Below are Seattle Transit Blog’s Endorsements for the November 6th General Election. As always, these purely reflect the issues of public transit and land use. We have only endorsed in races with a compelling reason to do so, but in general a generic Democrat typically is better on transit and land use issues than a generic Republican. The Editorial Board consists of Martin H. Duke, Adam Parast, Sherwin Lee, and Bruce Nourish.
U.S. Senator: Maria Cantwell gets our pick for a third term in the U.S. Senate. While not as proactive about sustainable transportation choices as her colleague, Patty Murray, Senator Cantwell has provided reasonably steadfast support for transit during her tenure in D.C. Her earmark requests have been relatively favorable to local transit projects, a notable example being Sound Transit’s Link extension to S. 200th.
Governor: Jay Inslee has a transportation platform that explicitly mentions continued support for light rail and Amtrak Cascades. His support for light rail on the Columbia River Crossing and long career emphasis on greenhouse gas reduction are good signs. His opponent doesn’t have transportation as a major issue on his website, but does have a record of light rail opposition stretching back over a decade. Although McKenna seems to have made his peace with current Sound Transit plans, he hasn’t repudiated his previous attitude towards high-quality transit and would probably not support any further effort to expand it.
Initiative 1185: No. Another Eyman initiative, once again requiring a supermajority to raise taxes. Our broad view is that transportation taxes are not high enough, and this creates insurmountable obstacles to fixing that. Furthermore, the initiative creates more procedural obstacles to adjusting tolling rates, flying in the face of best practice for managing demand on congested roadways and ensuring they remain congested.
Supreme Court Position #9: Sheryl Gordon McCloud, like most judicial candidates, doesn’t get deep into transportation in her campaign materials. However, her opponent is former Justice Richard B. Sanders, a reliable vote against Sound Transit in Kemper Freeman’s endless attempts to sue East Link out of existence.
Pierce Transit Proposition 1: Yes. Pierce Transit is in deep financial trouble. Service levels have dropped dramatically over the last few years, and failure of this measure would accelerate the death spiral by eliminating all evening and weekend service. We’re not thrilled with how little PT achieves with the current level of funding, but don’t see any alternative to preserve the principle of service beyond support for commuters.
C-Tran Proposition 1: Approve. This proposition is a critical seal of approval for light rail on the Columbia River Crossing (CRC), which will be Vancouver’s principal connection to Portland for our lifetime and beyond. The proposition funds C-TRAN’s share of light rail operations on the CRC as well as construction and operation of the Fourth Plain BRT project through a 1/10th of 1 percent sales tax increase. High-capacity transit across the CRC is essential for Vancouver’s future, and the extension of Portland’s well-established MAX system is an obvious choice.
Washington State Senate
District 10: We see absolutely no reason to think that Barbara Bailey, the GOP candidate, will be a good force for transit, or even vote for the most basic legislation on behalf of causes we support. But she will not be chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, unlike incumbent opponent Mary Margaret Haugen. By most accounts, Ms. Haugen has been the primary obstacle to pro-transit legislation in the last several legislative sessions. In effect, a vote for Bailey is a vote for current Vice Chair Sen. Tracey Eide of Federal Way, who represents constituents that depend on Metro and Sound Transit, and had the fortitude to resist the populist, counterproductive anti-Sound Transit bill forwarded by her House counterparts. While not in the inner circle of excellent transfer advocates, we expect her to be a vast improvement over Haugen.
District 41: Maureen Judge doesn’t have a proven pro-transit track record, but her transportation platform is still superior to that of incumbent Steve Litzow, who was wrong on Sound Transit 2, the biggest transit slam dunk this century.
Washington State House
District 21, Rep. 2: Marko Liias is the de facto leader of progressive transportation legislators in Olympia. He has been the driving force behind numerous bills to help struggling transit agencies, and together with unopposed Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34) is one of the two strongest pro-transit legislators currently in office.
District 27, Rep. 2: Jake Fey gets our accolade for having a pragmatic transportation-oriented vision, more so than his Democratic opponent, Lauren Walker. He has served on the Pierce Transit and Sound Transit boards, as is sure to emphasize the interests of those organizations in Olympia.
District 30, Rep. 2: Roger Freeman is running against incumbent Katrina Asay, a prime mover of the horrible and counterproductive legislative attempt to punish Sound Transit for not having enough money to get to Federal Way.
District 34, Rep. 2: Joe Fitzgibbon is running unopposed come November, but still gets a well-deserved endorsement for championing the pro-transit cause in Olympia.
District 36, Rep. 1: Reuven Carlyle has been a steadfast ally of transit supporters during his time in Olympia. He was a vocal critic of the supermajority requirement in the emergency funding authority that saved Metro for two years and is even a proven blog reader.
District 46, Rep. 2: Jessyn Farrell’s background includes the Transportation Choices Coalition, and that experience shows in an issues page that discusses transportation and land use in rich detail. She has deep understanding of the issues and experience with relevant legislation in Olympia. Her opponent doesn’t indicate any priority on transportation at all. There are a few candidates that stand out every election cycle by being worth not only your vote, but your time and money. Ms. Farrell is the one in a competitive race this time around.
District 48, Rep 1: Ross Hunter isn’t a pro-transit standout, but he’s shown a fairly steadfast commitment to getting East Link done. His opponent, on the other hand, is only running in the hope of killing Eastside rail expansion entirely.
District 48, Rep 2: Cyrus Habib is relatively new to the political arena, but has all the right positions on transit for an Eastside candidate. He supports light rail and sits on a Bellevue Downtown Association Board that has been an instrumental in lobbying for East Link. Habib is running against Redmond city councilmember Hank Myers, who opposed ST2 in favor of “better transportation options” that were never specified.
City and Other
City of Seattle Proposition 1: Approve. There is no question the seawall needs to be rebuilt. While some will certainly argue about how the rebuild might be financed, the seawall is a foundational requirement of a safe and prosperous downtown and city. Approving Proposition 1 will ensure the the seawall can be rebuilt in coordination with the Alaskan Way Viaduct project.
City of Kirkland Proposition 1: Approve. This is the kind of transportation package we’d like to see more of from suburban cities: focused on safety and fixing existing roads, rather than building new ones. Smart management of roads now, before they are crumbling, will reduce lifecycle maintenance costs and help Kirkland avoid a Seattle-like maintenance backlog in the future. We want the City of Kirkland to continue to be a showpiece in how suburban cities can improve safety and access for pedestrians and bicyclists and hope they extend their leadership to transit in the future.
Proposed North Highline “Y” Annexation Area and Proposed West Hills Annexation Area, which will incorporate these areas into the City of Burien and Renton respectively is simply the correct governance policy decision and is called for under the GMA. Both areas are clearly urban areas and deserved urban levels of government services. This can only be effectively done by a city. King County’s overriding mission is to provide regional services like transit and unincorporated urban areas are a distraction from this mission.