1. One big potential down side of Mayor Mike McGinn's new push to build a new SR520 bridge over Lake Washington to accommodate light rail: If rail does end up being built, ordinary buses would have to run in the four general-purpose lanes along with regular traffic, meaning buses would be less reliable than they would in bus-only or HOV lanes.
McGinn's office confirms that his plan would force buses into regular traffic. Nelson/Nygaard consultant Tim Payne says the consulting team looked into the possibility of running rail and buses jointly in the center lanes of a new bridge, but found that, barring "new technology that we aren't aware of yet," joint operations would limit travel speeds to 25 miles per hour.
2. The State House responded to the Senate's new revenue proposal—the 0.1 percent sales tax increase compromise the Senate offered over the weekend. The answer? No deal.
Nor would the House budge on some of its other positions. The House still wants to end the $50 million exemption for big banks (the Senate does not), and they still want to end a $41 million exemption on out-of-state shoppers who don't have to pay sales tax (the Senate does not).
One thing the House did go for, however, was the Senate's new proposal for an increase in the beer tax (an additional .50 per gallon for $60 million.)
3. For the clearest coverage on the sting and arrest of Charles Wilson, the man who threatened to kill Sen. Patty Murray, check The New York Times.
4. U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell's "Cap & Dividend" proposal—the alternative climate change legislation she's been working on since last June that would auction off pollution permits and give the proceeds to ratepayers—may become the lead plan as President Obama tries to move forward on the issue.
In a recent article about the implosion of the current "Cap & Trade" bill—the plan Obama had cited in his initial budget that would auction off permits and let companies trade them—The New York Times concluded with a shout out to Cantwell.
Two senators, Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington, and Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, have proposed an alternative that they call cap and dividend, under which licenses to pollute would be auctioned to producers and wholesalers of fossil fuels, with three-quarters of the revenue returned to consumers in monthly checks to cover their higher energy costs.
She said her bill would require every pollution permit to be auctioned rather than given away and was 39 pages long, compared with Waxman-Markey, which weighs in at some 1,400 pages.
The Cantwell-Collins plan is almost exactly what Mr. Obama proposed in the campaign and after first taking office — a 100 percent auction of permits and a large tax rebate to the public.
“He called our bill ‘very elegant,’ ” Ms. Cantwell said. “Simplicity and having something people can understand is important.”
The Economist has also given Cantwell's "Cap & Dividend" plan props.
5. Fans of Mayor Mike McGinn's proposal to build light rail on a new 520 bridge across Lake Washington made up a strong majority of those who showed up for a public hearing on a consultant's report about the feasibility of rail on the bridge last night.
As such, most of the "questions" at the hearing consisted of thank-yous from members of the Coalition for a Sustainable 520—a group with which McGinn allied himself in February—and friendly "questions" like, "Do you plan to continue keeping the communities involved and listening to them?"