News Resolved: Sound Transit Dissolved
posted by January 17 at 15:32 PMon
I got a copy of a draft bill that state Senate Transportation Chair Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen (D-10, Camano Island) wrote that would dissolve Sound Transit and turn over its functions to a new regional transportation agency called the RTC, the Regional Transportation Commission. (I’ve copied her proposal below.)
The idea is a replay of an idea that floated around behind the scenes a few years ago called Sound Transportationwhich was a scheme to get rid of the Regional Transportation Investment District, leave highway building to the state, and remake Sound Transit as Sound Transportation, putting the new agency in charge of transit and HOV lanes. The idea got sidetracked by the joint roads and transit initiative, which evolved into last year’s $17 billion Prop. 1.
In the wake of Prop. 1’s failure, Sen. Haugen is working through this new idea to get rid of Sound Transit altogether and let an elected body figure out how to coordinate roads and transit projects.
Here’s one major problem with this approach right off the bat: $750 million.
The feds, at the behest of U.S. Senator Patty Murray’s appropriations sub-committee on transportation, are prepared to sign off on $750 million this summer to get Sound Transit from downtown to the U District. That’s 43% of the $1.7 billion segment. If Sound Transit goes away that money is gone. That means light rail is dead.
We turned down federal money in 1968. Let’s not do it again by dissolving the agency that’s in good with the feds and replacing it with a roads and transit mish mash.
Regional Proposal Dec 2007
Create new regional transportation entity (Regional Transportation Commission (RTC))
11 members: 5 elected within King, Pierce, Snohomish; 1 elected at-large within 3-county boundary; 3 appointed by county executives; WSDOT Secretary; PSRC Executive Director
Majority elected board: 6 elected & 5 appointed/designated
Broad project eligibility: roads & transit
Broad revenue options: combined roads & transit revenue, not limited by modal or subarea equity
No MPO/RTPO function (PSRC held harmless, but Executive Director sits on new entity)
Boundaries: Existing ST boundaries
Dissolve & repeal RTID
Transfer ST duties & obligations to RTC
Existing ST entity & its federated board dissolved replaced by RTC
RTC maintains ST taxes to operate system & pay debt service
Coordinated regional transportation planning
Requires RTC, WSDOT, and PSRC to coordinate regional transportation planning to ensure comprehensive & integrated corridor-based multimodal regional system