Wednesday, December 13, 2006

RAMP Responds to the Regional Transportation Commission

Submitted by Paul Ellis

RAMP Co-Chair David Graybill has responded on behalf of the coalition to the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) draft recommendations released last month. In a letter to RTC Co-Chairs John Stanton & Norm Rice, Graybill stated that:
  • "We agree with RTC that regional transportation is in crisis and that this crisis has resulted from chronic underfunding--delayed investments that mean, as construction costs continue to rise, ever higher prices for needed projects. We further agree that the public has often shown its support for wise expenditures and accountability.

  • "We cannot agree, however, with your conclusion that the absence of unified regional governance is the major impediment to our collective success in easing gridlock and building a better transportation system; in fact, we are concerned that the RTC’s recommendations as currently expressed seem to ignore and overreach progress now taking place in several agencies such as RTID and WSDOT.

  • "The role of RAMP and similar alliances in other counties was not addressed in your report. Although participation is voluntary, RAMP serves as an effective vehicle for coordination between agencies and jurisdictions, and provides a forum for unified discussion on road and transit improvements. We also provide benchmarking for successes in prioritization, accountability and funding. While your draft report is critical of existing organizational structures, it does not present corresponding models that work. We believe RAMP is a good model and should be considered in your final recommendations.

  • "We also take issue with the RTC’s finding on sub-area equity—not only does it introduce a “sense of fairness,” it provides a safeguard for accountability. As some have said: “All politics is local politics,” and we’ve seen in regional road and transit votes in other parts of the country that the system which best improves everyone’s transportation network is the one that passes muster with voters."

The RTC is scheduled to meet again tomorrow at the University of Washington Seattle.

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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