OLYMPIA (Aug. 30, 2013) — For all 153 days of the 2013 state legislative session, the Senate Republican Coalition Caucus ignored pressure from the House, from Gov. Jay Inslee and from pro-transportation forces representing the labor, business and environmental communities to negotiate a state transportation funding proposal. Senate leaders refused to vote on the House-approved plan and refused to present a plan of their own.
Now, Senate leaders say they are willing to work on a transportation package — one that could be voted upon as early as this fall in a special session of the Legislature. But first, they want to hold “listening sessions” around the state to give people a chance to discuss the type of plan they’d like to see. Senate leaders have also suggested that they may insist on “reforms” before funding the transportation package, which could include changes to prevailing wage laws and apprenticeship utilization standards.
“We welcome the opportunity to explain again why this transportation funding package is so important,” said David Myers, Executive Secretary of the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council. “However, we sincerely hope that ideological efforts to cut construction workers’ wages or apprenticeship opportunities are not allowed to derail this critical package. The business, labor and environmental communities – along with Governor Inslee and House Democrats – are united in our commitment to create jobs and maintain Washington’s competitiveness with this transportation financing package. Let’s talk about what it looks like and what our priorities should be. But let’s set aside the divisive partisan agendas that have been rejected in Olympia time after time.”
TAKE A STAND! Union members and community supporters are urged to mark their calendars and make plans to attend these forums and to support the transportation funding package. All forums are from 6 to 9 p.m. the following dates/locations:
Tuesday, Sept. 17 in Bellevue — Stevenson Elementary School, 14220 NE 8th St.
Wednesday, Sept. 18 in Everett – Snohomish County, Robert Drewel Building, 3000 Rockefeller Ave., 6th floor
Monday, Sept. 23 in Wenatchee – Chelan County PUD Auditorium, 327 N Wenatchee Ave.
Tuesday, Sept. 24 in Yakima — Yakima Area Arboretum, Garden View Rm., 1401 Arboretum Dr.
Wednesday, Oct. 2 in Spokane — Greater Spokane Inc., 801 W. Riverside
Monday, Oct. 7 in Vancouver — Washington Department of Transportation’s district office, 11018 N.E. 51st Circle
Wednesday, Oct. 9 in Tacoma — Evergreen Tacoma Campus, Lyceum Hall, 1210 6th Ave.
The (Everett) Herald got it right in a recent editorial: “…No package can be held hostage to a partisan wish list and deal killers such as ‘an open dialogue on prevailing wage.’ Most assume these throwaways were inserted to assuage red-meat caucus members. But keep-em-happy politics can’t be allowed to sidetrack the package goal.”
ALSO at The Stand — Labor’s five transportation principles — 1) Maintain what we have now; 2) Invest in strategic economic corridors; 3) Increase state and local investment in roads, rail and transit; 4) Invest in livable communities; and 5) Build It in Washington.