Some drivers could see new tab fee next year

June 3, 2014

OLYMPIA — Some Washington drivers could see a new fee added to their vehicle-tab transactions starting next year.

Both the Senate and House agreed on a bill that would add a $5 fee for vehicle-registration renewals and purchases and a $12 fee for title transactions through public offices.

The money generated by the new fees would pay for a third 144-car ferry.

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State transportation system faces failure without reforms

November 19, 2013

Here we go again — talk of yet another special legislative session this year to pass a proposed $12.3 billion transportation tax package.

I will not support a tax proposal, which could include an 11 1/2-cent gas tax increase and a host of new and higher fees, while serious transportation project reforms are needed and folks are struggling to make ends meet.

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Sammamish falls short in bid for state ferry name

November 27, 2012

The bid to name a ferry for Sammamish came up short, after state transportation officials selected other tribal names instead.

Washington Transportation Commission members selected Samish and Tokitae for the 144-car Olympic class ferries. The commission also considered Cowlitz, Hoquiam, Muckleshoot and Ivar Haglund as possible names.

The commission announced the name selection Nov. 13.

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Sammamish falls short in bid for state ferry name

November 24, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 24, 2012

The bid to name a ferry for Sammamish came up short, after state transportation officials selected other tribal names instead.

Washington Transportation Commission members selected Samish and Tokitae for the 144-car Olympic class ferries. The commission also considered Cowlitz, Hoquiam, Muckleshoot and Ivar Haglund as possible names.

Sammamish city officials asked residents to submit letter supporting the bid.

(In the late 1970s, Issaquah leaders successfully lobbied for the state to name a 124-car ferry for the city.)

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Sammamish lobbies for ferry with city name

September 18, 2012

Issaquah long ago lobbied for a state ferry to carry the city’s name. Now, Sammamish is embarking on a similar effort.

The state is building a pair of 144-car Olympic class ferries, and Sammamish officials want the city’s name to be considered for a ferry.

Citizens can send letters in support of Sammamish as a ferry name to Allison Gubata, Sammamish City Hall, 801 228th Ave. S.E., Sammamish, WA 98075. The deadline for submissions is Sept. 21.

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Use travel tools to make holiday trips less laborious

August 30, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Aug. 30, 2012

Labor Day means more traffic on state highways as motorists hit the road to celebrate the last holiday weekend of summer.

In order to ease congestion, the state Department of Transportation and contractors plan to suspend most construction work for the weekend. Crews move off most roads from noon Friday through Sept. 3.

“It’s a popular weekend to travel; traffic is pretty much going to be busy any time you head out the door, but I find knowing what to expect in advance and/or where to find the traffic info makes traveling much easier,” Mark Finch, Statewide Travel Data Analysis Office manager, said in a statement.

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State seeks input on transportation needs

August 21, 2012

Citizens can comment on the state transportation system through a public engagement program launched by the Washington State Transportation Commission.

The commission created the Voice of Washington State effort to offer a forum for residents to share opinions, post ideas and interact.

Learn more about the program and share thoughts at The program is open to any Washington resident. Registration is limited to one email address per person.

The goal is to gather public input on state transportation policy and funding, and to inform the statewide discussion and decision-making process on highways, mass transit, freight and high-speed rail, ferries, barges and aviation.

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Officials aim to avoid repeat of fireworks-related blazes

June 30, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. June 30, 2012

State fire officials reminded Independence Day revelers to practice fire safety in a bid to avoid a repeat of fireworks-related fires from 2011.

State Fire Marshal Charles M. Duffy said fireworks caused 264 fires last year, including 199 wildland and vegetation fires — or 75 percent of fireworks-related blazes. The fires resulted in $118,350 in losses.

Summer weather conditions make grasses and other vegetation dry and susceptible to fire. If revelers use fireworks in hot, windy conditions, a small fire can rapidly grow if grass or another fuel is present.

If a firework comes into contact with a vegetated area, use a hose or bucket of water and soak the area. Make sure no hot spot remains to rekindle later.

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Experience natural wonders in Washington’s national places

June 28, 2012

The landscape surrounding Mount St. Helens reflects signs of destruction from the 1980 eruption and the return of life to the blast zone. By Matthew Staerk

Splendor is not limited to Mount Rainier.

Mount Rainier dominates the landscape in Western Washington. The active volcano is unparalleled as a natural icon for the region — Mount Rainier even appeared on the state quarter — but the peak is not the only nearby national treasure.

Landscapes in the shadow of Mount Rainier and farther afield deserve attention, too.

Spaces set aside for conservation and recreation — national parks, national forests, national recreation areas, even a national volcanic monument — stretch from British Columbia to the Columbia River.

Discover the signature mountain and, along the way, a handful of other national treasures.
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King County Council to delve into $490 million arena proposal

May 22, 2012

King County Council members intend to scrutinize a proposal to build a $490 million sports and entertainment arena in Seattle to determine whether financing for the plan is feasible and if arena-related traffic could harm other businesses in the area.

County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, joined by investor Chris Hansen, a San Francisco hedge fund manager, on May 16 announced agreements between the county, city and the ArenaCo investment group to govern financing for a proposed arena near Safeco Field.

Construction could start after a professional basketball franchise is secured for the arena. Moreover, the public investment could drop if backers cannot secure a professional hockey team for the facility.

The amount of public support is capped at $120 million if organizers secure only the basketball franchise. The total could rise to $200 million if a hockey team is added to the equation.

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