A new Seattle Times editorial urges state lawmakers not to pass up on an opportunity to pass the state Senate’s bi-partisan transportation package, a result of two years of negotiations. The Seattle Times writes,
“Legislators are close enough to taste the victory of passing a statewide transportation package that would create thousands of jobs and make the state’s infrastructure safer for all. They must not let this opportunity slip before the second session ends.”
The one “sticking point” to passing the transportation package is state Senate Republicans’ consumer protection measure. While refraining from giving an opinion on the safeguard, the editorial board encourages lawmakers not to zero in on one disagreement. Rather, lawmakers “must focus on the many aspects of a transportation package they can agree on.” The Seattle Times,
“Lawmakers must keep their eyes on the prize: a plan that relieves congestion, gets people home to their families quicker, creates jobs and invests in public transit.
“Negotiators say they are nearing a deal. They and the governor should close it — or face explaining why they didn’t to voters next year.”
Ultimately, passing a transportation package depends on whether or not state House Democrats and Jay Inslee can look past their partisan agenda and compromise. The state Senate passed the bi-partisan transportation package back on March 3rd. It has been stalled in the state House since with Democrats—including Inslee—throwing insults at key provisions included in the package.
It appears as though Democrat lawmakers have yet to understand that our state’s transportation needs are real and they are urgent. If they want to be taken seriously as responsible legislators, Democrats cannot continue to hold our state’s transportation needs hostage to their tax-raising demands. Democrats must accept the reality that any transportation package must be bi-partisan. Republicans have done their part by compromising on Democrat-backed measures.
Unfortunately, far too many Democrats do not want to accept the reality of compromise. They want it all. The state Senate is controlled by Republicans and the state House by Democrats, indicating that passing a needed transportation package will require a bi-partisan effort. That means compromise, which—for Democrats—translates into accepting Republicans’ consumer protection provision, while the GOP gives in on allowing Sound Transit to seek a higher spending level than is in the Senate bill.
House Democrats cannot continue to ignore the fact that Washington State needs a transportation package. Commuters and businesses require reliable transportation improvements, and they’ve waited long enough for the state Legislature to act.