Comments from candidates Stanford, Thannisch on transportation

Derek Stanford (left) and Neil Thannisch

By Evan Smith

Incumbent Democratic 1st Legislative District State Rep. Derek Stanford and Republican challenger Neil Thannisch recently sent statements about what legislators should do to help transportation in the district.

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 candidates are running on the Nov. 8 general-election ballot for the position in the state House of Representatives that Stanford has held for three two-year terms.

The candidates responded to a question about what local legislators can do to help transportation in the 1st District.

Here are statements from the two candidates in the order their names will appear on the ballot and in the voters’ pamphlet:

Derek Stanford (Prefers Democratic Party) —

I worked with the rest of the Snohomish County delegation to make sure that Snohomish County received more funding in the last transportation package. I have worked to address the issues around tolling so that we are using lanes on 405 as productively as possible. We need to accelerate the next transportation package to reduce chokepoints and bottlenecks up and down 522, State Route 9, and especially the 405 expansion in north Bothell.

At the same time, our tax dollars are also going into regional Sound Transit projects. While we have seen some rapid-bus routes, which are helpful, I will push to expand commuter bus service and expedite the timeline for light rail to north King County and south Snohomish County. To cope with growth, we need choices in transportation including light rail, roads, bike, pedestrian and other transit options so that citizens can decide the best mode for getting around.

Neil Thannisch (Prefers Republican Party) —

I commute daily on 522 and I-405. As I sit in traffic looking at our neighbors in the congestion, it becomes abundantly clear that the WSDOT tolling experiment has failed horribly in reducing congestion. With ST3 on the ballot this fall, it seems as if WSDOT is intentionally making traffic worse in order to compel us to vote for relief.

We paid for a new lane on I-405 with the nation’s second-highest gas tax, yet the incumbents in Olympia like my opponent voted to charge us again every time we use it. (See HB-1382 in 2011.) WSDOT’s plan is to extend the toll lanes throughout the greater Seattle area and spend $53 billion to implement an insufficient outdated technology they call ST3 for completion in 2045.

I will lead a community effort to gather and review viable solutions such as a better-funded bus system, eastside reversible lanes, wider arterials, and other ideas. Together, we will find real solutions. The State does not own our time; they should not charge us for returning it.

Evan Smith can be reached at

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