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Friday, February 1, 2008

R Is for Regionalism and Roads

posted by on February 1 at 12:52 PM

Sen. Mary Mary Margaret Haugen’s governance reform bill—the bill that turns Sound Transit into a transit and roads agency diminishes King County’s power.

While the bill—which reduces the current board from 18 voting members to 10 voting members and 2 nonvoting members—would shrink the members from all three counties (King, Snohomish, and Pierce) King County will lose the most clout, proportionally speaking. Currently, KC has 10 of the 18 voting members. In the new makeup, KC would get 5 of 12 members.

On the current 18-member board, the number of representatives each county gets is determined by population. Again, KC has 10 of those members—55 percent. The new bill is a split approach where only 6 of the 12 members are proportional representatives, the other members are either at-large or appointed one for each county.

Snohomish’s (pop. 400,000) representation would go from 3 now to 2. Pierce’s (pop. 650,000) would go from 4 to 2. King County—population 1.6 million (bigger than the other two counties combined)—would go from 10 to 5. That’s 5 of 10 voting members, 50 percent.

So, 55 percent to 50 percent. Bum deal for Seattle (and transit).

Earlier this week (in a different context), Erica made the case that bipartisanship is shorthand for diluting the Democratic majority in favor of the Republican agenda. A similar phenomenon defines “Regionalism.” Regionalism—as Sen. Haugen’s bill makes clear—dilutes Seattle’s voice out of proportion to its rightful say in transportation planning.

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Time for Seattle's voting delegation at the Legislature to step up and demand parity.

Either we get the votes our Population deserves, or we get the votes our Funding deserves.

Either way we're being shorted.

And if RTID doesn't know it's dead yet ... that can be arranged if need be.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 1, 2008 1:04 PM

This is a bad bill, plain and simple. I really hope it can be shot down in short order.

Posted by Hernandez | February 1, 2008 1:10 PM

How about we get the SR 520 design and funding worked out first? Let's get the taxes and fees and tolls all lined up and flowing on that mongoproject first.

After we've "digested" those new taxes for a while, then let's see what Sound Transit can come up with. I think ST needs to just get the train line up and running before presenting more plans to voters. We don't even know what the final bill for Phase I will be YET.

ST should get a more progressive funding source from the legislature, like a corporate income tax. That would get votes, and our tax system is regressive enough as is. And no, tolls are NOT regressive: they are user fees.

ST needs what my nephew needs every once in a while: a time out.

Posted by just sayin' | February 1, 2008 1:22 PM

I like the other bill more (HB 3311 maybe?). That one reverses I-776 (Yeah MVET!), and no screwing around with ill-advised governance reform.

Posted by Slurp! | February 1, 2008 1:35 PM

two issues.

One, you need to redo the math and use the RTA boundaries and populatation counts, not County ones. Until you do that math, we can't even tell if the basic point is correct.

Second, a board with any non-at-large elected members should have members elected from districts with roughly equal population. One person, one vote, yes.

This means district boundaries shouldn't follow county boundaries.

This is not a difficult technical problem. A good political geography professor could crank out good district boundaries in short order -- likeperhaps in 1.5 hours.

We have computers, we should use them.

Posted by Cleve | February 1, 2008 1:42 PM

To be nit picky here your population numbers are way off for the tri counties.

Snohomish County is well over 600,000
Pierce County is now over 700,000
King County is over 1.7 million.

My numbers are based off the Census 2000 figures, which means the three counties are now larger than even my numbers indicate, not smaller like yours indicate.

Posted by Bran | February 1, 2008 1:44 PM

Look, if ST gets new taxing powers there is no way we'd have to worry about whether or not enough of it went to light rail. duh.

Posted by don't worry, be happy | February 1, 2008 1:58 PM

So can we all just admit now that "governance reform" is code for "take money away from ST and Seattle and use it for roads outside King County" ?

Posted by Greg | February 1, 2008 2:09 PM

ST and its supporters should welcome elected accountability and lobby the legislature with a fair proposal.

If they don't, those working with the legislature will have the most influence.

Posted by whatever | February 1, 2008 2:10 PM

Light rail construction is well under way. Soon we'll have frequent and roomy service from downtown to the airport. The agency is on time and within budget, for the most part. Frequent audits PROVE that. Catch the wave!

Posted by we_need_real_transit | February 1, 2008 2:19 PM


Spare us.

1/3 shorter, 10+ years later. Taxes forever.

Please sir, may I have another?

Posted by Mr. X | February 1, 2008 2:32 PM

I'd hate to be accused of supporting this Republican agenda, so could you please clarify your idea of the Democratic agenda? From what I typically read from you and Erica it is for everyone to sell their car, purchase a flex car membership (I hear they are really great because Flexcar will call you a cab when the cars aren't where they are supposed to be), and turn 80% of the roads into bike paths. The entire city should live and work within walking distance of Broadway. Also, we should vote against any compromises whatsoever, because the lives of polar bears are at stake. Is this close?

Posted by Clint | February 1, 2008 2:45 PM

Haugen's bill is all about making Central puget sound pay for the states roads. That's what SHE said it was.

She couldn't give a shit about transit. She just doesn't want to force the state to bite the bullet.

Posted by Andrew | February 1, 2008 2:49 PM

Clint, every time you post a baby polar bear drowns.

Saw the design specs for the pontoon 8-lane upgrade to the 6-lane 520 bridge last night - good plan. Nothing like two lanes of light rail (in 2030), two lanes of HOV/Bus (on build), and four lanes of cars/trucks - they could even turn two of the cars/trucks lanes into plug-in-hybrid ONLY lanes and give them a lower fee to cross the bridge ...

Yowza! (in the Times or PI today, can't remember which, buried in A section)

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 1, 2008 2:53 PM

Good. I HATE Polar Bears. Especially the cute ones.

Thanks for the heads up on the plan. I'll have to seek it out.

Seriously though.. Light Rail by 2030? Ambitous!

Posted by Clint | February 1, 2008 3:00 PM

Sen. Mary Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? With greenhouse gases and higher carbon dioxide, the plants will eventually adapt to a new environment and we will be fucked forever!

Posted by Jiminy Cricket | February 1, 2008 4:39 PM

I'm just going by memory on this, Clint. Might have been B section, but it should be on the State DOT website.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 1, 2008 5:14 PM

Dear ST:

We have completed our work for this quarter and the new message is this:

"Light rail construction is well under way. Soon we'll have frequent and roomy service from downtown to the airport. The agency is on time and within budget, for the most part. Frequent audits PROVE that. Catch the wave!"

That's our message. Everyone: go and spread it all over the blogosphere!

BTW, one of the board members asked is this true?

Sentences nos. 1 and 2 are true, but 3 and 4 are huge, fat, whopping lies and deceptions.

Who cares? IF St and its supporters repeat lies ad nauseum, the public will believe it! Especially if people post this scripted message in the blogoshpere.

Now, ST please send us more money. We will prepare the next generation of lies for other "real folks" to spread on the blogosphere.

Signed, your public relations firm paid with tax dollars,

Posted by Fennessy Public Relations | February 1, 2008 5:36 PM

2007 estimates:

Snohomish 686,300
Pierce 790,500
King 1,861,300

The gap is closing rapidly. Watch out for Kitsap and Mason, too -- especially now that the new Narrows Bridge is open.

Posted by Fnarf | February 1, 2008 6:29 PM

A link to this post will be in the February 6, 2008 issue of Regional Community Development News. It will be on-line February 7 at the blog listed. Please visit, check the tools and consider a link. Tom

Posted by Tom Christoffel | February 3, 2008 8:07 PM

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