The Washington State Transportation Commission, which enticed 10,000 residents to provide survey comments last year, is back with a new round of online polls and chat groups — to prepare for possible tax and toll proposals in 2013.
The cybersurveys, which will deal with congestion and transportation funding, are designed to elevate the discussions beyond the typical “eight angry people” who show up at traditional weekday meetings, said Reema Griffith, the commission’s executive director.
People can sign up to receive a series of surveys via e-mail. They typically take five to 10 minutes to complete, but there will probably be a longer, 25- to 30-minute survey included, she said.
Washington state is known for a fair amount of ineffectual public process, and it is the Legislature not the commission that writes the transportation budgets.
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But Griffith said officials do pay attention to these online groups, a good example being ferry funding. Surveys for the WSTC’s online Ferry Riders Opinion Group found that customers didn’t mind paying a surcharge if the dollars went toward funding new vessels — the state added a 25-cent capital fee this year, and it may go higher, Griffith said.
Besides taking a survey, residents can sign up for one of seven regional discussion groups. Currently, members of the Central Puget Sound Group are posting their views about how to solve freeway congestion; which vehicles or services to subsidize with the transit share of state budgets; and how to cope with ferry funding shortfalls.
More information: http://www.voiceofwashingtonstate.org/