Transportation is the issue the Legislature left unresolved. Now the political pressure is noticeably building. This state needs to improve its capacity to move people and goods from place to place, and that means roads, highways, bridges, infrastructure, and all related complications and expense. The question is how to get there from here.
To that end the Senate Transportation Committee will take a “listening tour” statewide, stopping in Wenatchee Sept. 23 for a hearing, 6-9 p.m. at the Chelan County PUD auditorium. The co-chairs, Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, and Sen. Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way, have helped make the arrangements. It may seem like a mere courtesy call, a show-the-flag cruise, but it could be much more if the current debate leads where some expect — to negotiations on a transportation package and gas-tax hike that may prompt Gov. Jay Inslee to call a special session to consider it and vote, probably in November. If that happens, and even if people in power only talk about it, what is said about transportation priorities and policies in faraway places like Wenatchee could play a significant part. Transportation packages don’t pass unless the benefits are spread statewide, and for that places like Wenatchee have to speak up.
There is nothing close to agreement yet. The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, the force behind this listening tour, wants reform before funding. Others want funding before reform. Business and labor have joined to add pressure for action, expressing urgency. Into this political cacophany, add the voice of Wenatchee. It could be vital.
This is the opinion of The Wenatchee World and its Editorial Board: Publisher Rufus Woods, Editor Cal FitzSimmons and Editorial Page Editor Tracy Warner.