“Inaction is a terrible way to deal with important issues like this.” Gov. Jay Inslee
Rather than allow a vote on the transportation package approved by the House on Thursday, the Republican-led majority refused to take any action, killing the plan that would have funded a third 144-car ferry and helped with operational costs for the next decade. Additional projects would have included highway and bridge projects across the state. More information is available in this article from the Seattle Times.
Something must be done about our aging transportation infrastructure. The increasing number of ferry service interruptions due to mechanical problems is a regular reminder to those of us who live in ferry-dependent communities.
Thank you for your letters, emails, and telephone calls. They did make a difference with members of the House. We’ll keep you posted on next steps.
Here are press releases from Governor Inslee, Senator Ed Murray, and Senator Eide about this:
June 27, 2013 Press Release By Governor Inslee
Jaime Smith, Governor Inslee’s Communications Office | (360) 902-0617
Statement by Gov. Jay Inslee on the Senate Majority’s failure to act on a transportation plan for Washington
“I’m beyond disappointed in this inaction. The failure by the Senate’s Republican-led majority to act on the transportation plan stops us from making important investments in maintaining and preserving our roads and bridges and ensuring the safety the public deserves.
“It also means that Washington has lost $850 million in federal funds that would have helped us build a new I-5 bridge across the Columbia River.
“If the transportation plan had died by a negative vote, at least the public would have known the Senate tried and where their senator stands on the important question of an improved transportation system and the biggest job creating bill of the year.
“Inaction is a terrible way to deal with important issues like this.
“I appreciate all the hard work by Judy Clibborn, Tracey Eide and others that led to a successful vote in the House – which many people didn’t think was likely.
“I said on my first day in office that ‘no economic strategy would be complete without a transportation plan.’ Six months later – after multiple House proposals, repeated attempts to engage the Senate Majority and great work by a broad coalition of business, labor and environmentalists – I believe that even more strongly.
“It is disappointing to hear the Senate Majority say they didn’t have time to deal with this important issue that could have done so much to help Washington continue to climb out of the recession.”
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 29, 2013
Sen. Ed Murray on the failed transportation revenue package
OLYMPIA – Senate Democratic Leader Ed Murray, D-Seattle, issued the following statement today regarding the failure of the transportation revenue package in the Senate:
“It’s extremely disappointing that Senate Republicans blocked a vote on a transportation funding package urgently supported by the state’s business, labor and environmental communities, as well as by ports and local governments all across the state.
“This package would have funded the megaprojects that Washington’s future economic development depends upon, would have made critical investments in the maintenance and operation of our state’s existing transportation infrastructure, and would have created 100,000 construction jobs.
“I find it astounding that even after the collapse of a bridge on our interstate and international corridor, some elected officials would rather bury their heads in the sand and hope for the best. That is not a viable strategy for our economic present, let alone our economic future. If the state’s leaders of the past had hid from the need to build public infrastructure – and to pay for that infrastructure – Washington would look significantly different than it does today, and not for the better.
“I want to thank Governor Inslee, Representative Judy Clibborn and Senator Tracey Eide for being leaders on this issue. The leadership failure in moving our state forward on transportation does not lie at their feet.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — June 29, 2013
Eide comments on collapse of transportation revenue package
OLYMPIA — Sen. Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way, co-chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, issued this statement today regarding the failure of the Senate’s Republican majority to support a transportation revenue package to address critical infrastructure across the state.
“I am shocked and disappointed by the Republicans’ refusal to get behind a package to generate revenue for critical transportation projects across our state. Roads and bridges aren’t Democratic or Republican, they’re for all Washingtonians in all districts in our state. This is the first year in my 17 years in the Legislature that one party has turned its back on a bipartisan plan to maintain our transportation infrastructure.
“In 2003 and again in 2005, legislators from both sides of the aisle joined with stakeholders and voters to approve revenue packages for major transportation projects that will power our state for decades. This year, for reasons I’m at a loss to understand, my friends across the aisle made a U-turn. What’s all the more puzzling is that this package would have funded major improvements to SR-167 and SR-509 that are critical to commuters and businesses who rely on those vital transportation corridors. But when I tried to pull the package to the floor tonight, I was shocked to see every member of the Republican majority caucus vote in lockstep against considering the package and against the interests of their constituents along those corridors.
“Transportation is the backbone to a vital economy, both in the form of jobs and in the form of a strong infrastructure that drives economic development. The lack of support for a revenue package this year is a vote against jobs in communities across our state and against the safe, reliable transport of motorists and freight on our roads.”