By Evan Smith
The two candidates for an open position in the 1st Legislative District recently sent statements about how the legislature should deal with transportation issues affecting the district.
Republican Jim Langston and Democrat Shelley Kloba are running on the Nov. 8 general-election ballot for the position in the state House of Representatives that State Rep. Luis Moscoso gave up to run unsuccessfully in the August primary for a position in the state senate.
The 1st Legislative District includes most of Mountlake Terrace, all of Brier and Bothell, north Kirkland, unincorporated areas of King County between Bothell and Kirkland, and unincorporated areas of Snohomish County north and east of Bothell including the Maltby area.
The two responded to a question about what the legislature should do about traffic issues affecting the District.
Here are statements from the two candidates in the order their names will appear on the ballot and in the voters’ pamphlet:
Jim Langston (Prefers Republican Party) —
It is time to eliminate tolls, focus on increasing capacity, reduce congestion and return commuter traffic back to the highway instead of cutting through our residential neighborhoods.
We must demand our highway needs are prioritized while spending of resources are scrupulously accounted for. Transportation funds should proportionally be spent where the greatest public need will be met; at present this is in our highway system. We must concentrate on adopting policies that focus on evaluating essentials, fixing chokepoints and locating the areas in need of increased capacity. These are the most cost effective methods to end traffic gridlock and allow commuters, families and goods to move with greater efficiency.
We need an additional general-purpose lane on I-405 between I-5 and SR 522 in both directions. Additionally, reducing time in traffic can be achieved by returning an existing toll lane back to general-purpose use in both directions south of SR 522.
Shelley Kloba (Prefers Democratic Party) —
Commuters tell me that they spend too much time getting to and from work instead of enjoying leisure time with loved ones. Businesses spend more time than necessary moving goods along our highways. People feel as though they are having to pay for the toll lanes twice. This affects quality of life and economic development.
Congestion is a multi-faceted problem with no simple solution. A contributing factor is that there is not enough affordable housing in a reasonable proximity to where people work, creating the “drive till you qualify” phenomenon. More affordable housing and expanded opportunities to telecommute can help reduce the number of commuters. We also need to add more frequent and reliable bus options, strengthen the incident response system so that blockages can be cleared up more quickly, and allow hard shoulder running for buses during peak times. We can consider removal of tolls with the understanding that the revenue that they currently generate for rebuilding the 522 interchange and expanding I-405 between 527 and I-5 would need a new source of funding.
Evan Smith can be reached at email@example.com.