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Published on Friday, November 9, 2012

Sea of change in transportation leadership

With the departure of Sen. Haugen, Sen. Swecker, and Rep. Armstrong, there will be a sea of change in legislative leadership on transportation issues. First time legislator, Katrina Asay (R) was also defeated. We also anticipate that several other Transportation Committee members will switch over to Ways & Means.

Regarding Senator Haugen, she will be first noted as one of the Steel Magnolia’s that put together the Growth Management Act and has been a cornerstone of cities ever since.  Building on that achievement, Senator Haugen, or “MM” to many, will be known for her “big tent” or inclusive approach for building momentum for transportation funding and advancing transportation policy.  Senator Swecker has been a friend to cities in the areas of permit reform and assisting us with local transportation options.  We have him to thank for his strong support and leadership on Transportation Benefit Districts.  Representative Armstrong was always helpful on communicating with his caucus and seeking a middle ground on thorny legislation.  Representative Asay, as a former Milton Mayor, was always helpful on advancing city interests.

Where does that leave a much-needed transportation package with the backdrop of an operating budget in deficit and the need to address the education funding as a result of the McLeary decision?

While the caucuses sort out a new leadership, transportation stakeholders can immediately begin their education efforts with the newly elected Legislature. Cities need to share the message that we cannot afford to wait another one, two, or three years for a transportation package. If a statewide package appears to be coming up short in 2013, cities still need to advocate for local transportation funding options.

Categories: Transportation