Earlier this month, Senator Mark Schoesler and Senator Rodney Tom were both given awards as Legislators of the Year by the Association of Washington Business.
The awards honor the historic bipartisan work by both Senators during 2013 Legislative Session by holding the line against more taxes and regulations. The Senators received the awards from Governor Jay Inslee, seen on the left in the picture above. Doug Bayne, chairman of the AWB, is on the right.
Join the Fight Against Gridlock
Gridlock—it happens on the road and it happens in government.
Effective transportation is critical to both citizens’ quality of life and our statewide economic health. But transportation reform has not budged much of late. Today I want to talk a little about my goals for improving transportation, and I hope you will take the time to share your views as well.
Why Transportation Reform?
In recent months I’ve been working closely with my colleagues in our bipartisan Senate Majority Coalition Caucus as well as with concerned citizens around the state to come up with sound solutions to get Washington moving more efficiently. It’s important because Washington’s economy depends on efficient and quick business freight mobility and improved commutes for our workforce.
Even though you might say that traffic congestion on our side of the state isn’t as glaring a problem as it is elsewhere, it is certainly crucial to our local economy for people and goods to be able to move quickly and safely.
Reforming Transportation: Where to Start
But our transportation problems are complex and extend beyond decaying infrastructure: citizens like you and me are tired of seeing our money wasted on poor project planning and political gridlock.
Before we get to planning more projects and potentially adding more funding for transportation we must make sure taxpayer dollars are being used wisely.
There have been several recent examples of projects that have unnecessarily been over-budget or delayed. The State Route 520 bridge replacement project is both behind schedule and over-budget because of design flaws. Seattle’s tunnel boring project has been delayed weeks because of a labor dispute over dirt removal. And the already expensive Columbia River Crossing project has failed in part because planners did not listen to local concerns about including costly light rail that resulted in a bridge design too low to accommodate some Washington shipping businesses.
The Democrats’ solution to our transportation challenges is to raise more revenue now by increasing taxes (a 10.5 cent increase to the gas tax has been on the table and also supported by Governor Inslee).
Yet Washingtonians have made it clear that they do not want more and higher taxes. Their resounding voice at the polls— nearly 64 percent supported a two-thirds Legislative majority to raise taxes in November—indicated that government needs more oversight when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars. I agree.
Your Views on Transportation Reform
To help us understand better the transportation priorities of people around the state, the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus is continuing to hold a statewide transportation listening tour to find out what’s truly important to citizens when it comes to transportation infrastructure.
The tour, led by Senate Transportation Committee Co-Chair Sen. Curtis King (R-Yakima), is open to the public and designed to gather input so that we can come up with smart solutions supported by both lawmakers and taxpayers.
There have already been several stops in this tour already. The next one near the 9th District will be in Spokane:
October 2 from 6 to 9 p.m.
Greater Spokane, Inc.
801 W. Riverside, Spokane
I encourage you to join us—your input is invaluable.
We don’t need a quick fix—we need long-term solutions that will accommodate population and economic growth long into the future.
So, my colleagues and I in the Majority Coalition Caucus stand by our pledge to “fix it before fund it.” We must reform how government manages these projects and prove to taxpayers that they are worthy of their investment.
As always, thank you for your support as I continue the honor of representing the 9th District in Olympia. I hope to see and hear from you soon.