It’s been a couple of weeks since you went into your special session, and, well, you’re halfway through and we haven’t heard much. Just wondering: How’s it going?
Don’t misunderstand us; we know there’s a lot to resolve and you’ve got that contempt-of-court thing from the Supreme Court hanging over your heads unless you can show them that you can find and allocate full funding for K-12 education. And when you open that up and take responsibility for paying almost all of teachers’ salaries, you’ve got to convince the teachers unions to bargain at the state level. And then you have to figure out how to reform the levy system that school districts have been using to pick up the slack between what the state paid for teachers’ salaries and what the districts had to pay to get good teachers. Yeah, lots of working pieces there to figure out. We don’t envy you.
But, it’s been pretty quiet. We’re just concerned. We don’t want you to miss out on what’s been a pretty nice spring. The rhodies are out. And the Mariners have won four of their last five.
Hey, here’s an idea, a chance to get something off your plate and let us know that you’re making progress, finding consensus, getting stuff done: How about you finish crafting that transportation package and take a couple of votes and send it off to the governor?
Really, last time we checked it looked like you were pretty close to a deal. And there’s a lot to like about it.
Snohomish County stands to gain as much as $570 million in transportation projects that we really need to move people and goods. And not to brag, but you remember that Snohomish County is first in the state in the number of manufacturing jobs with 65,000 direct jobs at more than 745 companies. Of those, 47,000 jobs and more than 215 companies are in aerospace. And we’re second in the state in technology jobs outside of aerospace. OK. We’re bragging. But the point is we need those transportation projects so we can get workers to their jobs and our products to customers.
And there seems to be general agreement on how to pay for it all. Not everybody is crazy about an increase in the gas tax, and, sure, you’ll hear some grumbling, but if we know we can expect highway and transportation improvements and better maintenance of roads and bridges for 11.7 cents more a gallon, we’ll adjust.
We know there are some details to smooth over. But a little give and take, some compromise should get a deal done, right?
There’s one issue we can handle right here. You know how Sound Transit wants the authority to ask voters for $15 billion to extend its Link light rail system to Everett, Tacoma and Bellevue? Well, the Senate’s transportation package only authorized an $11 billion request, but that’s not going to allow for construction of a viable system. So, go ahead and allow Sound Transit to seek the full $15 billion and let the voters decide if that’s money well spent. We appreciate your looking out for us, but we can handle this decision.
So with the transportation package done, that’s a load off your to-do list and you can move on to the rest.
When you get done we should go to a game. When are you free: May? June? July?