Friday, March 5, 2010

House of Representatives Steps Up for Transit!!!

An hour before cut-off the Washington House of Representatives stepped to up the plate for transit. Hours after the Community Transit Board approved 15% cuts, the House of Representatives voted 54-44 for an amendment to allow Pierce Transit and Community Transit the option to enact a temporary Vehicle License Fee in order to stave off service cuts. Under the Leadership of Rep. Marko Liias the House has made a step forward to allow two of the large agencies in the state another options besides devastating cuts.

The bill was voted off the floor 55-43 and now heads back to the Senate. STAY TUNED!

Here is the roll call vote on the save transit Liias amendment, it passed largely on a partisan with bolded members being the cross-over exceptions:

Yeas: 54 Nays: 44 Absent: 0 Excused: 0

Voting yea: Representatives Appleton, Blake, Carlyle, Chase, Clibborn, Cody, Conway, Darneille, Dickerson, Driscoll, Dunshee, Eddy, Ericks, Flannigan, Goodman, Haigh, Hasegawa, Hunt, Hunter, Jacks, Kagi, Kenney, Kessler, Kirby, Liias, Linville, Maxwell, McCoy, Miloscia, Moeller, Morris, Nelson, O'Brien, Ormsby, Orwall, Pedersen, Pettigrew, Quall, Roberts, Rolfes, Santos, Seaquist, Sells, Simpson, Springer, Sullivan, Takko, Upthegrove, Van De Wege, Wallace, White, Williams, Wood, and Mr. Speaker
Voting nay: Representatives Alexander, Anderson, Angel, Armstrong, Bailey, Campbell, Chandler, Condotta, Crouse, Dammeier, DeBolt, Ericksen, Fagan, Finn, Green, Haler, Herrera, Hinkle, Hope, Hudgins, Hurst, Johnson, Kelley, Klippert, Kretz, Kristiansen, McCune, Morrell, Nealey, Orcutt, Parker, Pearson, Priest, Probst, Roach, Rodne, Ross, Schmick, Shea, Short, Smith, Taylor, Walsh, and Warnick

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Last Chance for Bicycle Safety: Ask your Senator to Vote for HB 3001

With time running out before the final cutoff in the legislature, the window of opportunity to save transit and increase pedestrian and bicycle safety in Washington State is shrinking. But the Legislature still has a chance to step up for transit and safety! Here is an alert from the Cascade Bicycle Club on HB 3001. Take Action Today!

Two weeks ago, we watched as the Vulnerable Roadway User Bill died on the Senate calendar. Today, however, hope is alive. SB 5838 may be officially dead, but the law's language is being kept alive as an amendment to HB 3001.

Lawmakers from every corner of the state need to know you care about this issue.

Tomorrow at 5pm is the final cutoff in Olympia in this year's short legislative session. It's our last chance to pass HB 3001. Developed by the Bicycle Alliance of Washington, the bill expands bike and pedestrian safety education in traffic schools for bad drivers. It also includes our Vulnerable User Bill in an amendment.

Please call 1-800-562-6000 today. Ask your senator to vote for House Bill 3001. The bill passed overwhelmingly in the house - let's not let it die, too.

It's too late for an email. Please take a minute to call the legislative hotline and leave this message: "Senator, please support House Bill 3001 and the leadership amendment."

Cascade Bicycle Club is in Olympia, working hard to build support for the HB 3001. We need your help today to get it passed.

Thank you,
David Hiller
Advocacy Director
Cascade Bicycle Club

P.S.-Thank you to Senator Kline, McDermott, Kohl-Wells, and other Senators for working hard on this issue.


Right now the Legislature is considering amendments to SB 6774 that would provide Community Transit, Pierce Transit and King County Metro with a temporary funding source to stave off immediate cuts in service due to budget shortfalls. This is our last chance to Save Bus Service...please call the Legislative Hotline (1-800-562-6000) or click here to urge your legislator to support amendments to SB 6774 and move it to the floor for a vote.

Representatives Marko Liias (D-21), Geoff Simpson (D-47) and Steve Kirby (D-29) have introduced Amendment 1347, which gives temporary authority to Pierce Transit and Community Transit to form a transportation benefit district to collect a vehicle license fee to offset impending service cuts. This authority expires on June 30, 2015.

Likewise, Representatives Scott White (D-46) and Sharon Nelson (D-34) have introduced Amendment 1400, which gives the same temporary authority for King County Metro.

State contributions to transit account for less than 1 percent of overall transportation spending. Most money for transit service comes from local sources -- sales tax revenues that have dropped precipitously. It's going to get worse for transit riders in Washington State if you don't act now. Save Bus Service and urge your legislators to act now and support amendments to SB 6774.

Here's how transit cuts could affect you:

King County Metro: In anticipation of a $213 million budget gap for 2010 and 2011, Metro has used reserves and raised fares, cancelled all capital projects for the next 4 years, and streamlined scheduling and routing to prevent service cuts; They are facing additional budget gaps in 2012 and 2013 so if no new revenue is found, they will have no choice but to cut service.

Community Transit: Snohomish County anticipates a $180 million loss of sales tax revenue through 2013. The agency is now forced to cut service a total of 15%, which will include the elimination of all Sunday service as well as other changes in service across the county.
Pierce Transit: Eliminated $5.7 million in expenditures in 2008 and $14.5 million in 2009 to fill a $17.5 million hole. If no new revenue is raised by 2012, they will be forced to cut service by up to 57%.

URGE YOUR REPRESENTATIVES to bring up for a vote and support Amendments 1347 and 1400 to SB 6774. Act NOW and Help Save Bus Service.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Legislative and Bake Sale Updates!

For those of you that have been tracking our legislative activity, here is a quick update as the final days of the regular session approach.

-Yesterday and today TCC and the Sierra Club held bake sales for transit in Shoreline and Tacoma. The Seattle Transit Blog has a video of the event yesterday at the Aurora Transit Center. We made nearly 50 dollars at each event for transit. Thank you to all of the advocates, staff, and every day transit riders who stopped by and made these events a success!

-The STB video features Ken Harvey who is the marketing director at Community Transit. CT has launched a blog and Ken has an informative post today highlighting how widespread the transit funding crisis is regionally and nationally.

-Session doesn't end until March 11th so the Legislature still has time to do something to stave off massive service bus cuts across the state. Go to for more info.

-Transportation Choices Coalition and our friend's at Futurewise worked hard to restore 14 million dollars to the regional mobility transit grant program that the House and Senate Transportation Budgets proposed cutting. Under the leadership of Reps. Clibborn, Liias, and Dickerson the House restored the funding while the Senate did not. The issue will be negotiated in conference between the two chambers. Erica at Publicola has the scoop also Rep. Liias discusses the issue on his legislative video update . Thank you Clibborn, Dickerson and Liias!

-The Seattle Times picked up on an important bill that gives WSDOT the authority to create a hot lane system on 405. TCC supports this legislation but we oppose an amendment added in the Senate, which will make the system free for carpools that have 2 more people. We believe that in order to achieve maximum efficiency in the system and transit mobility the lanes should remain free only for carpools that are three people or bigger.

If you have any questions on these issues feel free to e-mail me at

And don't forget to SAVE YOUR BUS!