21st District House, Position 1: Roberts, Travis differ on transit issues

Rep. Mary Helen Roberts, D-Mukilteo, and her challenger, Republican Brian Travis of Mukilteo, sit at polar opposites on issues such as global warming and how to best improve mass transit.

Roberts said transportation contributes greatly to the pollution that some say causes global warming.

Travis doesn’t believe global warming is caused by human activity and opposes any funding for “green” initiatives.

Roberts, 60, ran a small business importing folk art from China and Southeast Asia before she was elected to the Legislature in 2004. She’s seeking her third term.

Travis, 33, is marketing representative for New Concepts in Marketing, which markets food and household sundry products.

The candidates’ differences on the environment are reflected in their approaches to transportation. Roberts supports Sound Transit’s $17.8 billion measure on November’s ballot to expand light rail and bus service in the region.

Travis, while he says he’s for improving transit, doesn’t believe the ballot measure is the way to do it.

The plan would increase bus service in Snohomish County by 30 percent, but light rail would not be extended to Lynnwood until 2023.

A better way, Travis said, is simply “massive amounts of buses.” They are more flexible than rail and gas savings from fewer drivers on the road would reduce pollution, he said.

This could be financed with existing revenue streams, he said.

To cut the budget, Travis said he would take money from programs such as arts funding, diversity programs and slowing down the completion of work on some state parks, along with cutting alternative fuel initiatives.

To address the projected state’s budget deficit, Roberts said the state should start from scratch with the budget to see what can go and what should stay.

She opposes cutting education, as does Travis.

Reporter Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439 or sheets@heraldnet.com.

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