From Olympia: 34th District House Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon – who is on the House Transportation Committee – says the committee passed a package of transportation-funding bills today, and tells WSB he “was able to help amend the bill to add some projects of local significance.” Keep in mind, this isn’t anywhere near final approval, but right now, here’s some of what he says the bills now contain:
*$125,000 for safety improvements at the notorious 47th & Admiral intersection.
*$500,000 for safety improvements on the West Seattle Bridge bike trail
*$33 million for improvements to Metro Route 120
*$15 million to split RapidRide C and RapidRide D – this will significantly improve reliability on both routes and add a new bus connection between West Seattle and South Lake Union
*Authorization for King County to seek the full 1.5% motor vehicle excise tax for transit (60%) and local roads (40%), subject to voter approval. This will enable Metro to maintain current levels of service.
That last one is related to the dire dollar situation outlined by Metro Transit general manager Kevin Desmond at his media briefing three weeks ago (WSB coverage here). Regarding the biggest proposal on the list, Route 120 improvements, Rep. Fitzgibbon says the money is proposed to “leverage nearly completed speed and reliability enhancements supported by the State Regional Mobility Grant Program to serve a rapidly growing ridership base of over 8,000 daily riders. Implementing RapidRide in the corridor would provide additional enhancements such as real-time information and off-board fare payment. An investment of service hours would be required to get to frequency levels of 10 minutes or better in the high commute times and 15 minutes all day.” We’re still waiting for all the fine print on today’s action to appear online; the bills involved are HB 1954 and 1955, according to Rep. Fitzgibbon, who says their next stop is the Rules Committee.
ADDED 4:02 PM: A group of local politicians and advocates is planning to head to Olympia tomorrow morning to lobby for this to make it the rest of the way through the Legislature. They’re planning a 10:30 am media briefing; County Executive Dow Constantine and City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw are among them.