Letters to the Editor

State seeks input on transportation | Letters

This summer, the Washington State Transportation Commission launched the “Voice of Washington State”, an innovative web-based public engagement program, which includes seven regional discussion forums and a survey panel.

Now, two months into the program, there are numerous topics on the North Puget Sound forum that need community input. For example, there are currently many ideas about potential funding sources for transportation, as well as active conversations about traffic flow on I-5 and the potential to privatize the ferry system.

The North Puget Sound VOWS online discussion forum is a good place for Whatcom County residents to publicly share, vote and comment on regional or statewide transportation ideas. You can share your opinions about any part of our transportation system, including: highways, mass transit, freight and high-speed rail, ferries, barges and even aviation.

Similarly, through the survey panel, citizens can contribute their opinions by taking occasional surveys on transportation policy, funding and tax issues. The state needs this information in order to understand the priorities and opinions of Washington state residents.

The ultimate goal is to gather public input on Washington state transportation policy and funding, and to inform the statewide discussion and decision-making process. The governor and legislature will be briefed on the results of both the forums and surveys at the start of each year before the legislative session begins.

In short, we want and need to see a stronger representation in the North Puget Sound to ensure the input gathered is balanced and reflective of statewide views and interests. You can help by sharing your transportation ideas today.

There is a limited window of opportunity to impact the state’s future decisions on how future revenues will be invested. Log on to www.voiceofwashingtonstate.org to share your feedback for how to improve Orcas Island and San Juan County’s transportation system.

Tom Cowan, Lopez Island

— Editor’s note: Tom Cowan is vice chairman of the Washington State Transportation Commission

 

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