Following the failure of a major transportation ballot measure last November, a Washington lawmaker said Tuesday that she has introduced two bills to restructure regional transportation organizations in the state.
Voters in three Seattle-area counties rejected a measure that would have raised taxes for transit and highway projects in the region, funding the transit programs through the existing Sound Transit agency and the highway programs through a newly created Regional Transportation Investment District.
The taxes were to have backed billions of dollars in bonds.
The voters’ rejection left RTID an orphan, so the chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, said she is introducing legislation to terminate it.
“The bill I’m proposing would simply dissolve and repeal RTID from the statutes — it’s more a matter of legislative housekeeping than anything else,” she said in a statement.
At the same time, Haugen said, she is sponsoring legislation that would expand the scope of Sound Transit and allow other regions around Washington to create their own regional transportation authorities.
Haugen’s vision for Sound Transit, which now runs rail and bus services, would expand its project eligibility to include both roads and transit, restructure its governing board, and provide broader financing options that include the ability to combine road and transit revenue.
“We need to get away from competing interests and towards more comprehensive transportation solutions,” Haugen said. “We need to move away from roads or transit and towards roads and transit.”