King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn have sent a letter to Gov. Gregoire asking for an eight cents gas tax increase and for local authority to pass a 1.5 perecent MVET increase to fund transit.
From the letter:
Seattle, King County, and the Sound Cities Association have worked together to develop a solution to our shared transportation problems. We are writing today to encourage you and the Legislature to take action to help us all begin to solve our statewide transportation crisis by providing local funding options in the coming legislative session in order to preserve and maintain our portion of the State’s transportation system and address the growing demand for transit services.
The proposal includes an eight cent gas tax increase, 65% of which would go to the state, an increase to $40 of the councilmanic TBD authority, and a 1.5% local Motor Vehicle Excise Tax to be passed councilmanically or by a vote of the people. While King County’s needs are great enough that we seek a 1.5% MVET to sustain transit service and help address the funding gap for roads and other local transportation needs, we anticipate that other counties may prefer for themselves something closer to 1%.
It is our firm belief that addressing local transportation needs is of critical importance to the economic health and long-term viability of the state’s economy. Local jurisdictions play a pivotal role in our state’s transportation portfolio. More than half of all trips in our state are less than three miles long and take place on city and county roads, buses, sidewalks, and trails. We strive daily to maintain aging streets, bridges and drainage systems, under tightly constrained budgets. At the same time, residents are asking us to improve transit services, safety, mobility, and choices within our transportation system while diminishing the adverse impacts of the system on our environment and human health.
It is our firm belief that addressing local transportation needs is of critical importance to the economic health and long-term viability of the state’s economy.
2. Washington State's three new U.S. Reps in D.C. got their committee assignments: Rep. Denny Heck (D-10), from the state's newest Congressional District representing Thurston County including Olympia, got the Budget Committee; Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-6), representing the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas and most of Tacoma, got Armed Services; and Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-1), the Microsoft suburbs stretching north to Canada, got the Judiciary Committee.
Big scores for Heck and Kilmer. But DelBene is replacing former congressman—now Gov.-elect Jay Inslee—who was on the Energy and Commerce Committee, a key committee assignment for the Microsoft district.
3. Speaking of Congress—in case you missed it, the Republican House rejected Republica Speaker Rep. John Boehner's (R-OH), Plan B option on a deficit deal (evidently taxing even the highest of incomes—$1 million and up—was too much for the Republicans).
Rep. Rick Larsen (D-2), Northwestern Washington, who's on the Transportation Committee and the Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement late yesterday:
The Republicans just picked up their toys and went home. Republican leaders just admitted they cannot even pass their own bills. Instead of working with Democrats to find a solution, they are leaving their responsibilities behind and fleeing the Capitol. The only solution is for Republicans to return to the negotiating table with President Obama and Congressional Democrats to find a balanced deal. Democrats are ready, but Republicans just went home. The Republicans have turned the fiscal cliff into a fiscal comedy of errors. But the American people are not laughing.
4. Outgoing Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna, Washington's latest failed GOP gubernatorial candidate, debriefed a bit with the Yakima Herald yesterday.
He said he's going to take a break from public service for a while, offered stern advice to the national party about modernizing its image to appeal to minorities, women, and young voters, and said it's too early to say whether he'll run for governor again in 2016.