Democrats in the Washington State House have passed a bill out of committee that will cut $2.3 billion dollars from the voter approved Sound Transit 3 (ST3) package. Following a well worn Democratic strategy of caving to the slightest pressure from the right, this signals that Democrats intend to pass the bill out of the State House. The bill will then be sent to the Senate where it will be further degraded (the Senate version cuts $6 Billion in transit) and then sent to the Governor.
In passing this bill, Democrats seem to give in to magical thinking: “While this would reduce a stream of revenue on which Sound Transit depends for future expansions, Democrats said it won’t impair the transit agency’s ability to carry out the $54 billion worth of projects in the Sound Transit 3 plan as promised.” This is an entirely unsupported statement. Overriding the will of the voters and cutting transit funding will, in 100% of cases, lead to less transit and to transit built more slowly.
House Democrats now appear to be a lost cause. Let Governor Jay Inslee know that this attempt to override voters is entirely unacceptable. Puget Sound voters were clear in their support of transit expansion. Further, making changes after the vote is an act of bad faith in regards to the state transportation bill passed in 2015. ST3 funding was a hard fought win for the Puget Sound Region in that negotiation – which also funds billions in highway expansion without any public vote.
Transit has a sad history in this state and tends to be the focus of constant second guessing and lack of investment. Washington is dead last in transit funding at the state level and has the most regressive taxes in the country.
Here the issues intersect: The most progressive funding source in our state is being attacked in an effort to cut transit funding.
At the same time Democrats in Olympia are pushing cuts to local funding, Trump and Republicans are pushing for billions of dollars of cuts to ST2 and ST3 projects at the Federal level.
Governor Inslee: This is an opportunity to be on the right side of history and support a better, more environmentally responsible future for our state. Please veto this bill.
Contact Governor Inslee here and let him know you support a veto by emailing him, faxing him at 360-753-4110, or calling his office at 360-902-4111.