Jay Inslee said he drove a dump truck once, and he would have certainly needed one to carry all the “material” he and the State Senate Democrats were spreading last week about their failure to pass a transportation bill during the just-completed legislative session – killing a package that it turns out was very close to agreement.
Senate Republicans have been insisting since last year that they wanted a transportation bill, provided that reforms were made at the state Department of Transportation to improve its effectiveness and reduce government waste. Reforms proved to be a non-starter for Inslee and the Democrats, who will do anything to avoid alienating their state employee financial base, so Inslee finally torpedoed the provide transportation negotiations that had been going on for over a year, by leaking inaccurate details from the confidential talks.
Inslee has had a trust problem with Senate Republicans for some time, and this one finally became public once it became clear that Inslee and the Democrats – especially the soon-to-retire Democrat Transportation Committee Co-chair, Tracey Eide – wanted a political issue, not a solution. As the Times noted, Eide last year was interested in reaching a deal with the GOP.
What caused her to change her mind? Perhaps there is now a gubernatorial appointment in the offing that will boost Eide’s pension, a tactic used by Inslee’s predecessor to solve a problem she had in the State Senate.