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Seattle Subway has learned that ESSB 5988 which authorizes transportation projects and a funding source for Sound Transit’s next big regional transit package (ST3) may make it out of committee this week and come to a vote on the House floor.

It is also our understanding that the Seattle delegation is not fully committed to pushing for $15B in funding authority for ST3. In order for Seattle to get the number and quality of projects we so desperately need, Sound Transit must have the full $15B they asked for.

You can find out who represents you here.   http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

Please email (or better yet, call) your Representatives TODAY to tell them you want the full $15B funding for ST3 so we can continue to build the Seattle Subway.

51 Replies to “Action Alert: Full funding for Sound Transit”

  1. Thanks, just e-mailed my State Rep – the current Chairman of the State House Republicans:

    No seriously, if Seattle & vicinity want to tax themselves more for transit, LET ‘EM. The full $15 Billion will let Sound Transit build everything the folks down there need.

    I just hope in return we get the proper transit net & some regulatory relief for our district in return.

    Hope you appreciate.

    1. I really like your strategy of throwing “regulatory relief” in your email =) It truly is a good strategy to argue for policies on “republican” terms when talking to a republican.

      Though calling is better! Do that too!

  2. Just for the reference, emails are generally ignored by elected reps. Generally, the higher effort stuff counts more. In order of effective ways to contact your rep…

    1) Write a letter – handwritten >> typed
    2) Give the office a call, ideally ask for a meeting when the rep is in town
    3) Email

    1. As dumb as it sounds, I’ve been told faxes are second only to meeting in person in terms of impact.

      1. To some extent that has been my experience. Either way I’ve wound up getting form letters that are sort of relevant, but the form letter was much faster in arriving in response to a fax than it was to e-mail.

        Example: I once sent a certain Oregon Republican my opinion about Amtrak funding and how to change the governance so that it was better managed. The response had to do with doubling down on lots of horn blowing at crossings to improve safety.

      2. Hell, I’ve gotten personal responses directly from the elected official in response to emails before. It really depends on the issue and how much time and emphasis the elected in question puts to communicating with the public.

        Also staff sizes matter US Senators and even congresscritters have a fairly large staff. State legislators, county or city council people don’t so the temptation to respond with form letters is strong.

        That said Glenn is right a FAX has almost as much impact as an in-person meeting. Handwritten or typed letter is next, followed by phone calls. Email is pretty much dead last for getting attention.

      3. I’m with Chris — I’ve gotten personal responses to my email (responding to the specific points I made).

    2. Not totally true. The emails get “tallied” to help them understand the position of constituents. It’s true your specific language might not have a lot of weight, but it still makes a difference! I have received thoughtful responses to my emails before, so someone is reading them.

    3. Personally, I’ve gotten very timely responses–24-48 hours from Senators Patty Murray and Cantwell, but maybe staff size helps.

  3. Thanks for this. I called and left a message with Rep. Pollett’s staff. I haven’t contacted Rep. Farrell yet since I figure she’s already on board for the full $15 billion, but I may still do so anyway.

    1. We don’t think they are opposed. We think they aren’t focused. We also think a show of support can turn that around.

      1. There are a lot of other things broken in Olympia right now. The whole mess with education funding among them.

      2. Transportation, and transit, hardly registers on their radar, unless a bridge falls down. (or Oil Train panic sets in)

        Social issues tend to be at the top of their list.

        That’s where the number of emails about a topic would provide some sort of indication to them of the importance of that issue.

  4. I’m attempting to send emails through the leg.wa.gov portal, but it requests the bill number, and says the one above is invalid. Any idea why, or what the correct one is?

  5. KOMO is reporting that the House Democrats unveiled their plan today:

    http://www.komonews.com/news/local/House-Democrats-transportation-plan-features-12-cent-gas-tax-hike–299594811.html

    KOMO says that’s it’s pretty much the same as the Senate plan except without the carbon tax poison pill and siphoning off sales tax. The article makes no mention of ST tax authority.

    Unfortunately the KOMO article is pretty superficial. Does anyone have a better source and/or the bill number(s)? I’m coming up empty with any searches for HB-312a.

    1. Replying to myself due to lack of edit.

      The actual proposal has been posted:

      http://leap.leg.wa.gov/leap/budget/detail/2015/ht1517p.asp

      I haven’t had the chance to look through it yet, but according to The News Tribune the House bill gives ST ” full authority the agency has requested to raise property, sales and car-tab taxes to extend light rail to Tacoma and other destinations, while Senate Republicans want to give authority to raise about three-quarters of the money requested.”

      1. What do you think is the likelihood that Pierce County will actually vote in favor of ST3? Given the relatively small — and shrinking — portion of the electorate that lives in urban parts of Tacoma, I’d say its about 1 in 3 at the outside.

        My guess is that the Pierce sub-area will come in about 38% in favor, regardless of the project list.

        South King will be about the same, East King 44%, and Snohomish 48%.

        For ST3 to pass, Seattle will have to vote for it by at least 75%. Is that realistic?

      2. Full ST3 (with costs explained) polled in the high sixties ST region-wide. So you are probably making a bit of a mistake in your assumptions.

        With the right projects — it would probably pass in all of the subareas. Pierce is the least likely pass, but voters there would likely have multiple reasons to vote yes… so who knows.

        The right projects in Seattle would mean a unbelievable landslide in North King.

      3. That’s very good news, if true. Somehow I doubt it will be so when people mark their ballots, though. I hope I’m wrong.

      4. Like Keith said, a lot depends on what exactly they propose. Historically, the suburbs have preferred express bus service over extending rail. That might have changed, but I doubt it has changed much. I have seen no polling so suggest otherwise (including the link just mentioned — which includes “buses” with every poll question, despite the misleading headline). With that in mind, I think a proposal could pass, if it had:

        1) More rail for Seattle (nothing has changed from our historical preference for rail).
        2) Extending rail to Redmond — This is just obvious and would get voters everwhere to support the measure.
        3) More commuter rail to the south (this is working well).
        4) More buses on the east side and to the south. This is the most used part of Sound Transit, and I think it is extremely popular.
        5) More rail to the north? I’m not sure about this one, but I think folks in Snohomish County are a bit more favorable to extending rail up north. Part of the reason is just the natural proximity (a train trip won’t be that long — although for most a bus to train would be faster).

        I think a smaller budget would be more likely to pass. People are more likely to vote (and pay for) a smaller set of projects rather than a big one. Considering the silly political promises that have been made, it would also make the projects easier. Seattle would have a good excuse to tell West Seattle they aren’t getting light rail. Same with Snohomish County — rail won’t go all the way to Everett, which I think will be more popular. The political leaders won’t like it (they want the spine and they want it now) but the voters are morely to approve the package.

      5. Ross –

        Voters in general prefer rail and ST has said over and over its the ultimate purpose of their existance.

        I tend to think a large package that appears to have a high value in each subarea is the winning package.

        ST is definitely looking to “complete the spine” – its their manifest destiny as an agency. They are going to want a big package to do that.

        I guess what I’m hinting at is, if this gets through the state at $15B – its the start of a year long fight for Seattle Subway around system planning for the ballot.

      6. “More rail to the north?”

        It could go to the Ash Way P&R. That would serve the most productive portion and put a P&R outside downtown Lynnwood. That could allow the Lynnwood P&R to shrink one day, which would give the downtown station a better walkshed. Thornton Place of Lynnwood?

      7. If we in West Seattle can get the Westside Transit Tunnel into the package even w/o light rail, that would be of a potentially great benefit to us.

      8. Can I ask a potentially offensive question?

        If so: Why does West Seattle with a water taxi and a King County Metro BRT line also need a transit tunnel?

        Convince me as I might be convinced. West Seattle is a place I want to visit during my Seafair 2015 vacation for better skyline pictures since oh… 3/2012.

      9. Off the top of my head:

        The water taxi only serves a very small segment of the population—If you don’t live near it, it’s very inconvenient to get to. And West Seattle does not have BRT if you’re talking Rapid Ride–It’s a technologically advanced Express Bus that takes the same pathways as other metro express buses and gets stuck with the buses and the cars when a car accident/breakdown occurs.

        A transit tunnel would provide right of way access for buses and provide a much longer distance of right of way to other neighborhoods which could make for easier access to cultural events and possible convenient connection to light rail possible.

      10. Sounds good and all but I wonder how much it’s going to cost? Especially if Sound Transit gets less than full taxing authority.

        Perhaps trade in the water taxi for it? Just a thought…

      11. The WSTT is also a major down payment on expanding our rail system and has diffuse impact. Major help for LQA, Belltown, SLU, Ballard, Magnolia, Aurora corridor, and every suburban line that can use 3rd avenue since Seattle buses are in the tunnel.

        As much as I love the Ballard Spur – If we only built one thing — we’re pretty convinced its the WSTT.

      12. The west side transit tunnel also not just about West Seattle. Buses to and from the north would be able to use it too. The D and E-lines would each be strong candidates for tunnel routes.

      13. OK, I’m sold. Goodnight to all and to Representatives Farrell and Caryle, get better timing before you start talking to the press about tax reform & Sound Transit. No time to get wobbly… that was last year.

  6. “It is also our understanding that the Seattle delegation is not fully committed to pushing for $15B in funding authority for ST3.”

    Name some names, then. This isn’t high school, let’s not spare peoples’ feelings.

    1. We are talking about reps who are generally supporters but who need a bit of a push to focus on making full ST3 funding the top priority of this bill.

      We get this information indirectly – so its not yet time to zero in on anyone – but we will certainly get more direct and provide specifics if this bill doesn’t quickly pass on to conference with the Senate.

      1. You want targets, I’ll give you two:

        Rep. Jessyn Farrell
        (360) 786-7818
        farrell.jessyn-AT-leg.wa.gov

        Rep. Reuven Carlyle
        (360) 786-7814
        reuven.carlyle-AT-leg.wa.gov

        WAKE ‘EM UP!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Yes, even if you KNOW your representatives are on-board, it’s still important to let them know how you feel, and that you are behind them. Helps buck them up when they start feeling the heat.

    1. +1. Definitely. This is a way to show how much pent up support there is for full funding of ST3 and rail in Seattle in general.

  8. I understand what Seattle might want…however, it was the Seattle-centric nature of Prop One that killed it. I would make a bigger deal about the Regional nature of ST3 rather than positioning it as yet more money to dig more holes in Seattle.

    1. Prop 1 was killed by the 40% of its funding that was going to road maintenance – which picked up give or take ZERO votes. Take away the tabs tax and it likely passes.

      1. I voted for Prop. 1 in part because of the county road funding. On the other hand, most of my neighbors voted against.

    2. On the contrary, there is no way any transit measure is going to pass King County or the Sound Transit district without a significant majority of the Seattle voters to overcome the more-taxes-are-always-bad-as-a-matter-of-principle voters elsewhere in the district. A measure that simply ignores Seattle’s needs to build rail to Tacoma and Everett is simply not going to get a majority of the Seattle vote. It’s not even going to come close. And if it can’t win in Seattle, it won’t come close in the rest of the county either.

      1. The type of person who comes out for an infrastructure deals like this is more likely to be someone who wishes he had a Sounder from his $5000/month apartment in Ballard to his job in Redmond.

        He, in fact, wonders why he doesn’t have this right now.

        If you present this as yet more money for the very expensive and slow bus on rails known as LINK, it will be “uh-uh”.

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