1. As the debate over Rep. Hans Dunshee's (D-44) $861 million bond proposal to retrofit schools takes center stage in Olympia—and gets criticized for the negative effect it would have on the state's credit rating—local environmental think tank Sightline pointed us to a report they did late last month that puts the "Hans Bonds" in context and concludes the opposite:
Far from harming Washington’s bond rating, the passage of EHB 2561 may well help the state’s position. Furthermore, the Treasurer and the legislature might take a closer look at how much debt capacity is being used for truly unsustainable and costly projects like large scale highway expansion.

2. Look what your representatives are reading on the state House floor in Olympia this week:





3. While everyone is focused on the general fund budget fight between the House and Senate in Olympia this week, check out the transportation budget that they already agreed on last week and sent to the governor. On page 47 you'll see that if local transportation agencies don't seriously consider giving HOV lane space and park-and-ride space to private interests they could lose grant money:
The pilot project must establish that to receive grant funding from a program administered by the public transportation office of the department during the 2009-11 biennium, the local jurisdiction in which the applicant is located must be able to show that it has in place an application process for the reasonable use by private transportation providers of high occupancy vehicle lanes, transit-only lanes, and certain park and ride facilities that are regulated by the localjurisdiction.  If a private transportation provider clearly demonstrates that the local jurisdiction failed to consider an application in good faith, the department may not award the jurisdiction any grant funding.

Senate Transportation Committee Chair Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen's (D-10) bill mandating that private companies  have access to bus-rapid-transit lanes and park-and-rides failed earlier in the session, but it looks like she's dedicated to the idea.

4. We are hosting a public forum about 520 next Tuesday, March 23 at the Del Rey in Belltown (2332, 1st Ave). Doors open at 5:30.

Seattle City Council Member Mike O'Brien (who wants an alternative plan that supports rapid transit) and Eastside Seattle suburbs state Rep. Deb Eddy (D-48) who pushed the current $4.6 billion 6-lane (no rapid transit) plan through the legislature this session will square off on the panel.