This Washington

SEIU Spokesman: Transportation Package "Misplaced Priorities" Without Revenue for Other Services

By Erica C. Barnett August 30, 2011

Adam Glickman, spokesman for the Service Employees International Union 775 (the health care workers' union) says a major transportation package---which the state legislature plans to consider and possibly adopt in its regular session next year---will represent "misplaced priorities" unless it's accompanied by new revenue to pay for health care, social services, and education.

Earlier today, dozens of Washington State and local elected officials expressed their support for Transportation for Washington, a set of principles, backed by environmental groups like Futurewise and Transportation Choices Coalition, that include fixing transportation infrastructure; expanding transit choices; and building healthy communities.

"It would seem to me to be misplaced priorities to ask voters to support a tax package for new transportation infrastructure when we're
making deep cuts to schools, kicking tens of thousands of working people and low-income kids off health care, and slashing services and care for vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities," Glickman says.

"If the business community and their allies in Olympia continue to insist on "all-cuts" approach to our state budget deficit and force yet another round of deep cuts to education health care and human services that disproportionately impact low and moderate income people, they should assume we would look very unfavorably on an effort by them to ask low-wage caregivers to pay more of their shrinking salaries on a regressive tax to support their transportation priorities."

King County Metro, among other local transit agencies, is relying on the Legislature to come up with a stable funding source to preserve transit service. Earlier this month, the King County Council voted 7-2 to pass a two-year, stopgap $20 vehicle license fee to keep Metro bus service at current levels in anticipation of a statewide solution in 2012.
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