Local News

RTA pitches pre-draft plan to Woodinville City Council

RTA plan by Jeff Switzer
Highlighted by new sub-areas, a smaller budget, and greater relevance, the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) is gearing up for another journey to the ballot box this fall.
   The Woodinville City Council heard the new pitch from RTA representative Johnathon Jackson, who outlined Woodinville's direct influence over what goes into the city and how money is allocated, whether it's improving bus service or capital improvements, such as HOV lanes or sidewalks and bus shelters.
   "The Mar. 14 (1995) vote told us many things, including that people think there is not enough congestion to call for a regional solution," Jackson said.
   Jackson said the RTA is working towards a more balanced plan which integrates the suggestions from cities, tailoring services and projects to specific areas while also serving the needs of the region as a whole.
   The RTA's mandate from the state legislature is to develop a high-capacity transportation system, and it is authorized to construct, maintain, operate, and regulate that system.
   The transportation system can be developed through a broad list of capital projects, including but not limited to railways, tramways, buses, personal rapid transit systems, passenger terminals, and parking facilities and ferries.
   The RTA has several taxing options to fund their programs, including voter approved local option employer tax, a special motor vehicle excise tax, and a sales and use tax. The RTA Board could also request voter approval on a maximum tax and pledge by resolution not to levy the tax until unless under certain conditions. The board could also resolve to establish regional fund accounts.
   The Woodinville City Council is currently considering what further recommendations to send to the RTA. The RTA is planning to adopt its draft plan Mar. 22 or 23, followed by public hearings. The final plan is expected to be adopted May 10 or 11, and sent to the voters in the fall.