More people in Washington will have a chance to be heard now that Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, has announced the addition of three locations to the Senate’s statewide transportation feedback tour. The additional stops in Seattle, Tri-Cities and Bellingham stem from an overwhelming public response to a series of public forums scheduled around the state to gauge public opinion on potential transportation reforms and revenue.
“So many people were interested in attending that we had to add a few more to accommodate the overflow,” King said. “It’s a good day in state government when there are so many people interested in participating that you have to increase the number of meetings.”
Last month King delivered a letter to state Department of Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson requesting the agency’s cooperation in coordinating a series of public meetings. King’s original list of suggested locations included Seattle and Tri-Cities, but WSDOT opted instead to hold the forums in Bellevue and Yakima.
The three new dates and locations are:
- Sept. 26 – Tri-Cities 6-9 p.m.
- Columbia Basin College, Gjerde Center, 2600 N. 20th Ave., Pasco, WA 99301
- Oct. 14 – Seattle 6-9 p.m.
- First Presbyterian Church, 1013 8th Ave., Seattle
- Oct. 15 – Bellingham 6-9 p.m.
- Port of Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 355 Harris Ave., Bellingham, WA 98225
Those new locations are additions to the previously scheduled meetings, which are:
- Sept. 17 – Bellevue (Northwest Region) 6-9 p.m.
- Stevenson Elementary School, 14220 NE 8th St., Bellevue, WA 98007
- Sept. 18 – Everett (Northwest Region) 6-9 p.m.
- Snohomish County, Robert Drewel Building, 3000 Rockefeller Ave., 1st floor, Everett, WA 98201
- Sept. 23 – Wenatchee (North Central Region) 6-9 p.m.
- Chelan County PUD Auditorium, 327 N Wenatchee Ave., Wenatchee, WA 98801
- Sept. 24 – Yakima (South Central Region) 6-9 p.m.
- Yakima Area Arboretum, Garden View Rm., 1401 Arboretum Dr., Yakima, WA 98901
- Oct. 2 – Spokane (Eastern Region) 6-9 p.m.
- Central Valley High School theater, 821 South Sullivan Road, Spokane Valley
- Oct. 7 – Vancouver (Southwest Region) 6-9 p.m.
- Department of Transportation Southwest Region Office, 11018 Northeast 51st Circle, Vancouver 98682
- Oct. 9 – Tacoma (Olympic Region) 6-9 p.m.
- Evergreen Tacoma Campus, Lyceum Hall, 1210 6th Ave., Tacoma, WA 98405
King emphasized the importance of hearing from individual members of the public and noted that his goal is to have at least half of each of the three-hour forums be devoted to public comment.
“One thing that’s important to us is hearing from the commuter, the bus rider or the ferry passenger,” King said. “We hear from transportation-related organizations in Olympia all the time; many of them even have their own lobbyists, which is why it’s sometimes necessary to reach out to the individual whose voice may be drowned out by larger, more vocal interest groups.
“It’s also vital that we hear from as many different people as possible at these public forums,” King continued. “It’s not necessary for someone to attend multiple meetings just to repeat the same points. So, while we’re looking forward to hearing from the various transportation groups that exist in our communities, my hope is that we’ll hear more from private citizens who in the past may not have had an opportunity to provide state government with their transportation thoughts.”