Friday, June 13, 2008

Who Does Fred Walser Stand With on U.S. 2?

In January 2008, Mary Margaret Haugen (D-10, Camano Island), chair of the State Senate Transportation Committee, assured citizens that they would work on U.S. 2, saying:
"There's no doubt that U.S. 2 in Snohomish County has seen more than its share of deadly accidents -- from January 1999 to June 2007 there were 39 fatal collisions, with a total of 47 fatalities. ... The state has an obligation to make U.S. 2 safer."

But just a few months earlier, she admitted that the Democrats were putting politics above safety, and putting blame on the 39th District voters themselves:
"It's really brutal to say, but the people from those districts didn't support anything as far as funding," and consequently, less revenue went to districts with legislators who didn't support the tax measure, she explained. "That certainly is a big reason."

And just a few months later, Haugen earmarked $13m for an Amtrak station in her district, and another $82m for congestion relief in her district, while authorizing only $14m for U.S. safety.

Haugen also wrote in January:
"I ... agree that we need to work toward reducing congestion on our highways -- but not at the risk of sacrificing safety."
So Senator Val Stevens, who Walser is trying to unseat in the 39th District, proposed an amendment to the transportation budget: kill the Amtrak station, and -- as Haugen herself said -- put safety first, and move that $13m to U.S. 2.

Haugen killed the amendment.

So we have a simple question: does Walser stand with Stevens or Haugen? Specifically, does Walser agree with the decision to punish 39th District voters by withholding U.S. 2 safety improvements? Does he agree that an Amtrak station and congestion relief in Haugen's district are more important than safety improvements on U.S. 2?

Who does Walser stand with on U.S. 2: one of the leaders of his own party, or the opponent he is trying to unseat?

The voters want to know.

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