PubliCola has spent a lot of ink bashing the six Seattle representatives who voted for an amendment saying Seattle-area property owners are responsible for cost overruns on the deep-bore tunnel.
Now let's spend some ink bashing the sponsor of that amendment: House transportation committee chair. Judy Clibborn.
PubliCola's less than thrilled with Clibborn, who hasn't been much of a friend to Seattle's agenda of smart growth and sustainable transportation over the years.
In the past two years alone, Clibborn has voted to send federal transportation dollars to rural areas at the expense of Seattle projects; voted to delay light rail on I-90; sponsored the infamous provision making "Seattle-area property owners" responsible for cost overruns on the deep-bore tunnel; opposed adding rail to the 520 bridge; supported allowing private transit and vans on to public transit-only facilities (like the bus tunnel); and opposed a planned road diet on Nickerson in Ballard because she thinks it's a plot by Mayor Mike McGinn to kill the tunnel.
So why are we endorsing her? First, she doesn't have any credible challengers. And second, we see some signs that she's starting to move in a more progressive direction.
As progressive transportation advocates have noted, Clibborn has made a few tentative moves in their direction. For example, earlier this year, Clibborn fought to restore federal funding for transit after the senate raided that money to pay for auto ferries. Last year, she supported legislation that would have required drivers to stay at least three feet away from cyclists and pedestrians they are passing. And after the session, Transportation Choices Coalition policy director Bill LaBorde told PubliCola Clibborn was starting to move "on good transportation policy."
And on non-transportation issues, Clibborn does propose (and support legislation). Last year, she was a prime sponsor on another bill PubliCola tracked closely: Legislation that would require anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" to disclose that they do not provide abortion or birth-control services. When abortion foes rallied in favor of restrictions on late-term abortions, Clibborn said she would do everything in her power, as a member of the house health care committee, to prevent anti-choice legislation from passing. And she sponsored a bill, opposed by realtors, to allow local government agencies to impose new real-estate excise taxes to pay for roads, schools, and affordable housing.
Although we'd love to see Clibborn faced with a credible challenge from the environmental left, that isn't happening this year. Her challengers include a Republican and an Independent, neither of whom has raised any money. Neither has a chance. PubliCola picks Clibborn.