Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Looking Ahead to 2007

Submitted by Paul Ellis

RAMP began work today on the slate of items for the 2007 Legislative Session. As Tacoma-Pierce County's primary coalition for transportation issues, RAMP will clearly advance the area's consensus regarding transportation projects, policies and priorities.

RAMP will continue to push for full funding for projects, including:
  • Completion of SR-167 from Puyallup to SR-509;
  • Building SR-704 (and changing its name to the "Armed Services Highway");
  • Improving SR-162 between Sumner and Orting;
  • Expansion of Sound Transit services, especially connecting light rail from Tacoma Dome Station to SeaTac Airport;
  • Construction of grade separations for Sounder, Tacoma Rail and Port traffic bottlenecks
RAMP will support policies essential to our region's economic development, which include:
  • Supporting tolling to encourage effective use of the transportation system through congestion management as well as to provide a supplementary source of transportation funding;
  • Indexing the state gas tax to keep pace with inflation;
  • Supporting any technical changes necessary to allow the Roads & Transit ballot issue to move to the electorate next fall;
  • Opposing cargo taxes that would hamper the state's competitiveness, driving economic activity from Washington to neighboring states and countries, and harming Washington ports, manufacturers, growers, and exporters;
  • Keeping the state accountable for efficiencies in the construction of transportation projects by producing verifiable and quantifiable results through cost savings, project prioritization, benchmarks, planning and project streamlining;
  • Maintaining subarea equity while working collaboratively with the rest of the region

RAMP maintains that governance revisions are secondary to the provision of adequate financial resources; to that end, RAMP will support Legislative goals and recommendations that make adequate financing their top priority.

The Legislative package is open for comment from RAMP participants and will be presented for final adoption at the January 3rd meeting.

Paul Ellis is lead staff for RAMP; an employee of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, Ellis led the Pierce County Transportation Advisory Committee (PCTAC), the community's largest transportation planning effort.

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