isn’t a joke or a drill, things are genuinely serious.

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