A new bill that will reduce Sound Transit’s motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) funding stream will be introduced Monday, heard in the House Transportation Committee at 1:30 pm Tuesday afternoon, and is expected to be voted out of committee by Friday’s cut-off.

Rep. Mike Pellicciotti

House Bill 2123, by Rep. Mike Pellicciotti (D – Federal Way) would implement a market-value adjustment program on Sound Transit’s portion of MVET payments, starting in 2020.

The bill is sponsored by 30 House Democrats, including 9 of the 17 Democratic members of the House Transportation Committee.

Eight who represent portions of Seattle are on the sponsor list, including:

  • Committee 2nd Vice Chair Javier Valdez
  • Steve Bergquist
  • Lauren Davis
  • Zach Hudgins
  • Eric Pettigrew
  • Jerry Pollett
  • Cindy Ryu
  • Sharon Tomiko Santos

The other 8 sponsors on the committee are:

  • 2nd Vice Chair Vandana Slatter (Bellevue)
  • Pellicciotti
  • Debra Entenman (Kent)
  • Shelley Kloba (Kirkland)
  • John Lovick (Mill Creek)
  • Jared Mead (Mill Creek)
  • Lillian Ortiz-Self (Mukilteo)
  • Bill Ramos (Issaquah)

Since the bill is just being introduced, sponsors have the option of submitting a card to pull their name from the sponsor list by the end of business Monday. You can look up your two representatives and contact them through the district-finder tool. Olympia office phone numbers are all listed at the members’ list page.

Conspicuously absent from the sponsor list is Committee Chair Jake Fey (D – Tacoma), who can cancel the hearing or decline to hold a committee vote on the bill.

The other 7 committee Democrats who haven’t signed onto the bill are 1st Chair Sharon Wylie (Vancouver), Mike Chapman (Port Angeles), Beth Doglio (Olympia), Mia Gregorson (SeaTac), Dave Paul (Oak Harbor), Marcus Riccelli (Spokane) and Sharon Shewmake (Bellingham).

At the time of publication, the official bill analysis and fiscal impact statement were not available. However, the essence of the bill, if you want to try to figure out the math, is this section:

Under the market value adjustment program, the authority must provide a credit against the motor vehicle excise tax due in an amount equal to the tax due under RCW 81.104.160(1) calculated using the vehicle valuation methodology authorized under RCW 81.104.160(1), less the tax otherwise due calculated using the vehicle valuation schedule of percentages in RCW 82.44.035, as applied to eighty-five percent of the value of the vehicle, if the resulting difference is positive.

Under similarly-drafted bills, the primary beneficiaries have been owners of cars less than 10 years old.

78 Replies to “New ST Funding Reduction Bill About to Be Fast-Tracked”

  1. So, it seems like the proper response to this is to go ahead and build Link to Tacoma but “defer” the stations in Federal Way. Sound Transit will have to be looking for places to tighten its belt, even if the Chair-Snatcher’s “initiative” fails. That should reduce the travel time from Tacoma by nearly five minutes.

    Let them ride the A to Midway.

    1. That would be crazy. If memory serves, Federal Way was promised service in ST2, but they fell short of the money for it. Regardless, it would be nuts to skip Federal Way, when Federal Way is much closer, and thus not only cheaper to serve, but way more likely to perform better than the more distant station.

      1. Link will reach Federal Way (Star Lake P&R Station) as part of ST2. Some politicians from Federal Way made it sound like Federal Way had gotten nothing from Sound Transit, as part of their concern trolling against ST3. Some politicians have been replaced by Federal Way voters.

      2. ST2 included Federal Way to 272ntd, not 320th, because the South King budget wouldn’t stretch that far. In the recession tax revenues plummeted and Link was truncated at 200th, then in the recovery it was re-extended to 240th. ST3 filled in the funding to Federal Way and added Tacoma Dome.

        “build Link to Tacoma but “defer” the stations in Federal Way”

        That would look like political retaliation and may be illegal. Everyone in the tax district has a right to equal treatment, and the tax district is the entire ST district, not the subareas. But the effect of this tax-reduction bill would be the same as a recession, so ST would either have to slow down the projects or start deferring features in the subareas. That could lead to a de facto deferring of Federal Way stations, but by a different method and the decision might come at a later time.

      3. That would be crazy.

        Yes, of course it would. And Mike is right, it probably would be illegal. But why is this guy leading the charge to eviscerate ST revenues? Do Democrats in the Legislature really think that people will say, “Gosh, now we don’t have to vote for Eyman’s initiative!” Maybe that’s their plan, but they should be up-front about it and provide State support from sales tax revenues to plug the gap. It should be part of the bill.

        Eyman will just say, “Look at them run! They won’t even defend their own legislation!”

      4. The motivation to to switch to “fair” car valuations and the motivation to cap MVET at $30 period are two different things, and probably different people are championing them. Switching to lower evaluations (on recent cars) would placate a few people at the margins but not the die-hard “My annual car tax should not be more expensive than a Thanksgiving turkey, and Sound Transit doesn’t benefit me at all.”

    2. I’m angry about this, too, but let’s not pretend overtly politicizing routing and station placement decisions is good for ST.

    3. I’d probably defer the South Federal Way Station first. The sites are horrible and on expensive commercial land. Puyallup riders will find it easier to drive to a Fife Station since the SR 167 extension will be opened by opening day.

      Then, the deferred station could be built around a TOD development strategy somewhere in Federal Way or Milton (perhaps with some paid commuter parking), which could then pay for part of the new station cost. It just seems so silly to build a row of several park-and-ride garage stations for a single line.

    4. @Al S.,

      The bill might be interpreted to forbid removing stations listed in ST3, even for better locations.

  2. Hoorah – Democrats took big majorities in both houses. Bet we’ll finally get climate action!!!

    Or… more highways and transit cuts. One of those two things will happen.

    1. It is not either/or, though. Highway construction packages are being exempted from various purported greenhouse gas reduction bills.

      1. Exoansing highways and cutting transit doesn’t really booster their claimed climate credentials.

        Insley is going as far as to run for President on climate change but won’t bother to think twice about signing both these bills if they come to him.

      2. He table vetoed previous car tab reduction bills — I would imagine he would do the same with this one. Unless Inslee comes out in favor of a new car tab bill (which is unlikely if it cuts funding for Sound Transit) I won’t worry about it.

    2. There seems to be an opening for someone’s taking to run for governor against more highway construction. Urban voters have long known it’s a waste of money and rural voters especially in East Washington know that there tax $$$ are wasted on highway construction that doesn’t serve them and they don’t need. I know the concrete industrial complex is strong but they can be defeated.

      1. Rural voters are voting for highway construction and against transit and taxes because they’re sympathetic to people’s need for highways. If urban voters were against highways we wouldn’t have this 99 tunnel, 509 extension, and calls for a cross-base highway that I’m not sure what its status is. You can define “urban voters” as those who have absolute transit priority over highways and road diets and reducing MVET and support more Seattle light rail lines rather than suburban extensions but that’s not the average voter. If it were we wouldn’t have these things in the first place, because they would vote for better legislators and would tell ST with a unified voice to put Link where the most people can walk to it (meaning both in the densest areas and in the center of those areas).

  3. Good. It sounds like a reasonable fix to the self-imposed mess created back in the 2015 legislation, resulting in the unfair MVET valuation method for ST taxes. I will call my state rep, Ortiz-Self, to express my support and commend her for sponsoring the bill.

    The following excerpt is from new section 3, (4) (b) of the bill:

    (b) If, when implementing the program, and after applying available resources under subsection (3) of this section and cost-savings measures under this subsection (4), the authority is not able to deliver projects according to the system and financing plan approved by the authority’s voters in 2016, the authority must identify savings and cost reductions, first, from projects other than light rail projects and bus rapid transit projects, and is PROHIBITED [emphasis mine] from eliminating light rail projects and bus rapid transit projects.”

    Interesting. It sounds to me like the legislature is trying to head off Eyman’s initiative this fall (though that initiative, should it pass, would not survive judicial review due to yet another violation of the single subject rule).

    1. Then why not backfilll fhe cuts? They have that power.

      This will have no impact on the Eyman bill or vote. Just more transit cuts from Dems.

    2. The Legislature, not Sound Transit, set the formula. The Legislature is not offering a substitute revenue source to keep light rail construction on track. But, yeah, they are kowtowing to some richer car owners’ subjective sense of fairness, while failing to save the planet from climate change.

      Sen. Kuderer is pushing SB 5075, which focuses any discount due to changing the formula on low-income car owners. That sounds a lot “fair”er to me. Of course, that’s my subjective opinion on what constitutes “fair”.

      1. Yes, the legislature, through this bill, is attempting to fix THEIR 2015 mistake (as I stated).

        “…richer car owners’ subjective sense of fairness…”

        There’s nothing subjective about it. Newer vehicles are simply overvalued using the older schedules.

      2. Or better yet, let’s get rid of the entire MVET and replace it with a statewide capital gains tax.


      3. You are entitled to your opinion about how cars should be valued. That does not make your opinion non-debatable fact. I think car owners should be paying a lot higher taxes, regardless. Cars are a huge contributor to climate change. Not charging cars for their externalities does not meet any straight-face test of “fairness” in my book. Again, my subjection opinion. Your opinion about what is right and wrong is subjective, not objective.

      4. Yes, we must be fair to all those who voted NO on ST3.

        They whine the loudest.

        Personally, I think it’s their muffler bearings.

      5. Well said Jim. Sick of their sore loserdom. Sick of the whine fest. They never have real solutions to make transit work for them, just want their tax cuts.

        Just wait until the future of Mobility As A Service gets more serious…

    3. It sounds to me like the Leg is preparing to say “do not give $2.2 billion to BNSF for South Sounder improvements.”. Honestly, I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. The state should really take a leadership role and push the BNSF UP swap and take more full ownership of Sounder/Cascades service rather than continue these usurious negotiations with BNSF. It’s the next incremental step to HSR to Portland.

      1. The leg is saying cut P&Rs first. That was in an earlier bill that said if ST had a revenue shortfall it should reduce P&Rs first and light rail last. I don’t remember if that passed; I don’t think so. Sounder was somewhere in between those levels; maybe after buses but I’m not sure. The state has stayed out of Sounder/BNSF issues as far as I can tell. I agree that the state should take a leadership role and buy the BNSF track and prioritize passenger rail on it, for both Cascades and Sounder and Olympia Sounder and potential HSR.

      2. Double tracking and eliminating grade-crossings on the UP will cost at least $2.2 billion. And BNSF would fight any attempt to force them to sell tooth and nail at the Federal level. There is a lot of industry along that right of way.

  4. The bill language is a cut & paste from the non-controversial parts of last year’s bill. As such, it’s just a placeholder for a more fully worked out bill than might emerge later in the session. Moving an incomplete bill forward now avoids having it die at cutoff.

    There’s near-unanimity in #waleg that the over-valuation needs to be fixed. The hard part is getting consensus within the Dem caucus on pay-fors.

    That’s where the clock ran out last year. To more cynical observers, it looked like the Dems went through the motions last year of seeming to develop a bill and were happy to see it fail at the end of session once they could blame the Republicans for last minute obstruction. Maybe fair, maybe not. But it’ll be hard to defend a repeat this session after they’ve had the entire year to work on this.

  5. Delete the parking; the land next to stations would be better used for housing. Extend the time.

  6. Where is big tech on this bill? If you want to play realpolitik on this, suggest that due to cuts, we will have a revote- replace current ST3 with Ballard to UW. That will get big tech off the sidelines

    1. Oh really?

      I don’t want a revote. I want the vote we won upheld.

      Been tweeting that out to state legislators, thread starts at [links to inappropriate language by commenter]

      Angry much? Yeah. Sick of this, just sick of it. There was a time when I was amenable to getting a deal done – cough, 2017 legislative season, cough – but it’s blatantly obvious what this is really about.

      This isn’t going to stop at some paper cut or cutting the car tabs and replacing the revenue. Or electing the Sound Transit Board – preferably on the terms of the few pro-transit folks in support of the concept.

      This is going to stop at a death of 1,001 cuts. First the car tabs, then the property tax, then the sales tax. It won’t stop. Meanwhile, we’ll have highway expansion taxes go up WITHOUT a public vote in a November general election.

      I’ve had about enough of this madness. Just enough. OK? The single occupancy vehicle lobby knows what’s coming will fundamentally change their business model and recognize ST3 is an existential threat to their current mode of doing business as much as electric cars, Tesla’s business model, car-sharing and ride-sharing. So we can expect more shameful attacks and pandering. Doesn’t help when so few will summon forth the courage to stand up for Sound Transit…

      1. Twitter handles to tweet at:

        @steve4house Berquist
        @WaHouseGOP, @WAHouseDems, @WaSenateGOP, and @WASenDemocrats

        [comment policy commentary]

        I feel like every day I’m just playing defense……………… watching our northern neighbors walk laps around us.

      2. Hate to say this, Joe, but you (and I) carry as much weight as a Seattle Times commenter. Big Tech threatening to leave for a better transit city carries much more weight.

    2. A “revote” very well might fail. Costs have risen too rapidly and it seems that a significant cohort of former supporters are starting to worry about it.

      1. If they want to. Amazon never said much about ST3, and Microsoft would probably get Overlake Tech Center station even without MVET. It may not be a priority for them behind that. Amazon didn’t like the head tax because it would have to directly pay it, and Bezos is against corporate taxes in general.

    3. ST chose the corridors to maximize the yes votes, and Ballard-UW doesn’t resonate with people who think more people are going downtown or that SLU desperately needs high-capacity transit. And it doesn’t resonate outside Seattle. ST can’t propose a measure that has only Ballard-UW because that would violate subarea equity, and it would be irrelevant to 4/5 of the ST voters.

      There’s a significant risk that a revote would cancel ST3 completely. And then you wouldn’t get a more urban measure; you’d get twenty years of nothing and then maybe the next generation would get back to doing something. Why do you think people who were so adamant about Everett and Tacoma and Paine Field and Ballard-downtown and West Seattle would suddenly change their mind and say, “That’s not what we really want after all”?

      1. Do you not see the difference between influencing city policy (even a very large city), and state policy? “Big Tech” influence with the state leg is a lot more tenuous that with the city council I’d say.

      2. If Big Tech had a lot of pull with the city council, we wouldn’t have a moronic ban on letting companies build or buy housing to house employees near their worksites, and we’d have frequent express buses to SLU from several major bedroom communities. Instead, Metro seems to be holding out to get Vulcan, Amazon, etc to pay for the SLU bus grid.

      3. “Do you not see the difference between influencing city policy (even a very large city), and state policy? “Big Tech” influence with the state leg is a lot more tenuous that with the city council I’d say.”

        Boeing was able to get a sweetheart tax break deal from the state legislature. (Much bigger than NY gave Amazon). All it takes is Big Tech to threaten to move to a better transit city and this will end

      4. Mike, more people are “going downtown”. The U Districts has what, one-fifth the employment of downtown (including SLU)? One-sixth? One-eighth? Sure, 45th has all-day demand but people will NOT pay $50 billion dollars to provide better mid-day transit. They won’t.

      5. That said, I agree completely with everything else you said. A re-vote could easily be catastrophic.

        Though the busophiliacs would like the result: Link from Lynnwood to Midway (well, 272nd I guess) and over to Microsoft.

        Buses can do for the rest.

      6. The “busophiliacs” I’ve dealth with — the ones why say BRT is better than light rail — won’t lift a finger to help make bus transit happen. They never have.

        That is to say, the people who say they hate trains but like buses turn out not to like buses either.

      7. Brent, indeed. They favor “BRT-and-Switch”. They never favor the lane-takings – or new lane additions -necessary to make BRT work.

        They want “pretty POBS” done as cheaply as possible.

      8. Boeing was able to get a sweetheart tax deal mostly because it’s the largest private employer of unionized workers in the state. Business and labor pushing together (which they will even when labor relations are bad) have a lot more clout in this state then a company that organized labor *hates*

  7. I just started ripping at ’em on Twittah: [links to inappropriate language by commenter]

    Enough of this. Enough.

    Why do we the transit lobby have to take this… garbage from the Single Occupancy Vehicle lobby? ENOUGH. Is it because we have so few politicians who take transit, or can? Is it because we aren’t activist enough about transit? I’m not sure but…

    This has to stop. NOW.

  8. Even under your worst case scenario, Seattle has the monorail taxing authority to build something elevated resembling Ballard to downtown and west Seattle light rail.

  9. One pro-Sound Transit case I never hear being made is how many SOV’s a single seated ST seated load can get out of the way of my car. Selfish as hell, but that’s my reason for wanting my present home a mile from all these legislators’ offices to join Sound Transit soon as possible. Which will also get my own car out of some other car-tab owner’s way. So they can go tail-gate somebody else ten miles over the limit.

    Mark Dublin

    1. You don’t hear that argument because people here understand induced demand that backfills anyone who switches to transit.

      1. There’s no doubt induced demand is a thing and that freeways fill up to stagnation within a few years. However, trains cut the peak off the peak and make more dense CBD’s possible. Especially in city centers where there is a dearth of road space, a lack of transit can bring growth to a halt. Trains extend the viability of CBD’s enormously because all those people not in SOV’s are headed there. If they were in SOV’s they couldn’t get there and they couldn’t park them.

  10. I left both of my Democratic Reps angry voicemails about co-sponsoring this. I’m honestly thinking about running against one.

    1. Good for you. I’m in Mia Gregerson’s district and will send her a note saying I hope her failure to sponsor the bill is an indication she will fight it, and I would support her for doing so.

  11. About those ST3 corridors….

    Uh folks, this wasn’t just vote-buying. Yes, I wanted a different alignment for Paine Field – namely gold-plated BRT.

    This was out and outright serving the most # of people the best way possible. This was listening to the public, and putting a courageous plan forth.

    Some of you may not like the plan, but let’s get something straight: This is what happens when we have… LEGISLATORS WHO DO NOT TAKE TRANSIT. Because those who do would be fighting against this with some damn conviction and moxie.

    This is the opening of The Revenge of the Single Occupancy Vehicle Lobby against Mobility As A Service, not a noble compromise to deal with a crisis in the commons.

    Oh and they aren’t going to stop at the MVET. Just so you know…

    1. This was out and outright serving the most # of people the best way possible.

      Oh, come on Joe. Do you really think that was the case? Do you really think that Sound Transit hired experts and came up with various proposals that would best serve the people given their budget? Sorry, that isn’t what happened. If they did, the system would look radically different. There would be no rail to Everett, Tacoma, Issaquah or West Seattle. Ballard would be served with a line from the UW while Lower Queen Anne and South Lake Union would be served by a line to First Hill and the Central Area. In short, the trains would serve areas that are both close enough and densely populated enough to get very high ridership. The suburbs would get faster more frequent bus service. The bus service in many cases would result in much faster trips (e. g. Everett to Seattle, Tacoma to Seattle). This is the way that every agency in North America does it when they are focused on performance. But ST was not focused on that, but on pleasing various constituents.

      1. 1) [ah]. I, on the other hand, came around to supporting it after some very public doubts. Furthermore, light rail to Everett & Tacoma is only fair & just. It’s what they wanted, it’s what makes sense when the buses are standing room only, it’s not “boondocks” but real bedroom communities and cities deserving of the quality transit they pay for, I can go on.

        2) I’m no squish or snowflake but I find it real hurtful when people get on these blog sites and just paint us all in the North by Northwest (basically Skagit-Island-Snohomish) with the same brush. No, we’re a very proud go-transit region. Can we do better? YES.

        [ah]. Thanks.

  12. I don’t mind what dems are doing with this legislation. With Senator Hobbs adding 450 million for the CRC which will have HOV lanes, along with the other major congestion corridors getting light rail (Lynnwood-Northgate, East Link and Federal Way) , the dems have the low hanging fruit covered. There isn’t a lot in ST3 that can match these projects ridership and co2 reduction. However there is still the problem with petro engines.

    With Hobbs throwing some highway widening projects in which will serve more buses, and with the adding of taxing on auto parts which will make petro based cars more expensive than electrics, and with the additional 6 cent gas tax, I think the dems have introduced effective incremental steps that won’t turn the state red. Also, being a bicyclist I don’t mind paying an extra bicycle tax if it gets me more ROW.

    1. While I have plenty of things here to disagree with policy-wise, keeping the Democrats in power seems like the wrong goal. If we can mitigate most of the worst impacts of climate change in time, then I don’t care who does it or gets credit.

      If Republicans help mitigate the impacts of climate change by turning down this and future road-building packages, and that happens to be the biggest thing we can do to mitigate climate change, so be it.

      The CRC needs light rail, because Oregon wants it. Light rail between Portland and Clark County does not necessarily need a large CRC. Besides, that light rail won’t be open until after the 12-year window which we have to stop the spiraling of global temperatures.

      HOV lanes don’t need more highway lanes. They improve throughput of existing highway lanes. They also have political stickiness in that we can’t seem to raise HOV 2+ to HOV 3+ when the lanes fail to meet specified performance standards. Consider that, over time, “Rideshare” orgs will realize what HOV 2+ lanes do for their business model, and dig in their heels to stop conversions to HOV 3+. If we can’t then fix the lanes by adding further restrictions, what is the point of those performance standards?

      Building more lanes will induce more car driving. We know this. Unless those new lanes are filled only with electric cars, and the carbon footprint of building the cars, building the batteries, and recharging the batteries is zero, we aren’t actually reducing emissions.

      1. If you genuinely believe the GOP would ever be interested in turning down highway packages you’re bound for disappointment.

        They would shift the focus from urban megaprojects to exurban projects like the cross-base highway, just while repealing prevailing wage regulations and tolling.

        The Dems plans are pretty good: needed bridge replacements, culvert replacements for fish passage, fixing dangerous bottlenecks like SR18 and 522, finishing the HOT lanes needed for BRT, and maintenance are the bulk of it. Not to mention electrifying the ferries which are a huge carbon source the state has complete control over.

      2. Republicans would totally not provide the votes for a highway package if they think the taxes for that package could be turned into a campaign issue. And, yes, they have campaigned against swing-district Democrats over gas-tax increases to support packages with rural highways.

        Yes, electrifying car ferries reduces WSF’s carbon footprint. Inducing more of their passengers to take transit to the ferry on each end, instead of driving (by cheaply providing more rafts and vests on each vessel, honoring ORCA interagency transfers and passes, and having a low-income fare for walk-on passengers) would help avoid enlarging the fleet. Enlarging the fleet (even if electric) is like adding highway lanes. Even if some of the vehicles in those new lanes are transit or electric, the lane still increases the state’s carbon footprint. And don’t get me started on how much of a dud freeway-running BRT is likely to be.

        More things WSF could do to reduce its existing carbon footprint could include an HOV queue jump and an electric-car queue jump. Maybe even have a premium lane (sort of like the airport security lines) to help subsidize the low-income walk-on fare. If electric cars dominate the premium lane, that would be an additional emission reduction.

        And about those bottlenecks: They are designed to force the next segment of lane widenings, by creating “dangerous bottlenecks” at the end of the widened lanes. As the saying goes, Fool the public on that point again, shame on the public.

        In addition to the fiscal statement, I wish every portion of the state transportation budget would have a climate impact statement (even if that statement is backed up by contrived political pseudoscience, like the contrived safety arguments, so we can at least call out what is missing in the statement).

      3. The carbon tax is almost surely going to be written out, but there’ll be suburban GOP votes for a gas tax increase, there always are.

        And there are legitimate bottlenecks: having one signalized intersection and a two lane section of SR522 up by Monroe is a clear bottleneck. SR18’s interchange with 90 and narrow mountainous section is a clear bottleneck.

        Both of these dangerous sections of road need to be fixed for safety reasons let alone capacity. (see, for instance, the recent double fatality DUI up at the summit on 18)

      4. How does widening roads make them safer? Why do you think capacity issues are solvable?

        Any thoughts on how to actually *decrease* the state’s carbon footprint?

      5. HCT intended, not HOC. High Capacity – High Occupancy, close enough.

        “Democrats in power seems like the wrong goal”. Of course democrats in power for the sake of power is stupid, give me a break. Given the recent history of Washington politics and given what is at stake if you want to see emissions cut via gas taxes, public transportation, alternative energy policies, a CRC with HCT and etc., as a general rule of thumb, you want to put your money on democrats. Look at California, they would not be where they are today with emissions management if not for Democratic majorities. Some day they may go overboard and lose some seats, but for the situation at hand they appear to have been the better choice.

        Induced traffic not always. In many cases extra lanes can be converted to BRT, Rapid Ride, EV lanes and etc. Tesla builds batteries near bye in Nevada where the Lithium can be mined. Not a bad system. California is a heavy alternative energy dependent state, not a lot of charging emissions overhead. Washington is heading in same direction.

      6. Have you driven SR18? There’s no center barrier for the bulk of the mountainous section. Head on accidents, like the one I cited are thus distressingly common. Same with 522: an at-grade intersection in the middle of what’s otherwise a freeway is a massive safety hazard.

        Much of the new capacity being added around here is tolled (16, 167, 405, 509, 520) and doesn’t have nearly the induced demand effects of GP lanes.

        There’s lots of practical ways to reduce carbon emissions. The best are:

        1: Eliminating the coal component of the state’s electric mix ASAP. Mandate the investor owned utilities ramp up wind and solar and storage fast to eliminate the need for gas peakers as soon as possible.

        2: Restructure motor vehicle taxation to favor low carbon alternatives. A feebate system like they use in Europe where the level of taxation is based on the CO2 emissions would promote EV adoption massively. Moving the local fleets to electric ASAP is the biggest thing we can do – ferries, cars, buses, trucks.

        3: Increasing grant programs to make heat pumps more cost effective. A 95% efficient gas furnace is too close in cost to a heat pump from a homeowner’s point of view.

        Basically, we should be trying to incentivize consumers to choose low carbon products. Every car purchased tomorrow will be in service for 15 years on average.

      7. I normally would have a Republican policy preference when it comes to emissions and gas tax issues. But with the recent announcements of electric pickups from Rivian and Tesla, and with the expansion of REG’s biodiesel plants in the state I think rural residents are finally at the point where they can adapt better.

      8. Have you driven SR18? There’s no center barrier for the bulk of the mountainous section. Head on accidents, like the one I cited are thus distressingly common. Same with 522: an at-grade intersection in the middle of what’s otherwise a freeway is a massive safety hazard.

        Much of the new capacity being added around here is tolled (16, 167, 405, 509, 520) and doesn’t have nearly the induced demand effects of GP lanes.

        So, build the center barrier, not new lanes. And turn existing lanes into toll or HOV lanes. That would actually *reduce* carbon emissions.

        I have been on SR 522 many times. It has lots of intersections. To the extent it has been turned into a freeway, yeah, that was an anti-safety idea. And now, you’ll turn intersections into freeway extensions one by one in the name of “safety”, and destroy the utility of SR 522 BRT in the process, making the highway increasingly pedestrian-hostile. NO THANKS.

      9. @Brent, Ron’s talking about SR 522 northeast of 405, where the only intersection between UW Bothell and US 2 is Paradise Lake Road. I agree with him; that really does need to be upgraded to an interchange.

        That said, I agree with you that SR 522 south of UW Bothell should be kept as it is or made even more pedestrian-friendly.

      10. Ah yes, All Hail LOS.

        Widen, widen, widen.

        The funny thing is, the more an arterial gets widened (SR-522), to attempt to get maximum SOV throughput, and with the additional BAT lanes,..
        it actually slows traffic down.


        Because now the pedestrian timing on each traffic light must account for the distance for a senior citizen to navigate safely. Up to 7 lanes wide at major intersections (turn lanes included).

        From my ‘through the windshield’ view, it adds between 10-15 seconds to each cycle.
        Multiply by number of intersections…

        As a former Bothell resident, Bothell has morphed from that small town pedestrian friendly feel with an accessible waterfront (Bothell Landing), to just another car-dominated landscape.

        and don’t get me started on their Proposition 1, which was to complete the widening of the section of Bothell-Everett Hwy at McMenamins Hotel.
        It was voted down, but the city said they’d just build it out anyway.

      11. “Republicans would totally not provide the votes for a highway package if they think the taxes for that package could be turned into a campaign issue.”

        Of course. but one of the reasons many of them are Republicans is the freedom to drive without nanny-state regulations and for fossil fuels to be cheap. There’s some counterpressure because they also want more/wider highways and some of them acknowledge the connection between the gas tax and funding highways.

        The key to understanding where Republicans and Democrats are on the balance of car infrastructure vs transit on a scale of 1-10 is that Republicans are a 2 and Democrats are a 4. The ST3 vote is not an exception because while it funds transit it largely leaves car lanes intact. What’s missing is an absolute prioritization of transit as in Paris, on the basis that a vehicle carrying 50 people should have 50 times the priority over a car carrying one or two people, and its lesser environmental impact.

      12. The spectrum thing does nothing for me. Transportation policy is not one-dimensional, nor merely curved back on itself.

        On climate change, Rs are a -10 and Ds are a -8. We need someone to be a +10 this year, or we will miss the mark for when emissions have to actually start *decreasing*. That mark is actually next year. We will fail. Let’s at least not fail miserably and hope the rest of the world does better.

        The best D plans merely set targets to reduce emissions … eventually. And then exempt transportation, which happens to be the largest source of emissions in Washington State. This whole mess will be about as successful as all the plans to end homelessness in N+M years, where both N and M keep increasing.

        If we are to start with “Do no more harm”, that means letting ST3 do their job and building zero new highway lanes. If the Rs can deliver the votes to block building new highway lanes (along with some enlightened Ds), I will be grateful.

  13. People are so ridiculous. They’re going to whine and complain about a couple hundred dollars while they hemmorage tens of thousands to a Federal government run by the Umpa Loompa to subsidize the likes of Amazon, BP, Shell, GE, GM, Bank of America, Monsanto (uh, Bayer), Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Walmart, etc. I’ll happily pay taxes locally to build local infrastructure. What is wrong with people?

  14. Sent the following to my rep on the committee (Doglio), and CCed my other reps:

    “Our region is in desperate need of high-quality, fast mass transit in dedicated ROW. The light rail system in Seattle has been a revelation, and HB 2123 endangers Sound Transit’s ability to deliver what was promised to voters in ST3. I would ask you to strenuously oppose any threats to Sound Transit’s budget, however, should it be clear that HB 2123 has enough support to pass without your vote, please ensure any MVET reduction is offset by new funding from the state.”

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