Sen. Steve O’Ban (R – University Place) has been on the warpath against Sound Transit, prime sponsoring a series of Eymanesque bills.
Substitute Senate Bill 5001, as reported on at length on this blog, would replace the Sound Transit Board with a directly-elected board, gerrymandered so as to get an anti-transit majority on the board.
Senate Bill 5854 would allow cities and counties within the Sound Transit district to withdraw from Sound Transit’s property tax by action of their councils, or by petition of 8% of residents followed by a public vote.
Senate Bill 5893 would order the Department of Licensing to stop collecting taxes for Sound Transit.
O’Ban’s anti-tax zeal may not help him bring home the bacon.
O’Ban is the prime sponsor of Substitute Senate Bill 5403, which would allow ferry district money to be used to fund car ferries, as reported by Daniel Person at the Seattle Weekly. Currently, ferry districts can only fund passenger-only ferries. O’Ban’s district has a car ferry — between Steilacoom, Anderson Island, and Ketron Island — which has to be funded out of Pierce County general fund money. Pierce County does not yet have a ferry district.
To borrow a quote from O’Ban, if a countywide Pierce County Ferry District is set up, and is allowed to spend money on car ferries, it could “tax and spend forever”, without a public vote, and without ever having to go back to the legislature to get authority for more projects like Sound Transit has to do.
The bill passed out of the Senate and is scheduled for a hearing in the House Transportation Committee on Thursday at 3:30.
If you wish to weigh in on O’Ban’s bill before the hearing Thursday, you can contact your legislators using the district-finder tool.