|411W Whidbey at Mount Vernon Station|
Below is verbatim what was sent to Seattle Transit Blog as a guest post. Hopefully considering they purport to speak for a great swath of transit users & helped knock off the very senior State Senator who sat on the transportation committee, they'll publish this post.
You may know me as “Avgeek Joe From Skagit County” because I occasionally contribute photos to your Flickr feed and have commented here for some time. But for now, we have a situation that requires your attention in Northwest Washington State.
Namely the tri-county connectors linking Skagit, Island and Whatcom Counties is at risk. Even the Skagit Transit express bus to and from Everett is at risk.
How can this be so? Especially when over 350,000 trips were taken on the five Northwest Washington State county connector routes in 2012 (SOURCE)? My math indicates for the 5-day week that’s over 1,300 regular users of these routes and an average subsidy of slightly over $2,300 per regular rider per year.
Yet, the state transportation budget that will come out in a few weeks must include a $6 million per biennium grant for the tri-county connectors. Not as part of some transportation package going to the voters, but in the current no-new-revenue budget. Otherwise, come the end of June… no more county connectors.
Arguably, that’s over 1,300 cars off the road. That’s creating capacity on currently existing roads, cutting harmful emissions, saving money that would have to be spent either on road repair or expensive efforts to expand road capacity. That’s also transit access to places in our region such as the Cascade Mall, OLF Coupeville, Bellingham Community College, Paine Field (sorta, need a cab the rest of the way), Bellis Fair and more. I can go on and am sure the comments will list things I’ve exempted.
If we are truly one state, then we need to come together and demand that in the current transportation budget there is funding for the county connectors. This is a service that allows Northwest Washington State citizens – many of whom pay more in taxes than receive in services plus live in that region for a multitude of reasons – to link up with the stellar Seattle area transit network.
Please go HERE and contact the appropriate legislators on page 2. Also on that contact list is the entire State House & State Senate transportation committees. Although Rep. Dave Hayes has pledged that he will fight for funding both the Tri-County Connectors and the Everett Connector within existing revenue to protect these runs, until we have a transportation budget signed by Governor Jay Inslee this is not a clichéd done deal.