Transit Needs More Allies at the State Level

While the federal government withdraws financing support for public transit, one writer says Democrats in the state of Washington need to gird support for Sound Transit 3's funding initiatives.

2 minute read

January 10, 2018, 8:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Seattle Transit

Oran Viriyincy / Flickr

The anti-transit coalition in the state of Washington gains support from the inaction of Democrats in the State Legislature, according to an article by Robert Cruickshank.

The example du jour of the willingness of Washington Democrats to undercut transit funding is found in a controversy over car tabs. As reported by David Gutman in March 2017, the passage of Sound Transit 3 had at least one surprising consequence for many Seattle residents: higher car tabs. Then, in April, Gutman reported that Democrats were willing to change the calculation of the car tab fees, potentially bringing less money to Sound Transit. Last year's legislative session failed to pass a bill that would cut the cost of car tabs for drivers.

Cruickshank notes the strong polling and election performances of Democrats in the state last year, despite the lack of action on the car tabs. Thus, Cruickshank argues, it's clear that Democrats need to stand up for transit, and not capitulate to their fear of "an angry pack of anti-tax wolves."

According to Cruickshank, transit needs support from state Democrats more than ever, even if the fear that they will lose power to state Republications might be misplaced: "Last year the Trump Administration delayed its delivery of a crucial $1 billion federal grant for the Lynnwood Link project and will make a final decision this year. Sound Transit continues to be worried about these federal grants, and for good reason." Look no further than the Trump Administration's decision to rescind the financing plan for the Gateway Project in New York and New Jersey, writes Cruickshank, for evidence of this threat. 

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