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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Legislators Unsure City Needs Sta Aid Bill Would Allow Public Transit Systems To Help Pay For Street Maintenance

Chris Mulick Staff writer

A Spokane city planner faced tough questions from legislators on Tuesday over a bill that would help the city raise more money for street repairs.

Assistant City Planner Dave Mandyke told members of the Senate Transportation Committee he supports SB5430, which would allow public transit systems, such as Spokane Transit Authority, to help pay for street maintenance.

Some committee members, however, raised concerns about the city’s need for the money.

Sen. Jeannette Wood, R-Woodway, asked if the city could pay for repairs with its own reserves. And Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, asked for proof the city wasn’t trying to get its hand into “deep pockets.”

STA has a $40 million reserve account, which it uses for self-insurance, capital replacement and conversion to alternative fuels.

Sen. Eugene Prince, R-Thorton, who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, has given the bill a 50 percent chance of passing out of committee.

Mandyke told lawmakers that any STA money spent on street repairs would have to be approved by the transit agency’s board of directors.

“This is not intended to be in any way, shape or form a raid on funds,” Mandyke said. “We do believe transit vehicles do more than their fair share of damage to our streets and roads and the city should be compensated for that. This would only add one more tool to our transportation tool box.”

The city currently spends $12.5 million per year to maintain its streets, and officials say they need another $6.5 million more annually.

Sen. Jim West, R-Spokane, who sponsored the bill, said STA benefits from city services and should be allowed to offer compensation.

“When we have a snowfall, the first priority of the snow clearance team is to plow the bus routes,” he testified. “If (the city) didn’t, (STA) would have to plow it themselves.”

West also argued potholes take their toll on buses, too, and that it is in STA’s best interests to help repair city streets.

Under the bill, only the streets STA uses could be repaired with STA money.

With time running out during the public hearing, Prince decided to continue the meeting on Thursday, when people who oppose the bill will be allowed to testify.

, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: LEGISLATIVE LINK Sending e-mail to state legislators is relatively easy, but a typesetting problem in Sunday’s Spokesman-Review might make it difficult for the newspaper’s readers. All addresses for legislators contain a specific character , called an underscore, found on most keyboards as the uppercase of the hyphen key. The newspaper’s typesetter, however, prints that key as a dash. Here is a corrected list of e-mail addresses for Spokane-area legislators.

3rd District Sen. Lisa Brown, brownli@leg.wa.gov; Rep. Jeff Gombosky, gomboskyje@leg.wa.gov; Rep. Alex Wood, woodal@leg.wa.gov.

4th District Sen. Bob McCaslin, mccaslinbo@leg.wa.gov; Rep. Larry Crouse, crousela@leg.wa.gov; Rep. Mark Sterk, sterkma@leg.wa.gov.

6th District Sen. Jim West, westja@leg.wa.gov; Rep. Brad Benson, bensonbr@leg.wa.gov; Rep. Duane Sommers, sommersdu@leg.wa.gov.

7th District Sen. Bob Morton does not use e-mail; Rep. Cathy McMorris, mcmorrisca@leg.wa.gov; Rep. Bob Sump, sumpbo@leg.wa.gov.

9th District Sen. Gene Prince, princeeu@leg.wa.gov.; Rep. Mark Schoesler, schoeslema@leg.wa.gov; Rep. Larry Sheahan, sheahanla@leg.wa.gov.

This sidebar appeared with the story: LEGISLATIVE LINK Sending e-mail to state legislators is relatively easy, but a typesetting problem in Sunday’s Spokesman-Review might make it difficult for the newspaper’s readers. All addresses for legislators contain a specific character , called an underscore, found on most keyboards as the uppercase of the hyphen key. The newspaper’s typesetter, however, prints that key as a dash. Here is a corrected list of e-mail addresses for Spokane-area legislators.

3rd District Sen. Lisa Brown, brownli@leg.wa.gov; Rep. Jeff Gombosky, gomboskyje@leg.wa.gov; Rep. Alex Wood, woodal@leg.wa.gov.

4th District Sen. Bob McCaslin, mccaslinbo@leg.wa.gov; Rep. Larry Crouse, crousela@leg.wa.gov; Rep. Mark Sterk, sterkma@leg.wa.gov.

6th District Sen. Jim West, westja@leg.wa.gov; Rep. Brad Benson, bensonbr@leg.wa.gov; Rep. Duane Sommers, sommersdu@leg.wa.gov.

7th District Sen. Bob Morton does not use e-mail; Rep. Cathy McMorris, mcmorrisca@leg.wa.gov; Rep. Bob Sump, sumpbo@leg.wa.gov.

9th District Sen. Gene Prince, princeeu@leg.wa.gov.; Rep. Mark Schoesler, schoeslema@leg.wa.gov; Rep. Larry Sheahan, sheahanla@leg.wa.gov.

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