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Gov. Gregoire adds Pierce County member to transportation committee

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on July 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
July 12, 2011 12:32 pm

Last week Gov. Chris Gregoire announced the 28 members of her new task force on transportation. Their task: draw up a plan for which transportation projects should get funding, and where the tax revenue should come from to pay for it. Their ideas will help the Legislature write a ballot measure to present to voters in 2012.

The list of appointees left some in Pierce County puzzled, Rep. Connie Ladenburg said. Why did the panel include no one representing the state’s second-largest county?

Ladenburg and other legislators, like Reps. Hans Zeiger and Bruce Dammeier, started to put together a letter of complaint to Gregoire, and Ladenburg said Dammeier spoke to one of the governor’s top aides. Then word came that Gregoire had appointed a new member.

Port of Tacoma Commissioner Don Meyer will join the group.

Gregoire’s spokesman says:

She reviewed the task force’s members and decided a perspective from Pierce County would be beneficial, given the I-5 traffic and transportation issues around JBLM, and wanted more perspective about freight mobility, because of the importance of exports to the state’s economy.

Ladenburg said she would push to get even more representation for the county on the board. For example, someone from County Executive Pat McCarthy‘s office or the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber would be appropriate, she said.

The board roster is more than a symbolic question. Members will consider what should be on the state’s transportation wish list, which could include efforts to ease up traffic at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and extend state Route 167 from Puyallup toward the port.

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