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Tag: Mary Margaret Haugen


The incredible shrinking transportation measure down to $52 million in Senate

Gov. Chris Gregoire’s transportation task force called for $21 billion in spending over 10 years. Gregoire decided not to go for a gas-tax increase this year, but still called in her State of the State address for raising $3.6 billion mostly through fees — or is that taxes? — on oil.

But the Senate is now talking about millions, not billions.

The Senate Transportation Committee today advanced a few fees on drivers and vehicle dealers that have some measure of bipartisan backing. Combined with a proposed fee on electric cars, they would raise less than $800 million over

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Amendments ready on gay marriage bill

Three senators who have been closely watched in the same-sex marriage debate, Republican Sen. Joe Fain of Auburn and Democratic Sens. Brian Hatfield of Raymond and Mary Margaret Haugen of Camano Island, have offered amendments that could be taken up when the bill goes to the floor tonight.

Hatfield’s amendment is an attempt to send same-sex marriage to a public vote, which appears unlikely to find support in the Senate. Haugen, who gave Democrats the 25th vote to put them over the top on same-sex marriage, offers up some language to establish that the bill doesn’t affect adoption rights. And Fain

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Mary Margaret Haugen clinches Senate majority for gay marriage

The vote that all but guarantees the Legislature will vote to legalize same-sex marriage comes from Sen. Haugen, a conservative Camano Island Democrat who had been on the fence.

Here’s the key part of her statement:

I know this announcement makes me the so-called 25th vote, the vote that ensures passage. That’s neither here nor there. If I were the first or the seventh or the 28th vote, my position would not be any different. I happen to be the 25th because I insisted on taking this much time to hear from my constituents and to sort it out for

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Plan would continue Route 167 HOT lanes experiment

Buried in the House transportation budget is permission for an extra year of the pilot project that allows lone drivers to buy their way into car pool lanes between Auburn and Renton.

House Transportation Committee chairwoman Judy Clibborn wants to extend the state Route 167 experiment until June 2013 because she is trying to put the same pay-to-use lanes — known as high occupancy toll or HOT lanes — on Interstate 405 from Lynnwood to Bellevue. Eventually, she foresees connecting the two stretches of lanes, and she doesn’t want the Route 167 project to lapse before that can happen.

“I want them from Lynnwood to Puyallup,” said Clibborn, D-Mercer Island.

A large expansion of the lanes would ease traffic congestion and help raise money for improvements to I-405 and the extension of Route 167 to the Port of Tacoma, she and other supporters say.

The HOT lanes continue to lose money nearly three years after the four-year pilot project began. But WSDOT says they are about to start breaking even, because with the start of tolling on the Route 520 bridge, the costs of state tolling are spread among more toll projects.

“Now they don’t cost us anything,” Clibborn said.

Rep. Mark Hargrove of Covington, a freshman Republican who helped write the transportation budget,  says the HOT lanes were a bad idea from the beginning. But if the state is no longer losing money on them, he said, it doesn’t hurt to wait an extra year to shut down the project. Read more »


Lawmakers won’t debate traffic cameras

Bills to standardize the traffic cameras that are sprouting up all over the state died for lack of a House or Senate floor vote today. The causes of death were slightly different in the two chambers.

The bills contained relatively modest changes, but the House has plenty of opponents of cameras, and they were poised to try to load up Tacoma Rep. Connie Ladenburg’s bill with a series of tougher restrictions, including putting the machines to local votes.

“It just kind of got bogged down,” House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan said.

Over in the Senate, amendments to Eatonville GOP

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Ferry unions reach contract deal with governor

Gov. Chris Gregoire called it a “historical” level of sacrifice by ferry unions, who are giving up nearly $7 million in the form of 3 percent pay cuts and $13 million in other savings to the state over the next two years.

But there were few details about those other concessions at a press conference Gregoire held with ferry management and unions Friday. It’s all part of a deal that isn’t sealed until contracts are approved by the union rank-and-file, and Gregoire said she wanted those union members to hear the details before the public.

But she touted a total of $30 million in savings to the state ferry system, between the pay and benefit cuts that leaders of most ferry unions have agreed to and $10 million in cuts Gregoire says she is making to management and administrative overhead. (There are few details, but the cuts are in addition to previous efficiencies, and don’t include the reduction in ferry runs she says are necessary to solve a huge budget gap).

To some degree, both union concessions and management cuts are attempts to head off the changes that some lawmakers want to make in the ferry system.

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Sen. Haugen’s ferry reform bills move on

Three bills to change the struggling Washington ferry system made it out of the Senate Transportation Committee Thursday, a move lawmakers said was their answer to ferry reforms the governor suggested earlier this year.

Senate Bill 5742, by Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, would add a $0.25 charge to ferry fares to pay for a new vessels and would exempt ferry fuel from state sales tax. Senate bills 5405 and 5406, also by Haugen, would limit who can participate in ferry-worker unions and the kinds of benefits unions can negotiate with the state.

“The governor challenged

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Top lawmakers on transportation want Legislature to approve bridge tolls

The chairwomen of the Senate and House transportation committees  are asking fellow lawmakers to approve the toll rates set by the state Transportation Commission.

Their bipartisan bills would allow tolls of $3.50 each way ($5 cash) to take effect on the Route 520 bridge over Lake Washington. They would return authority to the Transportation Commission to adjust 520 tolls on its own.

The bills would also allow automated cameras to issue $5.50 tolls on the Tacoma Narrows bridge, as the commission ordered, but they wouldn’t address whether the commission should have authority to set future Narrows bridge rates

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