ELECTION 2014: Washington locales to vote on road, bridge, transit questions

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 9/11/2014

November ballots in counties throughout Washington state will include questions that cover transportation issues.

In Clark County, voters will provide insight into whether a third bridge should be built over the Columbia River east of the existing Interstate 205 bridge. The bridge would connect the county and Multnomah County, Ore.

The advisory vote will ask voters whether they support plans for a private firm to build a toll-free east county bridge. The proposed $860 million project would carry two lanes of traffic each way. Two covered lanes would also be built for bicycles and pedestrians.

Advocates say a yes vote “translates to a directive to your elected representatives to work on your behalf to get it done.”

Seattle voters will decide on two transit questions. The first question would benefit the Seattle Transportation Benefit District.

Proposition 1 will ask voters whether to fund metro transit service within Seattle city limits and along key inter-city routes. Specifically, voters will decide whether to authorize an additional vehicle license fee of $60 per registered vehicle and authorize a 0.1-cent sales and use tax.

Supporters say that passage is needed to prevent service cuts planned for 2015 due to funding shortfalls.

Mayor Ed Murray said that preserving transit service is the most progressive act voters can take.

“It’s clear that Seattle voters value transit service as a way of life and, for many, it is a lifeline we cannot afford to cut,” Murray said in a news release.

The second question covers the creation of a city transportation authority to plan, build, operate and maintain monorail facilities.

If approved, Citizen Petition 1 would add a $5 relicensing tab fee on vehicles registered within the city.

In neighboring Snohomish County, voters in the city of Lynnwood will decide on a sales and use tax to fund transportation improvements.

Proposition 1 would authorize a sales and use tax of 0.2 percent to be collected in the area for 10 years.

Across the state in the city of Spokane, ballots will include a question about street funding. Proposition 1 will ask voters whether to extend current property tax assessments.

If approved, the city would get $25 million annually for street repairs.

The deadline to register to vote by mail for the fall election in Washington is Oct. 5. In-person registration is available up to Oct. 20.

For more 2014 election coverage from Land Line, click here.

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