On Thursday, the state House Transportation Committee held the first hearing on the bi-partisan transportation package passed by the state Senate earlier this month. Predictably, a key problem far-left officials have with the transportation package is the fact that it grants Sound Transit authority to seek $11.2 billion in new taxes, not the full $15 billion it originally requested.
Local officials with a vested interest in Sound Transit—they serve on the transit agency’s board—paraded before lawmakers to make a case for why they should be granted the full taxing authority of $15 billion. Via MyNorthwest.com,
“‘Without it, we just can’t get there in terms of the transit system or the board or the voters,’ said King County Executive Dow Constantine.
“Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland told the committee the full funding is critical to bring light rail to the South Sound and keep people and freight moving…
“Mayor Ed Murray told the panel having the additional lines could help alleviate some of the gridlock like that experienced Tuesday when an overturned truck snarled traffic for over eight hours around the city.”
If the Democrat-controlled House gives in and grants the full $15 billion, the transportation package would still go back to the Republican-controlled state Senate where lawmakers have expressed hesitancy over allowing Sound Transit higher taxing authority. After all, as Shift has pointed out, Sound Transit has a long record of broken promises and wasteful spending. The transit agency has proved time and time again that it is untrustworthy.
House Democrats would do well to remember 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. Any transportation package requires a bi-partisan effort, which means compromise.