Yesterday, the Regional Transportation Investment District, a proposed transportation taxing district that encompasses the Puget Sound region, got several changes it was seeking from the state House, including amendments that would allow the RTID to go to a single ballot with Sound Transit, forcing voters to make a Hobson’s choice between transit-plus-roads and no transit at all. (Voting yes on Sound Transit would also mean approving the roads-heavy RTID; voting no on RTID would mean also rejecting Sound Transit.).
Otherwise, the RTID still includes virtually no transit (except transit fixes during road construction, something Transportation Choices regional policy director Rob Johnson calls a “smoke screen”) and no money for road or transit maintenance or preservation. The legislation would also change the RTID’s boundaries to make them the same as Sound Transit’s; reduce the local match cities would be required to pay from 33 percent to 15 percent; and eliminate a proposed amendment that would have allowed so-called Transportation Benefit Districts (basically, mini-RTIDS for local transportation and transit projects).
It does include a change that allows RTID funds to pay for pasenger-only ferries - a very minor concession to the pro-transit lobby that will likely not be enough to win transit supporters’ backing for the taxing proposal, which will go on the ballot sometime in the next two years. Last week, Johnson said his pro-transit organization would need “significant changes to the [project] list to be supportive”; so far, those changes have not been made.