1. "Suck it up, Olympia."
That's the Oregonian editorial board's advice for Washington lawmakers who are still on the fence about the Columbia River Crossing, which would connect Vancouver and Portland with a new bridge that would accommodate both cars and light rail.
It's the light rail part that has opponents excercised; they argue that rail is a waste of money, that it would require a bridge too low for tall freight ships to pass under, and that it would bring crime from Portland into Vancouver.
The Oregonian's having none of it. They write: "It's time to look beyond the late-coming doubters of the Columbia River Crossing, the vocal minority in Vancouver that irrationally fears the arrival of Portland crime via light rail, the few who insist the CRC will bankrupt two states and kill jobs and leave Clark County in hollow ruin."
Oregon's state legislature has agreed to put $450 million toward the project—if, and only if, Washington kicks in around the same amount. So far, they've refused to do so, offering a paltry $80 million for more study instead. Whatever you think of the CRC—and there are compelling pro-transit, anti-sprawl arguments against the current proposal—the Oregonian editorial is well worth reading in its entirety.
2. The Republican senate, the Olympian reports, just approved a plan that would let future state employees opt out of the traditional state pension system, which offers fixed retirement benefits in favor of a 401(k)-style plan, a personal savings plan that relies on employee contributions.
Unions oppose the proposal, arguing that 401(k) plans are less stable than traditional pensions (if the stock market takes a dive, so does the amount you have for retirement), and pointing out that, overall, workers are spending 40 percent of their 401(k) contributions for current expenses, which isn't an option with a traditional pension.
3. Seattle Transit Blog has a probing interview with Nick Cole, the CEO of one-way carsharing service Car2Go. Unfortunately, although the questions are all great, Cole bobs and weaves on the ones I really wanted answers to—why is the refueling system such a pain? Why does Car2Go's web site always think I'm in Austin?—answering in vague corporatespeak. Still, it's well worth a read for anyone who wants to know more about how Car2Go works on the back end and what the company's plans are for Seattle in the future.
3. OneBusAway, which has been run by the University of Washington for the past year, will be taken over by Sound Transit next month, UW computer science professor Alan Borning announces on OBA's blog. "We hope that the transition will be relatively seamless," Borning writes.
OneBusAway, which provides real-time arrival information for non-tunnel buses and schedule information for trains, has been hit or miss since its founders, two UW grad students, left for jobs in other cities. We're keeping our fingers crossed that Sound Transit (which, it's worth noting, doesn't provide real-time arrival information for its own light rail trains) won't treat it as an afterthought.
4. President Obama gave a moving, heartfelt pro-choice address at the Planned Parenthood national convention today. Yay.
President Obama referred to women as our "mothers and daughters and wives," once again defining women by their relationships with other people. Boo.