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Proposition One: Back to the drawing board

By JACINDA HOWARD, The Mirror

Following Tuesday’s election, city leaders are left pondering how to improve congestion, given voters’ rejection of Proposition One — the roads and transit package five years in the making.

Had Proposition One passed, it would have offered much-needed traffic relief in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. But it appears the price to pay — $47 billion, including inflation costs, after the last bond was paid off — might have been too much for the majority of voters to accept, said Tom Pierson, Federal Way Chamber of Commerce CEO.

As of Wednesday, 55.39 percent of voters had rejected the measure in the general election, while 44.61 percent had supported it.

The outcome of the election is disappointing, Pierson said. A lot of people came together, putting a lot of time and effort into compiling Proposition One, he said.

“Federal Way was a big winner in regards to Proposition One,” Pierson said.

Of utmost importance to Federal Way is its “triangle” project: The interchange of Interstate 5, State

Route 18 and State Route 161. Approximately $118 million in state and federal funds have been secured for road improvements to the interchange, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation Web site. Proposition One would have supplied the estimated $120 million, including inflation costs, needed to complete the project, said Cary Roe, assistant city manager Cary Roe said.

Now, a portion of the improvements will be made using the already secured $118 million, Roe said. The city will continue to lobby for additional funding, he said.

Federal Way city officials have worked to improve this dangerous and congested area for the past seven years, Roe said. The city has lobbied in Washington, D.C., as well as in Olympia for money to fund the improvements. Discussions with state representatives and senators will take place to ensure the project will not be forgotten, he said

“What we will continue to do is highlihgt the project in the South King County area,” Roe said.

Though Roe agrees the results of the Proposition One vote are disappointing, the democratic process must be respected, he said. The voters chose not to support Proposition One, so now the reasons behind that choice must be explored, he said.

In the coming months, many entities including Sound Transit and King County will evaluate how and why votes were placed as they were, Sound Transit spokesman Bruce Gray said.

Another package is bound to be offered; traffic is not getting any better, he said. There will be several discussions as to the details of the next package, Gray said.

“We believe people’s want for some sort of solution is still out there,” Gray said.

The Federal Way Chamber of Commerce and the city will strive to stay informed of why voters rejected the measure, as well as contribute solutions to another package, both Pierson and Roe said.

The Chamber has already begun discussing why Proposition One failed and what can be improved, Pierson said. The Legislature should distribute focus groups to find out from the voters what they liked and what they didn’t like about the measure, he said.

The Chamber and its lobbyist will continue to meet with the state’s legislators to assist in establishing a better solution, Pierson said.

“Absolutely Federal Way will continue to press on a state and regional level to be a part of another measure,” Roe said.

Contact Jacinda Howard: jhoward@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

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