CHOKEPOINTS

Voters approve huge transportation packages, except in Issaquah

Nov 17, 2016, 6:52 AM | Updated: 9:32 am
eastside traffic, Washington traffic, Issaquah traffic, transit, transportation, package...
Issaquah traffic gets rough at times. (KIRO Radio)
(KIRO Radio)

Four of five local transportation packages passed during the November election, and the one that didn’t actually won a majority of the vote.

The Kitsap Transit’s ferry package, which voters approved, will provide fast, passenger-only service from Bremerton, Kingston and Southworth to downtown Seattle. It increases sales tax by three-tenths of 1 percent.

CEO of Kitsap Transit John Clauson says Bremerton will get passenger-ferry service in July of 2017. Kingston will be about a year behind Bremerton, and Southworth about two years after that.

Related: The program WSDOT hopes will speed up I-405

Clauson says the trips will take about half the time of the traditional state ferries.

“When you compare a 30-minute crossing to, say, I-5 coming out of Pierce County or coming south from Snohomish County, it’s a pretty pleasurable commute,” he said.

Lynnwood voters approved a measure to raise the sales tax by one-tenth of 1 percent to pay for road maintenance. The measure will raise about $1 million a year.

Bellevue voters passed a package to raise property taxes by 15 cents of assessed value or about $96 a year for the average homeowner to pay for neighborhood road improvements.

Bothell’s property tax package raised the property tax by 50 cents per $1,000 or about $200 a year for the average homeowner. That money will go to sidewalks and paving projects.

Issaquah’s measure did not pass. It received more than 54 percent support, but the measure required a 60 percent majority to pass because it involved issuing bonds. Had it been a straight levy, it would have passed.

Mayor Fred Butler says the city may have aimed a little high with the $50 million proposal, but he’s not giving up on finding ways to improve congestion.

“We’re not going to sit back and say, ‘Oh we’re so disappointed and we’re sorry, we’re going to try and figure out the next steps and what will make a difference and where we can make some improvements,” he said.

Mayor Butler has a list of transportation projects in his current budget proposal that is before the city council.

“We’ve got some broad, general ideas right now, but since transportation and traffic are such a high priority, we will be putting some quality time with our team to figure out logical next steps to try and address the problem,” he said.

Issaquah is hosting a regional transportation summit next week to look for ideas and solutions to our traffic issues.

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Voters approve huge transportation packages, except in Issaquah