Rep. Melanie Stambaugh, R-Puyallup, has gained a unique perspective into transportation across the Puget Sound region — one she hopes to bring to her new role as a member of the House Transportation Committee.
Stambaugh, 25, was appointed to the committee earlier this month by House Speaker Frank Chopp.
The 25-member House Transportation Committee evaluates the transportation budget, revenue sources for transportation funding and issues relating to transportation policy, as well as WSDOT and the Washington State Patrol.
Recently, Stambaugh, a Puyallup native, took over her grandparents’ business, Upright Posts. The business takes Stambaugh nearly all over the region to help hang real estate cross-arm signs on new real estate listings. In doing so, she’s seen herself caught in the same traffic messes as her constituents in the 25th District, as well as other areas including state Route 167 and state Route 302 over the Purdy Bridge in Gig Harbor.
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“I’ve gone to over 600 new real estate listings,” the Emerald Ridge High grad said. “I have a new understanding of the importance of our state’s dollars going towards keeping up with the wear and tear of our roads. I’ve been able to see the depth and the breadth of our transportation system. Traffic is not just affecting the gas costs constituents pay, but the cost of time lost with their families. There’s a lot of costs currently associated with transportation. Let’s minimize that.”
As an advocate for transportation reform during the 2015 legislative session to complete 167, Stambaugh feels prepared to take on her role on the House Transportation Committee.
Continuing her momentum on the $16 billion transportation bill passed in June, Stambaugh says one of her biggest goals on the House Transportation Committee is to work with Rep. Drew Stokesbary, R-Auburn, to reduce congestion on the Traffic Avenue Bridge in Sumner. While the Traffic Avenue Bridge project did not come to fruition in the last session, Stambaugh is hoping to make progress on it during the next session, which begins Jan. 11. Additionally, Stambaugh plans to help increase the number of trips the Sounder commuter train makes in and out of Seattle to Puyallup and Sumner.
“It’s more about what the people of the 25th District want,” she said. “I want to make that part of our discussion on the House Transportation Committee.”
It’s a huge honor to represent the 25th District. I always say the 25th District is the best in the state. Serving on the transportation committee allows me to continue work on keeping our community strong.
Rep. Melanie Stambaugh, R-Puyallup
Stambaugh says she will also work to clarify misconceptions about the road usage charge — which would charge drivers per mile — one option the Legislature is exploring as a way to find revenue that’s sustainable for the state’s infrastructure.
“Getting accurate information out is something I’ve learned is extremely important during this last session,” she said. “Getting accurate information out about the road usage charge would be of great benefit.”
Stambaugh says she will be very focused on the 25th District in whatever policy the committee passes, but keeping in mind that the policies decided will also affect the entire state.
“It’s a huge honor to represent the 25th District,” she said. “I always say the 25th District is the best in the state. Serving on the transportation committee allows me to continue work on keeping our community strong.”