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Regional governance initiative eyed

Post by David Seago on March 25, 2008 at 5:46 pm with No Comments »
March 25, 2008 5:46 pm

We have a strongly worded editorial coming Wednesday morning on the prospect that Sound Transit might give up on extending light rail to Tacoma in its next ballot proposal. (Find it here in the morning.)

During an email exchange today with Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg on that matter, he also argued that Sound Transit should hold off until 2009 to go back to voters for Phase II expansion. Ladenburg stepped down as Sound Transit chairman last year but remains on the board for the rest of this year.

All that being said, I’m still not sure this is the right year. I understand the advantage of high voter and young voter turnout, but we are falling into a national recession. Even if the local economy remains good as I think it will, the national economy may well affect the vote.

Also, it appears that John Stanton is prepared to put his “governance change” proposal forward as an initiative and fund signature gathering to get it to the ballot this year. While I think his plan is poorly thought out and dangerous for Pierce County, he has the money to get it on the ballot and distract from any Sound Transit measure.

Plus, once Light Rail opens in 2009 in King County, I think we get a lot more

people as supporters, since this is what has happened around the US in the past.

Stanton confirmed today that supporters of forming a single regional body to govern both mass transit and road construction are exploring an initiative campaign to put it on the November ballot.

Stanton, a Seattle telecom billionaire, and former Seattle mayor Norm Rice co-chaired a 2006 state task force that recommended regional governance. A bill to that effect stalled in this year’s Legislature. RG backers will have to decide soon whether to proceed, because the deadline for signatures is July 1.

Like Ladenburg, the TNT ed board and most Pierce County elected officials are wary of regional governance, fearing that the needs of the metro Seattle area will dominate, to the detriment of Pierce County.

Taking notice
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