A New Governor for Washington, a New Day for Transit in Seattle?

Tuesday night’s election was so big and wide-ranging, we’re still sorting through the implications for transit, biking, and walking around the country.

Will transit in Seattle finally get the attention it deserves under Governor Jay Inslee? Photo: Seattle Post-Intelligencer

One potential big winner is Seattle. On Tuesday voters in the state of Washington elected a new governor, Jay Inslee. While Inslee didn’t say much specifically about transit on the campaign trail, Ben Schiendelman at Seattle Transit Blog says he could represent a huge break from the car-centric policies of the outgoing governor, Christine Gregoire:

We’ve just spent eight years with a governor who’s been unwilling to lead on transit. She’s put forward road and highway expansion projects, but she has done no more than the bare minimum to support transit.

Jay Inslee ran as an environmental candidate. He’s talked a lot about green jobs and renewable energy, and worked in Congress to help promote both. But at home, the greenest jobs we can possibly create are those that build transit. And the most damaging jobs we can create are those expanding our highways, literally paving the way for climate change.

Jay Inslee’s values tell me he should be a leader on both transit and land use. How he was elected, and the people elected around him this week – like Jessyn Farrell and Jake Fey – tell me the voters want him to lead on transit too.

He’s not going to do it alone – we need to tell him what we want. Personally, I want a transportation package that fixes existing roads and bridges, builds bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure wherever it makes those repairs, and funds transit – a lot of it. What we found in 2007 with the failure of Roads and Transit is that people in Puget Sound don’t want more or bigger highways – and polling since then (and that whole 2008 Sound Transit 2 blowout) shows that there are two things we all agree on: we want to fix our aging infrastructure, and we want to build more transit.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Urban Milwaukee says President Obama owes his victory in Wisconsin almost entirely to voter turnout in Milwaukee. Brice Wright at the FABB blog drops in on traffic court in suburban Virginia and finds a culture of leniency toward reckless drivers. And NextSTL says that while St. Louis has scored a big downtown development, the proposed design is more suited for the suburbs.