Those hoping to see a statewide transportation deal come out of the State Legislature this year were no doubt thoroughly disappointed by the Majority Coalition Caucus-led Senate, which crushed any hope of such a package over the weekend.
And you can count Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess as one of the thoroughly disappointed.
In a post to his blog today, Burgess rips the Senate for its shortsighted inaction, saying: “The impact—or more accurately, disaster— for Seattle and the rest of King County will be felt next year when Metro will be forced to eliminate 17% of its current transit service due to lack of funds.” The move, according to Burgess, will “create congestion chaos on city streets (even worse than what we see today).”
“Paying attention to our transportation infrastructure is crucial for our economic success as a region,” Burgess writes. “I believe the vast majority of local governments understand this fundamental fact. It’s too bad the State Legislature doesn’t.”
As reasoning for his ire, Burgess notes that both the city and county were pushing for the authority to increase the motor vehicle excise tax, with those funds to be used for transit needs. That obviously didn’t happen, prompting Burgess to say, “we may need to find other creative solutions.”
Citing a recent council briefing by the Puget Sound Regional Council, Burgess paints a picture of the expected regional population and job growth over the next 30 years against a backdrop of an already underfunded transportation infrastructure. “This population and job growth will demand improved roads, bridges and mobility services like light rail and vastly enhanced transit services,” Burgess writes. “But, PSRC staff estimate that we are $12 billion short of funding the already planned for transportation projects, including Sound Transit.”