News The Text of Sen. Murray’s “Screw RTID (and Sound Transit a Little Too)” Letter
posted by March 23 at 9:33 AMon
Yesterday I posted about state Sen. Ed Murray’s letter calling for Sound Transit’s light rail expansion and the Regional Transportation Investment District’s road expansion plan to be decoupled at the polls.
Murray says RTID isn’t ready to go the voters. He also says Sound Transit’s plan to go east across I-90 is half-baked. (ST told me Murray’s way off base on that point.) Anyway, Murray’s letter basically says the only thing that should be on the ballot in November is ST’s plan to go north, and forget about RTID.
This is all to say, I couldn’t post the actual letter yesterday because I only had a PDF. But voila, now I’ve got a Word version. Sen. Murray’s letter is attached below.
March 21, 2007
The Honorable The Honorable
Senator Lisa Brown Speaker Frank Chopp
Senate Majority Leader Speaker of the House
307 Legislative Building 339C Legislative Building
PO Box 40403 PO Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0403 Olympia, WA 98504-0600
The Honorable The Honorable
Senator Mary Margaret Haugen Representative Judy Clibborn
Chair, Senate Transportation Committee Chair, House Transportation
305 John A. Cherberg Building Committee
PO Box 40410 435 John L. O’Brien Building
Olympia, WA 98504-0410 PO Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
Dear Senator Brown, Speaker Chopp, Madame Chairs Haugen and Clibborn,
I am writing to offer my thoughts on how best to revise the proposal for a Regional Transportation Commission. Any proposal must consider the ongoing concerns about the joint ballot measure of Regional Transportation Investment District (RTID) and Sound Transit scheduled for the upcoming general election this November. As you remember, as a result of negotiations last year, the RTID and Sound Transit were required to jointly place their respective proposals on the ballot, both contingent upon each other passing before either could take effect. I am concerned these proposals are not far enough along in their development to be placed on the 2007 general election ballot as currently configured.
These concerns include:
• The amounts of and types of taxes placed on the ballot – between the two entities, taxpayers in the joint boundaries will be paying an additional 0.6% sales tax and a 0.8% motor vehicle excise tax, both historically controversial taxes;
• The RTID package contains projects that will despite our recent historic transportation funding packages will not be completed (e.g., SR 167, SR 520 bridge replacement and HOV project, SR 509, and U.S. 2);
• There remain outstanding issues on SR 520 – no final project design has been selected, no final location has been determined yet for the pontoon construction, the environmental planning time frame is too long as it has no date certain for process completion, the toll estimates are very high and should be reevaluated based on more recent data, and a process needs to be in place that leads to a consensus among impacted communities regarding mitigation of the project impacts; and
• Questions remain regarding the preferred high capacity transportation option across the I-90 floating bridge, which Sound Transit has deemed to be the light rail option. This option has yet to receive the comprehensive environmental planning and traffic mitigation assessments required of Sound Transit.
I recommend the Legislature develop the following alternative this legislative session:
Pass legislation permitting Sound Transit to submit to the voters this fall part of their current proposal, excluding all projects that have not been sufficiently developed and planned or that fail to include well defined project schedules.
Integrate the remainder of the RTID and Sound Transit projects into a regional transportation proposal. In the interest of not slowing down the delivery of these projects the governing structure should be in place by the end of this year. I believe this will allow us to develop a truly integrated transit and road package under the auspices of a new regional governing entity, such as a Regional Transportation Commission.
Thank you for your consideration.
Senator Edward B. Murray
Vice-Chair, Senate Transportation Committee