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Monday, March 12, 2007

State Senate passes disastrously flawed transportation governance bill

SSB 5803, which I dissected and wrote against this morning, has just passed the state Senate, with 33 ayes, 14 nays, and two abstaining. I'm disappointed to report that some of our favorite senators, including our own Eric Oemig, voted to support this unneeded, destructive legislation.

Lawmakers urging their colleagues to vote "yes" on SSB 5083 kept repeating a tired and ridiculous talking point: that this governance legislation is needed for the region to move forward. Senator Jacobsen, who was practically the only senator to rise to speak in opposition to the bill on the floor, echoed the points that I made this morning. This bill means more confusion and it punishes success.

Senators Ed Murray and Mary Margaret Haugen, who were instrumental in pushing the bill through the chamber, appear determined to cripple Sound Transit with feel-good legislation that looks to solve nonexistent problems.

And there is a possibility that the counties in the central Sound may refuse to set up the new super commission created by SSB 5803, as Murray acknowledged in floor debate in response to a question from a colleague.

The bill now moves to the House, and we will do everything in our power to put a stop to it. Transportation is a critical issue for Washingtonians and this bill is a recipe for a long series of unaffordable setbacks, delays, and impediments.

UPDATE: The roll call was as follows:
Voting Yea: Senators Berkey, Brandland, Clements, Delvin, Fairley, Franklin, Fraser, Hatfield, Haugen, Hewitt, Hobbs, Honeyford, Kastama, Kline, Kohl-Welles, Marr, McAuliffe, Morton, Murray, Oemig, Parlette, Pflug, Prentice, Pridemore, Rasmussen, Rockefeller, Schoesler, Sheldon, Spanel, Swecker, Tom, Weinstein, and Zarelli

Voting Nay: Senators Benton, Carrell, Eide, Holmquist, Jacobsen, Kauffman, Keiser, Kilmer, McCaslin, Poulsen, Regala, Roach, Shin, and Stevens

Absent: Senators Brown and Hargrove
Kudos to our friends Senators Kilmer, Kauffman, and Shin for voting no, and a special thank you to Senator Jacobsen for speaking out against this bill on the floor.

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