The cancelled off-island routes 411 and 411C got an extension today, but Island Transit is waiting until Gov. Jay Inslee makes a final decision on the state transportation bill.
Inslee has been waffling on whether to swallow what he calls a “poison pill,” according to news reports. If the governor chooses to implement a new fuel standard for the state in this budget cycle, millions of dollars currently allocated for bus, bike and pedestrian services would be reallocated to offset the at-the-pump cost to the consumer.
The $2.3 million grant that has been allocated for the doomed Island Transit Routes 411W and 411C would allow Island Transit to continue them for an additional two years.
Island Transit board members Jill Johnson, Rick Almberg and Rick Hannold earlier this week said they were encouraged that the grant would be issued without a required match and planned to move forward with continuing the route until the grant money was available. The governor’s “poison pill” decision throws a wrench in their plans.
Almberg said he has scheduled a meeting for 8 a.m. Aug. 27 with Sen. Barbara Bailey, Rep. Dave Hayes and representatives from Skagit Transit in order “to see if we can improve our connectivity.”
Almberg said today’s decision to continue 411 routes as-is was a “band aid” and that he is in discussion with state parks and owners of the Sound View Shopper in seeking a possible new transfer station into Skagit County.
- Joe Kunzler contributed to this report.